Exciting Announcement

Dear friends and family,

I am so excited to announce to you the “soft launch” of my new nonprofit, Unhindered Ministries!

I’ve spent the last year dreaming with God and creating a ministry that I know I was born for.

Over the past several years, God has brought me face to face with his transforming love in a way I never knew was possible. I’ve experienced his very real supernatural healing and deliverance. He’s set me free to create with him and release new sounds and new expressions of his heart. He’s brought me revelation of my true identity and of his purpose and calling for all women on the planet. He’s given me a prophetic glimpse into the power of women walking in unity and making themselves ready for Jesus’ return.

I believe that what God has done for me, he wants to do for every woman on earth. 

God has called me to utilize media, communication, creativity, and music to spread this message. He’s made it clear to me that I am not to hold back any longer but I’m to share everything he’s done for me and given me with the world. Not because I am so great, but because HE is, and He’s created me to be most fulfilled in Him and by doing what I was created to do: worship him and bring him glory in every way possible, fully unhindered.

My nonprofit is REAL, you guys! It’s been hard work and yet so exciting to build it with God from the ground up. He provided me with the most amazing Board of Directors from across the US who bring practical wisdom and experience along with prophetic insight and encouragement. I’ve got a PO Box and a bank account and a website and a big vision for the future, and IT’S A WHOLE THING.

But, I need your help.

I thought I was going to create a show at the TV studio in my hometown, but God had other ideas. He recently closed some doors, and while that was disappointing at first because it’s not what I had planned, it led to some other doors being opened: the opportunity to have a home-based ministry. This is a better fit for this busy mama anyway. To fully launch this ministry, I am creating a home studio to produce a podcast, a tv show, and to write, record, and produce music. I am busy honing old skills and gaining lots of new ones to be able to produce content for the glory of God and encouragement and transformation of women (but men are welcome to listen and be encouraged, too!).

All these things cost money. Money that I don’t have…but God does! Many of you have supported me through prayer and encouragement over the years. Now, I’m humbly asking you to seek the Lord on whether He might have you give financially to this vision. I am looking for both monthly support and one-time gifts to help with startup costs. We have applied for 501 c3 status, and while that hasn’t come through yet, when it does, any donations we receive will be considered tax-exempt retroactively.

How to give:

Go to www.unhinderedministries.net and click the “Donate” button to give a one-time gift or set up a recurring donation         

I cannot thank you enough for the love, prayers, and encouragement you each have given on my behalf over the years. Each of you has played a special role in my life, and I thank God for you.

Love,

Courtney

Who Will Go For Me?

(This is Part 5 and the final post of a weekly blog series I’m calling “Who Will Go?” about my journey of sharing the love of Jesus with the adult entertainment industry. You can read Part 4 here.)

The Father is yearning for people to know how loved they are. He is longing for them to know they were made for a purpose. That He dreamed them up and made them just how he wanted them to be. So many people came into the world innocently only to be born into families that were neglectful and abusive. The devil was working against them from even before they were born, trying to steal away their destiny. He lives to make sure they never know their true identity as beloved sons and daughters. It all seems so hopeless until you realize there’s just one missing link between them and knowing the truth:

Me.

You.

In Isaiah 6, we hear God asking, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for me?”

Who, indeed? 

Who of us is willing to be the Father’s heart and walk into the grime and the darkness with only the light of Christ inside us?

It is far more comfortable to write a check to someone else who is going after “the one”. But you and I have been saved and showered with the love of God for such a time as this. There are a whole lot of people in this world who are desperate to know true, real love. Not the world’s version which, at best, pales in comparison; or at worst, is counterfeit. They need the love of Jesus. The only way they will know the love of Jesus is through you and I setting aside our fears and stepping out of our comfort zones.

Many of us use our “comfort zone” as an excuse to live a life of limitations that God never intended.

Imagine a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers and sunshine, and surrounded by breathtaking mountains in the distance. The air is sweet, and you can hear birds chirping and bees buzzing all around.  It’s springtime, so there are some trees in bloom and there’s a beautiful bubbling brook off in the distance.  The scenery, both near and far, is spectacular.  Now imagine that you are trapped inside a large cardboard box in the middle of that meadow. It is entirely closed and dark inside, except for a small slit cut into the side so that you can look out.  You can see only a tiny fraction of the beauty surrounding you.  Your perception of reality is skewed, because you cannot see the big picture.  Your experience of the beauty is tragically limited by being in the box. 

Now imagine the box is made of fear, and it’s called your Comfort Zone.  Fear tells you it will protect you if you stay in the box.  But it is a lie.  The box actually prevents you from fully experiencing all the beauty God has put in the world for you.

As a Christian mom in the suburbs, it would be easy to spend the rest of my life in my Comfort Zone and forget that there are people out there who are much like the wounded man lying on the side of the road in Jesus’ story. They need someone to look for them. They need someone to stop for them. They need someone to love them for who they are, not what they’ve done or haven’t done. They need someone who, like Jesus, is willing to leave the ninety-nine and go after the one. It could literally save their life.

After three years ministering in strip clubs, I am so grateful that I did not stay in my Comfort Zone. (I guarantee you there are no strip clubs in my Comfort Zone!) What God promised in Isaiah 45:2-3 is true: I did indeed find treasures in the darkness that I would not have discovered anywhere else. It was a surprise to feel the depth of the Father’s heart for every single person I’ve encountered. I grew in confidence as I experienced His grace and power in those places. I experienced protection, favor, and incredible joy in this ministry. I can now walk into demonic atmospheres but experience the reality of the atmosphere of heaven. I have felt God’s peace and presence just as strongly in the strip club as I have in church. He’s proven to me that He will go with me anywhere. That His peace is stronger than everything Hell has to offer. If I can learn to hear His voice in a place like that, I can hear it anywhere. He’s proven himself to me over and over again.

There’s no doubt this ministry has impacted me deeply.  But there are also countless stories of dancers, security, DJ’s, bartenders, and club owners who have been impacted, too.  I’ve heard stories of dancers who were planning to go home and hurt themselves, but a conversation with a team member changed their mind, because they realized they did have worth. Countless girls were living in abusive relationships, but we’ve been able to help them move to safety and start new lives. Many of the dancers have children, so when we help a dancer, we are helping an entire family.  Some of our dancers have put their faith in Jesus and He’s transformed their lives.  I could go on and on.

Strip club ministry is not for everyone. But we all have a “comfort zone”. There’s a huge world out there, beyond our Comfort Zone, that is full of people the Father is passionate about. People that Jesus died for, so they’d know His love. The world needs what these people carry. They reflect a unique aspect of the Father’s character that we won’t see the same way in anyone else. When these people have received love and find out their value and worth in the Father’s eyes, they will release something into the world that was previously impossible for them to release.

God told me a few months ago to step back from all the ministry I was involved in. That included strip club ministry. It was hard for me to let go, but I know His voice. I trust that He cares for these dear ones far more than I do and he continues to raise up more workers for the harvest. Will you go? Will you pray? Will you give?

Let’s not allow fear to keep us in the box any longer.  Let’s bust that thing open and see the world as it really is.  If we only ever receive the love of God, but don’t give it, we will become stagnant, like the Dead Sea: fresh water coming in, but none flowing out.  Our perception of reality becomes skewed and we do not experience the fullness of all God has to offer us.  And the world misses out on an opportunity to be loved by Jesus, through us.

Let’s bust out of our boxes that are made of fear and go be Jesus, with skin on.

For more information about the amazing ministry I was involved in, check out Xpose Hope. If you’d like breakthrough in your life in the area of fear or loving others, feel free to pray the prayer below. 

Dear Father,

Thank you for loving me before I even knew you. Thank you for loving me when I was at my worst. Thank you for pursuing me with your love. Oh Father, give me your love for the lost ones. I confess and repent of all those times I have allowed fear to keep me from extending your love to others. Thank you for your forgiveness, Lord. Thank you that you have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. Please flood me with your perfect love, Father. Fill me up to overflowing. Show me how you want me to love others. I declare that fear will no longer dictate my decisions or keep me from loving well. Thank you, Father, that I am now motivated by your perfect love, which casts out my fear.

Father, if I have approached lost ones with any judgement or condemnation in my heart, please forgive me. I declare that it is your job to judge, not mine. Instead of a spirit of judgement, please fill me with a spirit of grace. Help me to see people as You see them, Father. Give me words of life to speak over people. I pray that when they encounter me, they will feel like they’ve encountered the love of God. I pray that my kindness will lead to their repentance.

Holy Spirit, please show me how I can love more like Jesus. Give me courage and boldness to obey your direction. Help me to follow you wherever you lead. Thank you that you will be with me wherever I go.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Everybody Just Wants to Be Loved

(This is Part 4 of a weekly blog series I’m calling “Who Will Go?” about my journey of sharing the love of Jesus with the adult entertainment industry. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here.)

Not long ago I had the opportunity to talk with a sweet college-age girl in a club. It was her very first week stripping.  She was still innocent and cheerful and had not been numbed by the lifestyle yet, like so many others that I see.  She said she was doing it to earn money for school; she was getting her masters degree in social work because she wanted to help other women.  We run into so many girls and women in this trade that have gotten sucked into the industry because they think it’s a quick and easy way to earn the money they need for school or rent or their kids’ expenses.  They usually plan to quit once they’ve earned the money they need.  What they don’t realize is that once they’ve gotten into the adult entertainment industry, it can be incredibly difficult to get out.  They can earn a lot of money, and it’s hard to make that much cash in other jobs.  As time goes by, they don’t have a lot of marketable skills for other kinds of work. 

I so badly wanted to plead with this young woman to leave right then.  I wanted to bring her home with me, cook her a meal or two and help her get on her feet some other way.  But we can’t say those kinds of things in the club.  If we are seen as hurting the business by causing dancers to quit, we would lose our access to the clubs.  So, we just have to let them know that we are available and we care.  We let them know we are there if they need assistance of any kind.  Then we have to wait for them to call us.  I told her that if she ever needed anything, our contact info was inside her gift bag and she could reach out at any time.  I saved my tears for when I reached the van. 

I’ll never forget the time we discovered a clearly underage girl in one of the clubs. So many of the girls are young, but she was obviously so. She was not stripping; she was dressed like a prostitute and was there with a very large older man who we could only assume was her pimp. It was shocking to see a girl who appeared to be only about twelve or thirteen years old; I had a daughter that age at home. It was utterly heartbreaking.  I wanted to take her with me right that minute, but that’s not how it works. We called the police to report it, which was all we could do.  I shed a lot of tears over that sweet girl.

One time, a customer chased our team down in the parking lot after we left the club. It was scary for a minute, until we realized he wanted to thank us for making the strippers so happy each month!  He gave us a hundred-dollar bill as a donation.  Month after month, we talk to dancers, DJ’s, managers, and bartenders who are incredibly grateful for the gifts we bring.  As much or more than the gifts, they value our consistency.  We keep showing up and we keep remembering them.  These precious ones are stunned that we remember their names, details about their lives, and even what they like to eat or drink.  It’s so powerful to feel seen.  It’s so powerful to be loved.

I’ve gotten to know many of the men who work security.  Before I got involved in this type of ministry, I had a pre-conceived notion of what the men who worked at these kinds of clubs were like.  But the more I do it, the more I see these men as God sees them.  They are sons who just don’t know their Father yet.  The bouncers are always friendly to me.  They love snacks.  They have strong, protective natures and they take their roles seriously, watching over the dancers and making sure they are safe. 

There’s a young man who works security at one of the clubs that I talked to every month.  He has sad eyes and a sweet smile.  One week I began to “call out the gold” in him.  Christians can be quick to see all the sin in a person and point it out, but I believe God sees the person as He created them to be.  An unsaved person is just one of God’s kids that hasn’t come home yet. 

I told this young bouncer how great God’s love for him was, and how personal.  I told him that God had knit him together in his mother’s womb, choosing everything about who he was on purpose.  I told him that God does not condemn him, but He wants him to know that he has an amazing destiny for his life.  The Holy Spirit was giving me insight into some things in his heart, such as caring deeply about justice.   He said, “Wow.  I’ve never been a fan of religion.  But if that’s really how God feels about me, that’s amazing.  You’re different.” 

That interaction may have been the first time in his life that someone saw him, not for his mistakes, but as the amazing person God created him to be.  It may have been one of very few conversations where someone’s words brought him life, rather than death.  He lit up like I’ve never seen before. 

When I have a heart of judgement towards a person, I am missing the very heart of the good news: that God so loved the world, that He sent His only son, Jesus, to save it.  He didn’t send His son to condemn it, but to save it (John 3:16-17).  If Jesus, who has every right to judge and condemn me, chose to love and save me instead, why would I think I can stand in judgement and condemn another?  My only option is to love in humility like Jesus did, even if it means sacrifice on my part.

I was in a male strip club recently, and that night they had some famous drag queens as guests.  The club owner took me by the hand and proudly introduced me to his celebrity guests.  Why?  Because I wear a shirt that says “Jesus Loves Strippers”.  They know that I love them right where they’re at.  Jesus didn’t wait for sinners to clean themselves up before he ate a meal with them.  I looked those drag queens in the eye and I gave them big hugs.  They were so blown away to experience LOVE from a Christian rather than condemnation.  You can see it in their eyes…they just want to be loved, right where they’re at.

Everybody just wants to be loved. 

Jesus-followers, we’ve got to do better. We should have the reputation of being the most loving people on the planet. Like Jesus, there should be something about us that draws people to us. Instead, we are considered by many to be the most judgmental people on earth.

We’ve been misrepresenting the Father for so long. We’ve been like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son, who gets miffed when the Father throws a fancy robe on his prodigal before the kid has even cleaned himself up. We’re like the passers-by in the story of the Good Samaritan, who crossed over to the other side of the street to avoid a wounded, bleeding man.

If we want to be like Jesus, we are going to have to love messy, dirty people.

We are going to have to stop for the bleeding and wounded, not avoid them.