Coming soon to—a beautiful new design. Get an early look

Jump directly to the content
Guest | Limited Access

How to Love a Stripper

Erin Stevens talks about the ministry that taught her the importance of being kind.

No First PageNo Previous PagePage 1 of 3Next PageLast Page

Erin Stevens never imagined what God had in store for her at the end of her 21-day fast for a new church building. Instead of money or land, she got a command from God to "go feed the strippers." Wife of Tennessee pastor Todd Stevens, and mother of three young boys, Erin was bewildered. However, in obedience she began taking meals and gifts to a local strip club. Since then her life has never been the same. She is now the head of Nashville Strip Church and coauthor of How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness. Erin talked with TCW about her unique approach to ministry.

What exactly do you do in this ministry, and why is it effective?

I go to the strip club every two weeks. I bring a meal, nice gifts, and my business card with my contact information and directions to our church if the women ever want to visit. But I never go in with a Bible or a gospel tract—I just go in to love those girls unconditionally. That speaks volumes to them because they're in an industry where they're showered with money. The men often buy them jewelry, or handbags, or shoes. But they're drawn to me because my gifts don't have any strings attached. I've had three girls come out of the industry, and now they go back to love their friends and show them life is possible outside the club. One of these girls said, "For the first time in my life, I believe Jesus would have hung out with someone like me."

But they're drawn to me because my gifts don't have any strings attached.

How do you love strippers without glossing over the reality of sin?

I invite them to church. My job in the club is just to love them and be there for them. I minister to them by talking about their kids, parents, and school. In traditional evangelism we were taught to "pray the prayer" and "seal the deal." Although that's the ultimate step we're working toward, not everybody is there at the same time. So I encourage my girls through these acts of kindness to just take one step closer to Jesus. One of the girls comes to church and sits in her car during the service. Her child comes in, but she just sits out there because she's not ready yet. Someday her next step will be to come in to a service. And we'll be so glad when she does.

Congratulations on your book! What prompted you and your husband to write it?

I think Katie probably prompted that. She's entering the Police Academy, just led a Bible study in our church, and as we speak, has a Vacation Bible School in her backyard. This is a girl who was a stripper 14 months ago—now look where she's come! But the book is really about our church's principles of ministry. It teaches everyday people a different way to look at evangelism and outreach: doing acts of kindness and meeting needs. The effectiveness you can have in the kingdom by doing those two things is amazing.

Sign up for TCW's free e-newsletter, Lifework with Diane Paddison, for biweekly updates and encouragement for women who desire to pursue God through their calling and career.

read these next

for further study

Downloadable resources to go deeper

Your Guide to Sexual Satisfaction

God's plan for sex is multidimensional-here's how to move past making pleasure your goal to seek a more intimate connection with your spouse.

Living Water

A three-session Bible study designed to quench your soul thirst and invite others in.

Practicing Contentment

In our culture, we have more, but seem to enjoy life less. Here are tips on how to foster deep, counter-cultural contentment in your life.

Sexual Temptation

Desire happens. Here's how to keep a misled God-given desire from ruining our lives.
Today's Christian Woman
How to Love a Stripper