March 27, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

It was 22 years ago, next Sunday. April 2nd, 1984. Cheri asks me constantly: "How do you remember all of those dates?" (If I forgot her birthday, or our anniversary, it wouldn't be pretty!) Dates stick in my mind...

Twenty two years ago, I signed the agreements turning over the "stuff" that constituted my business to another firm, and formally/finally "crossed over" from business to ministry. In the old days, we sent out statements, expecting a check in return (that's what you do, in business). For the last two decades, it's been different, for me: we send out "update letters" - with a self-addressed envelope inside - encouraging (but, not expecting) a check in return. It was hard to collect from customers; it's even more tricky to solicit donations from supporters...

Hard enough, in a ministry to leaders. I can't even imagine the challenge that Heather Veitch has in finding funding for her ministry.

Heather left her "business" seven years ago, about the same time she experienced an adult conversion and found a life changing faith in Jesus Christ. She changed careers, assumed a new professional persona... but God had some ministry in mind for Heather. An old colleague from her "business" days died in 2003, and Heather found herself heartbroken over the fact that her now-deceased friend had never encountered the same God that changed her life. "I felt ashamed that I had run so far away from the industry that I had forgotten about them. It's like running away from a burning house and knowing all your friends are there." One thing led to another, and - today - Heather is the founder and key voice for JC's Girls ("JC" is Jesus Christ).

Oh, did I mention Heather's "business" background? She was a stripper, in the "adult entertainment industry." Before you think of a bogus publicity stuntmistress, she's endorsed by her pastor, Matt Brown, at Sandals church in Riverside, California. Believe it or not, JC's Girls is a $50,000 line-item in the church's missionary budget for 2006. In her pastor's view, she's "for real."

Their ministry? Every month, Heather and a team of female volunteers from the church visit strip clubs, where they pay for time with the women who work there. While alone with a stripper in a booth, they forgo the dance and share about Jesus. Featured last week on The 700 Club program, they were called "Holy Hotties," and positively affirmed for their work with this "unreached people group."

I've had the privilege of targeting the "cream of the crop" for ministry, for two decades. Heather Veitch targets the "bottom of the barrel" - in the eyes of most everyone - with hers. How do you raise money to fund the cost of buying time with a stripper, so that you can use the time to share Jesus?

Nothing new here to the Christian faith. In Jesus' day, he had this recurring tendency to connect with women who would raise eyebrows in any century. On a trip through Samaria, he met a woman at a well who was the talk of her town, and the conversation that followed resulted in her life radically changed and her entire city impacted. Her same-day testimony of meeting Jesus resulted in an immediate explosion of faith: "Many of the Samaritan's from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony... and because of his (Jesus') words, many more became believers..." (John 4:39-42).

Just last Saturday, the Los Angeles Times devoted a half-page - with a color photo - to Heather's ministry, under the headline: "Ex-Stripper Spreads Gospel to Those in Sex Industry." That's news... to people who think that Christians look more like Church Lady on Saturday Night Live than Heather Veitch, on a mission from Jesus...

Heather's faith has changed her, and the changes are real. I'll bet your faith has changed you, too... if it's real. I wonder: are you aware of colleagues who are dying without your Jesus? Heather says, "it's like running away from a burning house and knowing all your friends are there." Do you have plans to rescue some of those soon-to-die friends? Will the LA Times ever hear your story... and be compelled to tell it?

Bob Shank

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