In 1995, Dr. Ted Roberts was pastoring East Hill Church in Gresham, Oregon. It was at that time that he opened the doors of the church for a gathering of men, with the purpose of equipping them to help others in the battle against sex addiction. Two hundred men attended, most seeking answers and help for themselves. Until that time, no help was available in the Christian community for those struggling with the shame and hopelessness of sex addiction. Following this event, Ted gathered a small team—his wife, Diane, and Pastor Harry Flanagan—to “take on the Goliath of sex addiction,” and Pure Desire Ministries International (PD) was born. From the beginning, the message from PD has been: “Do not shame the people.”
After analyzing his own recovery process and his experience working with others through their recovery, Dr. Ted entered the uncharted field of sexual addiction recovery integrated with theological truth. Becoming very familiar with the work of researcher Dr. Patrick Carnes, an authority in the field of sex addiction assessment and treatment, Dr. Ted and Dr. Carnes formed a relationship built on mutual respect and compassion for people who struggle with sexual addiction. Through his association with the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) and Dr. Patrick Carnes, Dr. Ted initiated a professional certification category for pastors to receive world-class training and recognition as Pastoral Sex Addiction Professionals (PSAPs). Currently, each of the four PD treatment teams is led by an internationally recognized and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT).
While Dr. Ted had the opportunity to take the PD message of hope and healing on the road, he quickly realized the church was closed to accepting the premise and the message that sexual addiction is a real issue damaging the lives of church leaders and church members. In general, the church refused to acknowledge the severity of the problem or receive the training and support necessary to help those caught in sexual bondage.
Undeterred, Pure Desire produced a series of leadership training videos designed to educate and equip church and community leaders to help men break free from sex addiction. The goal of Pure Desire has always been real revival in the church. Dr. Ted repeatedly states that if the Church does not address and get free from the bondage of sex addiction, it will not experience true revival, both in the United States and around the world.
In 2007, Dr. Ted responded to God’s prompting and stepped away from his role as Senior Pastor of a growing and flourishing 7,000-member church to become the full-time Director of PD. Ted’s new calling was to educate and equip the church to address and conquer the problem of sex addiction.
Learning to effectively deal with the problem of sex addiction and the reluctance of the church to admit and address the issue, Dr. Ted and Diane Roberts, along with Harry Flanagan, wrote Seven Pillars of Freedom, a workbook designed to guide men through the process of addiction recognition, recovery, and restoration. The workbook delivers a clinical framework for healing within the context of theological truth. Recognizing that sexual addiction is a family systems issue, Dr. Ted and Diane also wrote a workbook series for women titled Betrayal & Beyond.
In addition, PD developed an opt-in program, which is a comprehensive approach to educate, evaluate, and restore church leaders. The POW Program was designed as a proactive approach to pastoral care through partnerships with church denominations, districts, and para-church organizations to avoid catastrophic events related to sexual moral failure. Through this program, pastors and church leaders experience support, healing, and restoration.
PD has made significant inroads for the care and treatment of those with sexual addiction in the church. Approximately 95% of the clients who complete the PD outpatient clinical treatment program experience recovery from sex addiction and restoration in multiple areas of their lives. Still, there is much work to be done. In God’s grace, and through prayer and partnership, the ministry of PD will continue to grow and make a positive impact for the health and well-being of the church body of Jesus Christ.