Good Saturday afternoon everybody! I hope this finds you enjoying the sun finally!
I am overdue in posting an update here as to how things with the ministry are going. Thee has been so much happening that I haven’t had the time to sit down and type it all out. One big change is that the ministry is now called “TurnBack Ministries”. That name comes from James 5:20 which says “consider this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” I thought that was very appropriate for what I am working to do with helping men break free from sexual sins and addictions. There is now a new web domain for the ministry, and that is http://www.turnbackministries.com and I now have an email address associated with it, so things are looking a little more professional!
The TurnBack Video Devo Blast is going well, and I just put out the 5th episode on the day we got our 90 feet of snow here in Minnesota 2 weeks ago! I am getting really good feedback from people on it, and as of now, 1,141 people are following it. I am about 2 months away from the 1st episode of the TurnBack audio podcast putting out its first episode, and I already have some great guests lined up for that including Dr. James Reeves from the Conquer Series, Author Laura Gallier, Dr. Mark Laaser, Dr. Ted Roberts, Nick Stumbo from Pure Desire and other people with AMAZING stories of redemption from Sexual Sin that will surely bless and encourage the listeners. I am really excited to get that launched! I recently started a short 2 minute program called “JumpStart” that has the sound and feel of one of those short radio blurbs with a really direct challenge out of Gods word. I’m hoping that since it’s shorter that it may get more listens in a shorter time frame. I would love to get feedback from all of you on the 2 things that are live now (the video devo and JumpStart); feedback on the things you like and on things that you think I could change to make them batter.
I am still getting opportunities to speak at Churches and men’s ministry events and be a guest on radio/podcast shows and those are always posted over at the website. (paulzunker.org is always going to be there, but now www.turnbackministries.com is up and will be the main domain I transition over to. It points to the current paulzunker.org site) Speaking is something I LOVE doing, and as long as God gives me a voice, I will share my story, warn men of the dangers of pornography and sexual sin, offer them the same hope of freedom that I found and point all the people who hear me to Jesus Christ! My positions at Grace Church as the Director of the Pure Desire program and my volunteer position with Pure Desire Ministries as the Regional Group Coordinator for the Great Lakes region are both going really well. There are so many men and women signing up for groups at Grace, and there are more and more Churches forming Pure Desire groups and hosting Pure Desire Universities in my region!
The new, and very exciting thing I mentioned above is the TurnBack Ranch (It will *hopefully* have a different name in the not too distant future). The short version of the story is this; as I have worked with men in sexual addiction and bondage for over 4 years now I see so many men coming to groups every week, doing their homework and connecting with guys outside of group, but they just can’t break free. When they leave group, they go back into the world and it immediately crushes them and pulls them away from everything they know they should be doing (Romans 7). In order to truly break free, some men have to completely remove themselves from the world for a period of time in order to focus on their recovery exclusively and not have the normal temptations of the world fighting against them all week. Over the last 6 months God has been birthing the concept of the Ranch in my heart and as of late, I have felt very called to start planning this portion of the ministry. The TurnBack Ranch will be a long(er) term residential place in a rural area where guys can live among other men struggling with the same issues for approximately 9 months. While they are there they will go through the 7-Pillars of freedom curriculum by Pure Desire, receive professional clinical counseling by licensed on-site Christian counselors and therapists that are tailored to each guys own individual needs, participate in group life-building activities, attend Chapel services twice a week and participate in daily group and individual bible study and quiet times. All the men will be grouped in small groups led by a trained leader who will lead these men through everything they do while at the Ranch. The goal is to find an existing rural location with cabins or buildings with sleeping areas, a dining area, offices, private rooms that can be used for counseling, land where the guys can play sports, and a building that can be used as the Chapel. The 9-month time frame is based around the length of time it takes them to go through the 7-Pilalrs. There is another faith-based program in the eastern United States that does something similar for 9-months also, but they only focus on deepening the men’s intimacy with Jesus Christ as the key thing to break the addiction, and they do not dive into the brain side of an addiction at all and do not explore past wounds/traumas to find healing from those events. It’s not that they just choose not to go into those areas; they talk specifically against other programs that do take past wounds and traumas into account because they say that since we are new creations in Christ, we no longer are bound by those wounds and they have no power over us. While their thinking about being a new creation in Christ is 100% true, I believe they are grossly missing the mark by not addressing those past wounds because those are the things that the men are medicating over and if they are not dealt with properly and then dropped at the foot of the cross, those wounds will pull the guys right back into their addictions. Addressing that side of an addiction will be one major difference between that ministry and TurnBack, with the other difference being the cost to the men and their families. The other ministry is quite expensive and this causes many men to not be able to attend. The goal of the Ranch is to be a non-profit that is able to offer scholarships to men who wish to attend but who cannot afford it. Each mans personal and family financial situation will be taken into account, and they will be given a “suggested donation” amount to the Ranch to attend. If they cannot afford it, whatever portion of their expenses they can’t afford will be covered for them. Another key component to their stay is we will work with local Christian employers that will employ these men as part-time employees while they are at the Ranch. We will take them all to and from work each day and they will be in environments with all males and with no internet access available to them. 9 months is a long time for a family to completely lose the income of the husband and dad, so this is a key part of the men starting to take responsibility for supporting their families again.
I don’t want this to get too long (wait- too late), so that is a brief description of what the vision is for the TurnBack Ranch. I am SO excited about this vision starting to come to life, and eventually, the goal would be to reproduce the Ranch in different locations around the United States to make it easier for the men to attend and for their families to visit them.
All of this being said, the need for monthly financial support is now a very important part of any of this being able to happen. I am unable to give the time that all the different aspects of my ministry are requiring because I still need to work to support my family. I need to have around $5,000 of monthly support raised in order for me to move into ministry full-time and right now there is around $100/month coming in. I am actually very encouraged by that because I have only spoken to a limited number of people since everything was so new. My biggest need now is to get to $1,500/month in support to ensure my housing is covered which is the main thing keeping me from being able to dedicate more time to the ministry work that’s building up each month. Many of you have said that you are willing to come on board as monthly financial supporters, so I am asking you if you would consider doing that now. Any monthly amount will help, but I am looking specifically for donors at the $100/month level and above. My good friend, Todd Leidall, is overseeing the financial side of TurnBack, and will be helping me by reaching out to some you by phone (I will be making calls too) to talk more about TurnBack and answer any support questions that you may have. We are really hoping to have the $1,500 goal met within the next 2 weeks, and we are trusting that God will supply that need! We set that 2-week goal because there are some specific housing needs that do need to be covered in a fairly short time frame. If you are willing to jump on board now, please visit https://turnbackministries.com/support-turnback where you can click on the “Donate Now” button to be taken to our secure giving site.
Thank you all so much for your friendship and support. I am asking ALL of you to join the prayer team for TurnBack Ministries as none of this is possible without the prayers of all of you. Please follow my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/paulzunks and my Twitter account at www.twitter.com/paul_zunker for updates and prayer requests. Also please head over to www.turnbackministries.com and click the “Follow” button on the right side to get notified when new things are posted there. I’m sorry for the longer email, but I thank you so much for reading through it, always giving me encouragement and for being a faithful partner of TurnBack as we work to help men find new lives in Christ as they break the chains of addiction that have held them down for so long. May God richly bless each of you!
Paul Zunker Executive Director TurnBack Ministries