To merely point out the weaknesses and failures of the church with regards to reaching its most wounded people, would be ridiculous. I would like to share some possible solutions:
First, the church needs to create an environment for legitimate and lasting change. Taking down the barriers for people who genuinely desire to deal with the trauma and hurts in their lives. This will require a drastic change of direction from the pulpit to the individual ministries of the church. Real transparency is acquired through trust, and trust is reinforced by the transparency of its leaders. It certainly isn’t enough as a leader to merely share your own wounds, but to propose and model a way for people to confront their own wounds and provide a path toward freedom. The churches attitude that praying through a strongly rooted problem and leaving it at the altar will suffice to eradicate it from someone’s life must be abandoned. It is a process that cannot be shortened and circumvented to make it easier to deal with. We are talking reality here, not pie-in-the-sky spiritual wishful thinking. There is a vast, tentacled network of roots all throughout the wounded individual and they need to be methodically addressed as they come to light. The church would prefer to farm out the difficulties that are complex and deeply seeded, but the church is more than equipped to face this challenge head on.
Second, stop grading sins! Sin is sin, and people who have destructive behaviors that are now habitual probably want to stop way more than you want them too. I have been at the altar more than the average Christian, with huge snot-wads dripping from my nose, pleading, repenting, begging for freedom, only to find temporary relief. Stop shaming the wounded by saying confess and repent and simply stop the behavior. While there are those who want to hide and don’t want to give up their sin, there are exponentially more who would do anything to be free. There isn’t a onetime cure-all, it is a process, and the person has as much value at the beginning of it, as at any point along the way. (note: I have adjusted my thinking on this point somewhat, there are sins that are more destructive to self and others. Therefor, while sin is sin, we must be aware of the consequences some sin will reap.)
Third, equip the people who are willing to face their demons for they are the most courageous people in your congregation. The statistics of people who struggle with pornography addiction alone are staggering, so every soul that reaches out for help is vitally important. These people are your future leaders on the front lines of battle. Give each one every tool you can muster so that they in turn can help another find freedom.
Fourth, never write anyone off as hopeless. EVER! Jesus saved each of us, so who are we to say that someone’s time has run out. It is dangerous to frame someone else’s actions in the light of our own experience. Be careful with the words you use, such as “I give up, I don’t know how to help you”, or “I won’t listen to you, after all the sins you’ve committed.” Who do we think we are when we become the judge of another whose every effort to live for Jesus is thwarted by deep and horrific wounds that we minimalize. That’s just performance, doing over being, when we push that behavior we silence the seeking of help.
These are just a few thoughts, feel free to add your own!