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James and Teri Craft

While soul care is about truly caring for yourself, it’s not an entirely solo pursuit. “We get wounded in community, and we get healed in community,” says Teri Craft, who with husband James shares their story of brokenness and restoration to bring hope to other troubled marriages.

The couple’s world fell apart when James’ long-term pornography addiction, and an affair, came to light in 2013. “So many times, we put such effort into our ministry, but we don’t put the same level of care into ourselves,” James observes.

Fearful of what others would say if they knew, he’d kept his inner struggles secret through years of fruitful ministry as Foursquare’s NextGen national director and a senior pastor.

Now calling that crash-and-burn God’s “great kindness” to them, bringing them to healing, the Crafts have told their story in their book Exposed as a warning and a beacon of hope. They help couples rebuild their marriages through personal counseling, and warn of the dangers of pornography through their Novus Project.

Central to their message is the belief that soul care, being attentive to one’s own inner being, is the essential, first step in truly transformative discipleship. And that requires what they believe are the inextricably linked experiences of truth and grace—which are encountered through relationship with others.

“Isolation is the kiss of death,” James asserts. “When you isolate, that’s when you medicate … Even the Lone Ranger had a partner.”

It is also important to focus “on the whole person—spirit, soul and body,” he says. “You can’t be broken in one area of your life and not have it affect all the others.” That means pursuing physical health as well as spiritual and emotional health; while not downplaying personal responsibility, he points to the part neurochemistry plays in porn addiction.

As part of their new way of living, the Crafts have established practices that help provide good boundaries—exercise, eating well, scheduling time together, a plan for media consumption, and a set of family values that is framed and hung on the wall. “It all comes down to time and relationships,” Teri summarizes.

Tracing the fault-lines in their own lives back to dysfunction they experienced when they were young, and still passionate about helping young people live well for God, the Crafts believe that soul care is a critical need for—and desire of—the next generation.

Many are leaving church because they are tired of formal programs and don’t see the personal authenticity they hunger after, James observes. “They think authenticity is a badge of honor,” he says, while many older people believe showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness.

“If we can honestly be real with one another about the brokenness within—because everyone has brokenness within them—if we can be real about it, we might just have a chance of turning the next generation’s hearts to Jesus,” he says.

One of the biggest challenges, the Crafts believe, is the shame many leaders feel at the prospect of admitting they don’t have it all together. They suspect that many, as they did for so long, feel they need to perform well to earn God’s approval and acceptance.

But they have discovered that it’s better “to be in a close, intimate, vulnerable relationship with Christ—and whatever comes out of that is ministry,” Teri says.

“What if we were able to open the door and create a cultural environment where people are safe, and their stories are told, and healing is brought, and restoration takes place?” adds James. “I believe that is the beginning place of revival.”

Visit James and Teri’s Website

is a freelance writer living in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.