Today we welcome to the blog Juli Slattery, Co-Founder and President of Authentic Intimacy.
What’s my favorite quote? What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. ~A.W. Tozer
What’s something unique about me? I’m an introvert who dislikes conflict, but I talk about sex for a living.
Hi, there. My name is Juli Slattery. I’m an Akron native and the co-founder/president of unique ministry called Authentic Intimacy. I’ve always had a passion to help people walk out biblical truth in their lives. As a clinical psychologist, I’ve had the privilege of being in the trenches with people as they navigate anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. In 2008, my husband and I left our home in Akron for me to work with Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs. Serving at Focus was literally a dream job. But in 2012, God called me to leave Focus to start Authentic Intimacy, a ministry focused on addressing sexual issues from a biblical perspective.
I’ve learned that a calling is more fulfilling than a dream. My heart is burdened for sexual brokenness. There are nights when my chest literally hurts because of all of the pain represented in Satan’s destruction of sexuality. I see it everywhere I look. Yes, in the obvious places like sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and sexual addiction. But I also see it in the loneliness of single Christians, secret struggles with lust, hidden shame from the past, legalistic teaching about sex, and sexual selfishness in marriage. Apart from how sexual brokenness destroys individual lives, it also tears apart the church. Our conversations about sex are more often filled with judgement and dogmatic statements than compassionate ministry to each other.
I’ve learned a lot since entering this space seven years ago, but my greatest lesson is to always go back to the Word and heart of God. He sees our pain, hears our cries and can redeem our brokenness. Authentic Intimacy is all about Reclaiming God’s design for sexuality. Not just in our actions, but in our hearts and relationships. I believe that a winsome, compassionate, gospel centered approach to sexuality is central to our work of evangelism and discipleship. Learning to have difficult conversations with humility and grace is part of this. Christians must not only be defined by our theology, but also by our love for each other.
Frankly, I don’t always like what God has called me to do. My job is often filled with controversy, tough conversations and spiritual warfare. But I LOVE watching God bring people to Himself. As John Piper wrote, “The quickest way to the heart is through the wound.” I want to use the pain sexuality represents to tell people about God’s wisdom, His love, and His power to set us free.
Last year, the Slattery’s moved back to Akron to be near family. While Authentic Intimacy is an international outreach, we want to serve our great city of Akron. I love connecting with brothers and sisters who are laboring for Jesus. I hope and pray that our work at Authentic Intimacy can be an encouragement and resource to you and to many in Northeast Ohio! This is one of the reasons we are holding our national conference right here.
Authentic Intimacy is hosting their annual conference – Reclaim, God’s Design for Sexuality and Why It Matters – at The Chapel in Green on October 4 and 5. Head to the event page for more information and use the promo code LOVEAKRON for discounted registration.