“I was raised in Round Rock, Texas in a Christian household. Both of my parents are believers and they raised my brother and me going to church every Sunday,” said Jacob Alger. “Although I was a Christian and never missed a Sunday at church, I didn’t experience a church that modeled true authenticity or that practiced biblical confession. Rather, I felt like I had to uphold my image and keep my best foot forward.
“In seventh grade, I was exposed to pornography for the first time. What started as teenage curiosity on the school bus eventually became a cyclical struggle in my life. I knew it was wrong and wrestled with conviction, but I struggled in isolation. I was leading in youth ministries at school and church, while continuing to keep this part of my life secret.
“In high school, I continued to lead others, but I was internally broken and struggling with lust and pornography. Externally, I wanted people to think I had it together, but I was living a lie. I knew I needed to change, but I wasn’t sure how. After graduating, I decided to go to Dallas Baptist University to follow what I thought God wanted for my life.
“I decided to attend a service at Watermark the first Sunday I moved to Dallas. Not knowing anyone, I wrote on the guest card during the service, but I doubted I would hear anything back because the church felt so big. To my surprise, the following week I received a phone call from someone on staff. He encouraged me to keep coming to Watermark, and later I was able to connect with other church leaders to talk about serving and leading students in the future.
“When I went through the Watermark Membership process, I was shocked by the way people genuinely loved each other. Leaders taught about transparency and actually lived authentic lives. One leader spoke about his own struggle with pornography, and in that moment, I realized nobody really knew where I was struggling in isolation. I never experienced what it was to be fully known, so I never truly knew what it meant to be fully loved.
“Once I was surrounded by other guys in the college ministry, I had a community around me unlike anything I ever had before. I started spending time with men who loved Jesus and who knew what it was like to be fully known and fully loved. This lifestyle and trust in Christ set me free.
“The Lord really changed my life through the people He surrounded me with. Talking about my sin struggles with other Christian men was the first step in being authentic in my life. Those godly men around me helped me see why I struggled with confession. It wasn’t because I hadn’t read it in the Bible. I knew the importance of confession, but it came down to the idolatry of my own image. I was so fearful of what others would think of me. I felt like I’d be condemned and looked down on, but my confessions were met with prayer, accountability, and encouragement that ultimately led to healing and freedom. Through this growth in my relationhip with and knowledge of Christ, I started to truly believe there is a good Heavenly Father who stepped into the form of a man to save me from my own wicked, selfish, and sinful desires. I started living for God’s approval rather than man’s. He restored those sinful parts of my heart, and I felt fully known and fully loved by both Christ and His people.
“Later, I was given the opportunity to disciple a group of middle school boys through the Watermark Students. I was uncertain about whether or not I would be able to shepherd the same group for seven years, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of discipling the next generation.
“Today I’m four-and-a-half years in with this group of young men, and I get to see what a blessing it is. I get to look back at their 6th grade year, remember the conversations we had then, and compare it to where they are now. Sometimes growth and progress can feel slow and difficult, but I am continually reminded that I can be the same way in my own walk with the Lord, yet He is faithful and constant.
“In Galatians 6:9-10, we’re commanded to not grow weary, knowing the Lord determines the harvest. The Lord doesn’t need me, but He is inviting me into His work with students. It is a gift to be someone consistent, committed, and faithful to sow seeds and trust Him with the harvest in the boys’ lives. As a leader, I’m not the one who is determining when the fruit comes, my only requirement is to be faithful.”