By J.D. Greear
We believe every church must be equipped to respond well in those initial stages of learning about some tragic instance of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse. That’s why we created Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused. This curriculum brings together top experts from various fields to help leaders understand and implement the best practices for handling the variety of abuse scenarios at a church, at a school, or at a ministry.
While this is an educational curriculum, it should be made clear, education is not usually the answer, because ignorance is not usually the problem. Churches don’t mishandle cases of abuse because of a lack of knowledge. I mean, think about it, if it were our own child who was being abused, we would figure out what to do. To blame ignorance is to fail to own our role as leaders. The sad reality, however, is that most pastors have had little, if any, training on pastoral care for abuse. Lack of training can result in ministry leaders being tentative or passive when we need to be active and bold and protecting. We want to equip ministry leaders to respond with excellence when they learn of cases of abuse.
The teaching team in this curriculum represents a variety of perspectives and areas of expertise – survivors, social workers, law enforcement, attorneys who have represented survivors in the legal process, trauma counselors, abuse counselors, batterer interventionists, and pastors who have cared for abused victims well. This team has decades of experience in caring for survivors. We wanted people who knew first-hand the weaknesses prevalent and the church’s responses to abuse. In addition, we chose experts from various fields in order to model listening and constructive conversations with key professionals. We want to help churches become partners with law enforcement and key care providers in their community as they minister to those who have been through the tragedy of abuse.
The team also represents leaders from a variety of denominations because we know that no group of churches, no group of ministries is immune from needing to grow in this area and we wanted to learn some of the best insight from across the body of Christ. We wanted to learn from others and have an opportunity for what we’ve learned to be received from the broader evangelical community.
The curriculum covers two major sections. The first is four lessons on key concepts for pastors and ministry leaders. And then eight lessons on key responses from pastors and ministry leaders. The first section clarifies common misconceptions of abuse. The second section provides practical guidance on how to respond to a variety of different types of abuse.
We pray that this curriculum is going to have a swift, a deep, and an enduring impact in equipping churches and ministry leaders to care well for victims of abuse.
Start this free training today and equip your volunteers and ministry leaders at ChurchCares.com.
*Please note the curriculum is not intended to be legal counsel or to provide holistic training for counseling or pastoral care on the issue of abuse but is an accessible tutorial on how to respond with pastoral and ethical excellence. The curriculum gives a theological foundation for the topic, brings understanding on the issues connected to abuse disclosure and reporting, and gives practical wisdom by which leaders can navigate complex situations.