This bulletin insert describes what domestic abuse is, its hidden impacts, and how the church can begin to respond.
This product is available free to CRC congregations. It is also available, in bundles of 100, for a small fee to all others.
Domestic Violence and the Role of the Church: This webinar is designed to help us understand the problem of domestic abuse, so that we can recognize it and respond in practical and effective ways.
Domestic Violence – find out why domestic abuse matters to the church
Worship and Sermon Resources:
We must find the time to preach on domestic violence in our churches. Those who continue to live in situations of abuse must know there is no excuse for violence, in any of our relationships, and especially the relationships with our spouses and children.
When sermons are being crafted on the topic of domestic violence, consider the following (modified list from Faith Trust Institute):
Those who have been victimized often need to hear that the abuse is not their fault, and not God's will.
They also need to hear that they are not alone and that help is available.
Let them know that without intervention, abuse often escalates in frequency and severity over time.
Those who are in domestic violence situations should not be in couples counseling, instead refer to a specialized domestic violence counseling program.
Let them know there are shelters, safe homes, and advocacy resources available.
Don't minimize the abusive behavior.
If you preach on reconciliation for an abusive relationship, always make sure that it is always in the context of accountability, justice and a coordinated community response for those who are victimized (click here to learn more about a coordinated community response).
To give you more ideas for your sermons, visit SOJO.NET/100SERMONS.
Sojourners is an organization committed to racial and social justice, life and peace, and environmental stewardship. Back when #MeToo went viral in 2017, the movement paved the way for #ChurchToo and #SilenceIsNotSpiritual, hashtags that insisted that because Christians are not immune to perpetrating sexual and domestic violence, they must actively denounce it. Christians all across the spectrum spoke out online against abuse. So Sojourners became curious and asked this question: will faith leaders be willing to elevate the conversation from Twitter to the pulpit?
They invited pastors and parishioners to send them sermons on domestic and sexual violence, hoping to have 100 sermons by the end of the year. In just a few months they had nearly 150. Go to their SOJO.NET/100SERMONS to read quotes from each sermon, and learn how you can begin making your church a safer sanctuary for survivors. You can search by location, scripture, or denomination.
For other worship resources, see our worship resource page here
Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada – A resource called Restore: Ending Violence Against Women provides a wealth of resources on this important topic.
The Rave Project: RAVE stands for Religion and Violence E-learning. It provides excellent online resources including survivor stories and online training for pastors
Canadian Department of Justice: The Family Violence Initiative offers resources and direction to get help in situations of domestic abuse.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: (USA based) The hotline is staffed 24/7 by trained professionals, and available to offer support and counseling on issues of domestic violence. The website also includes a helpful resource page.
We Will Speak Out: A global coalition dedicated to work together to end sexual violence, includes a very helpful resource page for Churches.
DrugRehab.com has created an informative guide about Domestic Abuse, Sexual Violence and Substance Use, as these are often co-occurring.
MoneyGeek.com has created a guide that offers Financial Help for Women in Abusive Relationships.
Presbyterian Mission Agency: Provides advocacy and resources for the prevention of and healing from societal and domestic violence.
Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope After Domestic Abuse: Ruth Tucker recounts her story of abuse at the hands of her husband, a well-educated, charming, preacher, and offers a biblical approach to counter such abuse.
Domestic Violence: What every Pastor Needs to Know (2011 by Rev. Al Miles). Written as a resource for pastors, who are often critical resources for abuse victims (and often misunderstand the dynamics of abuse, causing further damage to victims). Offers pastors an accurate overview of domestic violence, and appropriate goals and response.
Responding to Abuse in Christian Homes: A Challenge to Churches and their Leaders (2011 by Nancy Nason-Clark, Catherine Clark Kroeger, and Barbara Fisher-Townsend).
Responding to Domestic Violence: A Resource for Church Leaders (2002 by Beth A. Swagman). A handbook written by the former director of Safe Church Ministry, with helpful resources on counseling, legal issues, and other topics.
Stop Hurting the Woman You Love: Breaking the Cycle of Abusive Behavior (2006 by Charlie Donaldson and Randy Flood with Elaine Eldridge). Written as a resource for abusive men who are motivated to change their behavior, helps the abuser understand the source and symptoms of his behavior and how to recover from an addiction to violence. Only recommended as a supplement to therapy and other accountability measures.
Documents and Discussion Starters
Domestic Violence Continuum of Care Tool – A quick reference guide for responding to domestic abuse
Ted & Maria - A Family Issue – A scenario with discussion questions
Survivor Stories - A reading and discussion questions
The 'Power and Control Wheel' has been used for many years to describe the central power and control dynamic that operates in many kinds of abusive relationships. Abuse is not always physical or sexual; there are many other ways that unhealthy power and control is used in a relationship. By contrast, the 'Equality Wheel' shows characteristics of a relationship that is based on equal value and respect. The 'Faith Leaders Wheel' shows how churches and faith communities can make a positive difference in preventing and responding to abuse in relationships.
Power and Control Wheel (National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2006)
Equality Wheel (National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2006)
Community Faith Leaders – a link to safety (Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, 2003)