A New Year for Safe Church Ministry

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I love new things. I love fresh starts, clean slates and to dream about what could be. I love to explore, research and wonder at new possibilities. In 2017, I started this job as Safe Church Associate, and it was a great first year! It was also the first full year of our church plant’s existence (GNG Church) — and, of course, the first full year of my son, Augie’s life. I experienced many beginnings and they were energizing and exciting — however, now comes the grueling part: sustaining them for the long haul.

Grit, tenacity, and an inner-drive are all required to keep on the road to lasting change. The year of 2017 also appeared to be a start to real change in North America when it comes to sexual assault and harassment. As many allegations of abuse came to the public — many powerful people were held accountable for sexual misconduct: Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Michael Oreskes, Louis C.K., Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, and Garrison Keillor. The list is much, much larger than the few mentioned here, but a movement has continued to build up momentum. So much so that TIME magazine named The Silence Breakers as the person of the year for 2017. Pictured on their front cover are some of the key people who have been able to stand-up with incredible courage and inner-drive; including actor Ashley Judd, artist Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, fruit farmer Isabel Pascual, and a corporate lobbyist Adama Iwu. These women represent “one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s” says Edward Felsenthal, the magazine’s editor-in-chief. The movement that has taken place to get us to where we are at today has been a long and difficult journey for many who have been victimized throughout the years without justice.

Where are you at in all of this? Perhaps you are tired, fairly worn out, and have difficulty even getting out of bed, like me. It’s not easy. We live in a confusing world, where many things are out of our real sphere of control. Perhaps there are so many things you feel pulled to do, but you just don’t know which one to do. Or perhaps we have had our hand in so many different things that it has taken its toll. Wherever you are at in all of this, be assured that you have been called by Jesus to share his yoke. Just as two oxen share a yoke, Jesus continues to press on with us, through the long haul. We also know that the journey with him is good. It requires work, but it's not the kind of work that drives us deeper into depression or anxiety. It’s like a good run and the rest there-after is quite fulfilling.

So, let us keep running with perseverance the race marked out for us into 2018 as we fix our eyes on Jesus. This will give us the energized inner drive, sure tenacity and deep grit. Many of you have been working for a long time in your communities and congregations to prevent abuse, increase awareness and have come alongside those who have been victimized. Fortunately, we are not going alone. Jesus continues to walk with us. The incarnation is not over, he is here, in his church. Jesus started the movement of the kingdom of God that continues to stand firm upon what he has already done, is doing, and will continue to do. Our energy and sustenance come from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth — the perfecter of every life. We are called to continue alerting our world to the reign of our just, good and merciful king — King Jesus.

Safe Church Ministry is about living into this reality as we help build communities where the value of each person is honored; where people are free to worship and grow free from abuse; and where abuse has occurred, the response is compassion and justice that fosters healing.

We expect that 2018 will be a major year in which many people will find their voice to break the silence. Let’s listen! Let’s take action. Let’s hear the voices and be share our voice for change. Let’s continue to persevere in the movement of Jesus — as we deal with a world that is not the way it is supposed to be. Let’s go with Jesus, as God brings the Kingdom of God to our homes, neighborhoods, congregations and communities.

Take action today with the following:

#2018ChurchToo – Share this post!

#EquippingSession – Sign-up, come, or watch via livestream our Safe Church Equipping Session on January 25th at Westend Christian Reformed Church!

#Save-the-Date-SCM2018Conference – Be a part of the movement and save the date for our 2018 Safe Church Ministry Conference: September 20-22 at the Prince Conference Center.

#SupportSCM – Sign-up for our newsletter and consider giving a financial contribution as a way to further partner with us to press on.

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