Safe Church Webinar Series: Recap of March 25 Webinar

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In this webinar, we explored the theme of creating a Safe Church team. You'll find many great resources to support you in developing your Safe Church team!

Topic: Creating Safe Church 

Want to know our history? Check out this post on the history of Safe Church.  

Our Direction for Safe Church

Initially, a process was needed for responding to abuse within the church. The Advisory Panel Process and ARTs (Abuse Response Teams) developed over the years. We need to continue to offer ongoing training as this is a key part of our work. This has continued to evolve over the years. A valuable resource for teams is: Guidelines for Handling Abuse Allegations Against a Church Leader: The Advisory Panel Process

While being prepared to respond to abuse is necessary, the mission of Safe Church Ministry is much broader than that. We also need to focus on prevention and raising awareness at every level of the church. We do not think Safe Church Ministry is a ministry on its own, it is a vital element of who we are as the church.

Understanding the dynamics of abuse, and its prevalence, is also vital to living into the good news of Jesus renewing his world. This is gospel work, it is a part of joining God on mission to renew every part of creation. Directly addressing abuse, its devastation, caring for those who have been victimized, and taking steps to ensure that we are not using our power to exploit others is central to following Jesus.

It is our hope that we are able to partner with all the leaders of our church to take these steps together and with the help of God, striving for justice and for grace, stop abuse. It can’t all happen from a small office in Grand Rapids, MI. We all need to partner together, and one of the best ways to do this is to form thriving safe church teams both in our classes and congregations that collaborate with leaders in all the structures of the church.

Here are some other keys for Safe Church Leaders to Consider as you lead Safe Church Teams: How and why do we exist?

Name Your Why

What is it that makes it your passion?

Share your vulnerability! People will start to identify with you and join you.

What is your frame of reference? What is your story? How do you navigate the reality of abuse?

Look at How

We suggest the following: 

Build a core team/executive: 3 to 7 people who focus on planning and equipping all the congregational safe church teams in their classis. This team’s focus: training, planning gatherings and events, team development and connections. Please note Safe Church has a Coordinator Grant! (Check out this article on the role of the coordinator, including important information on our Coordinator grant information in the 4th heading). 

We have compiled a list of training ideas for your team:

Also, consider starting a book club. Here are some of our favorites:

Classics, oldies but goodies:

We want to take every opportunity to remind you of our annual Safe Church Conference for Safe Church Coordinators. It will be October 22 to 24 in Grand Rapids, MI at the Drury Inn! The theme for our conference will be: Connect, Collaborate, and Coordinate to End Abuse. This year the conference will primarily be for Safe Church Coordinators of classes and key Safe Church leaders of the 49 Christian Reformed Church classes. 

It was exciting to see so many participate in our second webinar of the series.

Here is a list of our upcoming webinars so you can make sure to put them on the calendar! 

April 29th, 12 pm to 1:30 pm

Guest: Ruth Everhart, speaker and author of The #MeToo Reckoning

Link to purchase The #MeToo Reckoning

Reasons to Read this Book!

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May 27th: 12 pm to 1:30 pm

Church Council Training

Guest speakers to be announced soon!  

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June 24:12 pm to 1:30 pm

Ex-offenders Discussion

Guest Speaker:Yvonne Lammers, Safe Church Coordinator, Classis Chatham

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Let's Discuss…

We love your comments! Thanks for your help upholding the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Thanks, Safe Church Ministry, for creating the webinar opportunities for connection and learning with valuable online conversation!  It does help to "see" the participants, too, and especially now when we are staying put in our homes with our electronic devices for companionship!  

The upcoming topics for the last Wednesdays of the month should prove to be very informative and emotionally engaging.  I believe I heard Ruth Everhart at the 2016 conference (right?) and still vividly remember her powerful presentation.  

Your resource list inspires me.  Just yesterday I watched a couple of Diane Langberg's lectures about power on YouTube and found them profoundly insightful.  If anyone is reading this comment, I urge you to put your headset on as you rattle around your home and listen to her words of wisdom about the sinful and holy aspects of power.  

I, too, am becoming more convinced that Christ's message is uncomplicated:  to infiltrate this earthly kingdom with His righteousness.  May He give us the grace and power to do so.