Sometimes I grow weary in my Safe Church Ministry work. Maybe if we only focused on abuse awareness, the education part, the part that energizes me and that I love, that would be enough. Or, if our focus was abuse prevention, the policy part, I’d only have to answer the hard questions by saying, “I have no professional legal training; it may be better for you to check with a legal professional or insurance provider on that”. Or, if we only had to deal with the response, after the fact, perhaps I would have energy to respond well to the painful stories and to yet another person leaving the CRC because of the way their situation of abuse was handled. But Safe Church Ministry is all of these. We equip congregations in abuse awareness, prevention, and response. “It’s a ridiculous mandate,” I’ve heard myself say. It can be a bit overwhelming. And progress seems always slower than I would like. Sometimes I wonder what difference, if any, Safe Church makes. Perhaps it’s really nothing.
There are other times when I am blessed in my Safe Church Ministry work. The Lord, in his great mercy, grants me little glimpses of the good fruit he is bringing about. An event coordinator tells me, “Those scenarios in your presentation really opened our eyes and helped us get on track with what we need to do in our church”. A pastor says, “I’m so glad Safe Church is here; you’ve been so helpful.” A woman whispers to me, “Your webinar about domestic abuse woke me up to what was really happening and helped me start a new life.”
I’m thankful to work with Carol, our administrative specialist. It’s obvious that the two of us, working out of an office in Grand Rapids can’t provide the education and awareness that is needed in over a thousand CRC congregations. The two of us can’t be there to walk alongside, showing compassion to the many people who have suffered abuse all across the U.S. and Canada. And Safe Church has no authority in cases of church leader misconduct – that’s up to church leaders and other governance structures. We are a ministry that is completely dependent. We depend on a dedicated network of safe church team members who strengthen and inspire one another as we work together. Safe Church Ministry only works in connection with YOU, CRC church members and leaders. What can Safe Church Ministry do without YOU? It’s really nothing.