It was called Ministry “speed dating”. We had 2 minutes to say something about our ministries in a video meeting with other ministry leaders. The goal was to find areas of collaboration in the work we were already doing, as well as perhaps discover new areas to begin working together. Here’s my Safe Church “speed dating” pitch:
Safe Church is not ONLY about protecting children – even though our children are valuable, and it’s our responsibility to protect them and offer a safe environment for faith to flourish free from abuse.
Safe Church is not ONLY about providing a process to bring justice when pastors behave badly, to give voice to those who’ve been victimized – even though that is very important.
Safe Church is not ONLY about providing resources for churches – even though the majority of our work is developing resources.
Safe Church is about living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Abuse is completely contrary to the Gospel. In abuse, power is used to harm, to diminish, and to control – it brings death, sometimes literally, but in many other ways as well.
Jesus shows us a different way, using power (he has all power) to love, to build up, and to bring freedom – it brings life. Jesus’ way is the exact opposite of abuse.
Abuse is pandemic. In the USA, 1 in 5 women are raped during their college years; 1 in 10 teens have been physically or sexually hurt by a dating partner in the last 12 months! We could go on with statistics, but they don’t tell the real stories of the devastation caused by abuse. As we live out our faith, we are compelled to stand up against all that opposes the Gospel, including abuse.
At Safe Church Ministry, we talk to people every week who are leaving the CRC, or even more sadly, leaving church all together because their experience of abuse was not taken seriously or was not handled well. On the other hand, there is huge potential for ministry to all those who have suffered abuse, and to those who have chosen to abuse as well. There is no better place than in the healing power of Jesus, together with his people, in his church.
How can the church be better equipped to live out the Gospel by working to end abuse? That’s the question of Safe Church Ministry. So, do you want to dance? Have coffee and talk? Call: 616-224-0735 or email: [email protected]
"Jesus’ way is the exact opposite of abuse." Amen, preach it sister... that line made me cry, because I've made a similar statment: we/the Church are doing exactly the opposite of what the Bible tells us when it comes to abuse and sexual immorality... I pray for the Church to step up and out, to walk in the potential God designed for her... being transparent and open, and humble, and honest, then, He will open the doors to bring healing through the Church...
I agree there is much potential, but we have to be willing to lose our lives (taking the risk to confess, repent, be honest and open, etc. ) first... and that's where it seems we get stuck... we don't understand and/or we refuse to acknowledge/recognize/admit it's the only way we can move forward... when in God's greater reality, it's the safest thing we can do, because it's God's way... He promises when we confess our sins TO ONE ANOTHER, that opens the door for healing (James 5)... and I have witnessed that and read testimonies that affirm that... it's a step of faith, and might feel like we are stepping off a cliff ( think of Indiana jones when he's going after the holy grail and he takes the step out into thin air, and there's an unseen rock bridge that blends in and so is invisible, but it's there!)
anyway... until there is significant, specific, transparent repentance (not some fairly safe, controlled, generic blanket statement acknowledging that we've messed up here and there, that just doesn't cut it or even come close)... I think the healing we experience in the Church will be limited... are we willing to lose our lives/reputation? are we willing to lay down our lives for those who have been hurt by/in the Church? somewhere I read, God's not worried about His reputation... the excuse of protecting reputation is a cop out by the leaders to justify cover up for each other... and it's the opposite of what Jesus did!
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