Category Archives: pastors and pastoring

To avoid spiritual abuse church leaders should do this


Anyone in a power position recognizes the possibility of abusing that power. Bosses can take advantage of vulnerable employees, parents can abuse children, and church leaders can manipulate parishioners. I start with the assumption that most church leaders do not want to harm their parishioners. I would go even farther that when spiritual abuse does happen, most leaders don’t see what they have done/not done as abusive. Rather, they act with the intent to maintain good order, prevent further sin, and the like.

to get caught up on what spiritual abuse is, take a look at these posts:

The church in her leaders who wish to avoid falling into acts of spiritual abuse may want to consider the following preventative steps:

  1. Study the Character and Leadership of Christ. You know that tired but true adage, you will better recognize counterfeits if you study the real deal. How does Jesus wield power? How does the true Servant Leader treat the most vulnerable? Sinners? Pray that God will show you where you or your leadership team look more like the world than of your head, Jesus. As a part of this study, invite someone who has experienced spiritual abuse to tell you about their experience. What was the damage done, the impact? 
  2. Identify Risk Factors. Life has risk. We try to minimize unnecessary risk and make wise choices when risk cannot be mitigated. While usually it is better to reduce risk, sometimes risk is essential to save life. There are a few risks that need to be acknowledged that increase potential for spiritual abuse: Having all male staff/elders/deacons may increase risk for women who have little voice in church policy, hierarchical leadership with little oversight by others increases risk of abuse. So, it is helpful to churches to review church discipline policies, pastoral care procedures especially in regards to the most vulnerable members of the church. There is a reason why churches have child abuse policies–to recognize vulnerabilities and to ensure protection. A similar review would help reduce the likelihood of incidence of spiritual abuse. 
  3. Develop Continuous Assessment and Learning. In medical and mental health fields, professionals are required to complete continuing education. In addition, many practitioners participate in agency-wide case consultations. The consultation is designed for mutual learning and input. A counselor presents a case and takes questions and recommendations from peers. What if church leaders held these kinds of “grand rounds” where those tasked to work with an individual or family presented the basic facts, the agreed upon goals and “interventions” tried. The audience of other elders and/or pastors could ask questions and offer alternate hypotheses or responses. If you have ever worked on a problem, you know that getting another set of eyes on the problem can sometime stir a new perspective. Encourage at least one group member to ask questions about the parishioner’s experience of help. Of course, confidentiality is a must and so be sure that the leadership can keep matter private. 
  4. Review Difficult Pastoral Cases. Seek External Feedback. No matter how wise and spiritual your church leaders are, they do not have all the expertise they need to handle any and every case. In the case of difficult and protracted marriage conflict, be willing to seek expert opinion outside of the church. Seek outside consultation when there has been abuse in a relationship and there are power differentials. God has given some people expertise in understanding major mental illness, trauma, and relational dynamics. Invite these individuals into session meetings to help guide the response the church makes. This can be done in ways that maintains complete confidentiality.

These are simple and general measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of abusing spiritual power that leaders have over congregants. While you may think such abuse is extremely rare, our call to be like our head Jesus demands that we hoist no millstones around the necks of vulnerable members.

     

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    Filed under Abuse, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, pastors and pastoring

    Trauma-informed churches?


    Yesterday I wrote a bit about trauma-informed organizations that seek to ensure that the ministries they provide neither harm recipients or staff members. That post focused on para-church organizations serving highly-traumatized populations and encouraged them to do some self-evaluation. But, today I’d like to add just a few additional thoughts on how churches might improve care for traumatized people in their pews.

    Types of Trauma in the Church

    Churches, by definition, are filled with broken people. That is just as God intended. And also as God intended, most find the church a safe place to heal and be restored–to God and to neighbor. But some find it a bit harder to feel safe in a church setting. In particular, those,

    • who have been harmed (spiritually, physically, emotionally) by church leaders
    • who have deep and hidden shame from interpersonal betrayals (sexual abuse, domestic abuse, forced perpetration, etc.)
    • who have experiences difficult to be understood by many (e.g., veterans)
    • who have secondary trauma (more invisible than most traumas) and who think they should be over it already

    How can churches evaluate current policies and practices to ensure that both congregants and staff are cared well for and not unintentionally compounding trauma experiences? Consider the following list as a starting point for conversations among pastors, elders, staff, and lay leaders.

    1. Do we have a basic understanding of the nature, causes, and symptoms of trauma?
      • Search this site for many resources on this topic
      • Watch free videos here about making the church a safe place for victims
    2. Do we understand key features of systemic abuse that might infect our church
      • Use the link just above to explore the symptoms of narcissistic systems and leaders
      • Search this site for more resources as well
    3. Do we have a child abuse prevention plan? Preventing future abuse also provides some level of healing from past victims.
    4. Does our child abuse prevention plan also include ongoing training, care for staff, and a robust response plan when abuse allegations surface?
    5. Are we aware of subtle forms of spiritual abuse? How do we protect vulnerable populations?
      • Explore the dangers of “sin-leveling” (making victim responses on par with offender actions)
    6. Victims often develop poor coping mechanisms (e.g., addictions, resistance to authority, reactive moods, withdrawal, etc. Do we respond to all sins the same or is there recognition that traumatized victims need a different form a response?
    7. Do we have regular spaces for pastors and leaders to address secondary trauma (the result of being deeply involved in the ongoing traumas of congregants)?
      • Explore local resources outside the church so leadership does not need to be expert on every form of trauma and trauma response.

    These are just a few questions to start with and will likely elicit many more as you go. By asking the questions you are taking serious the call by God to watch after the flock (including the sheep leading other sheep).

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    Filed under Abuse, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, church and culture, pastors and pastoring, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, trauma, Uncategorized

    Pastors and porn: what to do?


    The latest issue of Christianity Today has an article on pastors and the struggle with pornography. Here’s a couple of pieces of data from the 770 pastors surveyed

    • Current struggle? 21% of youth pastors and 14% of pastors say yes
    • How frequent a struggle? 35% of both categories say “a few times per month”
    • Past struggle? 43% of both categories say yes

    So, it is a problem. But here’s the data that stood out to me most of all.

    • 70% of adult Christians say that if a pastor is having this struggle, the pastor should either be fired or put on leave until the problem is resolved? While
    • Only 8% of pastors think they should leave their position if having this problem

    While not surprising, it is telling. We think we should manage our own problems (or get a counselor or accountability group–that is still managing on our own) and that these problems don’t hinder our work.

    What do you think?

    How serious is the problem of porn use amongst pastors? Should it be cause to lose the position? Sinlessness is not a reasonable goal for pastors. But what would disqualify one from the position?

    And if porn is a significant problem amongst congregants (and this study among many say so), does having a pastor with a current (even if infrequent) use of porn help or hinder care of congregants?

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    Filed under Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, pastors and pastoring, pornography, Uncategorized

    Restoring Pastors to Ministry After Affairs? Possible or Impossible?


    In recent weeks there have been sad and public accounts of pastors removed from their positions after being caught having sex with someone not their spouse. These pastors (mostly men) are gifted speakers, writers, and leaders. They are good at what they do. It seems is a shame that they no longer use those gifts to lead God’s people. It is also a shame that God’s good name and the spouse/kids are dragged through the mud.

    But can there be redemption? Could the pastor who loses integrity regain it and with it regain a pastoral position again? After all, we are all sinners and no pastor ever is without sin. Indeed, it seems God uses those who are moral and ethical disasters to lead his church. There’s David the rapist and murderer, S/Paul the terrorist, Abraham the liar, and Peter the wishy-washy, self-protective and impulsive “rock” of the church. Certainly, if God uses these people to write huge portions of Scripture and to build the church then why can’t a pastor who strays also be used by God?

    No reason…any some possible reasons at the same time.

    First, let’s call “affairs” with congregants what they are–pastoral sexual abuse. Now, not all sexual activity between a pastor and a congregant are the same. Having sex with a person you are counseling is not the same as developing a relationship with someone who is a bit more your equal. And yet, both would still not be an affair but an abuse of the position of pastor since the pastor has the obligation and moral responsibility to protect the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep.

    Reason 1: The greater the misuse of power, the less likely a power holder should get that power back. An accountant who steals money is less able to return to being an accountant than a painter is returning to another painting job who happened upon some money on a desk and took it.

    Stories of redemption in the Bible aren’t road maps for what should happen today. They tell us much about the amazing grace God bestows on sinners, but they don’t tell us what we should do when we encounter a fallen pastor. In fact, if we want to stack up the restored leaders in the Bible against the cursed leaders, I think our few positive examples of restoration would be vastly outnumbered by the stories of permanent removal. And on top of stories, we have some very serious warnings about bad shepherds (Jer 23, Ezek 34, 44, Matthew 23). The Ezekiel 44 passage denies false shepherds from ever speaking for God ever again but does show kindness in allowing them to help out with the sacrifices.

    Reason 2: Human gifting does not necessarily lead to spiritual authority and leadership. Value to the kingdom continues even if “ministry” is only that of behind the scenes support services.

    Finally, desire for the position is not always evidence of readiness. Recall in Acts 8 that there was a magician name Simon who wanted the ability to cast out demons like the apostles. He must already have had some capacity as he was famous. But he wanted more. He wanted the position of power. When confronted he begs for mercy and help.

    Reason 3: Tears, passion, vision, and drive are not enough of a reason to place someone back into public ministry.

    Now, none of these reasons are enough to always say no to return to pulpits after sexual infidelity. While a return may not be probable, it can be possible. Every situation is unique. That said, unless the disgraced pastor has evidenced many of the signs of repentance (taking full ownership, accepting consequences, giving up control over recovery process/submitting to the work of therapy, seeking accountability, pursuing utter transparency, and not placing demands to return to the position) for a long season, it is doubtful that a return to leadership is right. Frankly, one of the best signs of repentance is not being so worried about reputation and not seeking a return to a previous level of ministry.

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    Filed under adultery, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, pastors and pastoring, Uncategorized

    What does recovery look like after traumatic experiences


    After trauma, what does recovery look like? Is it possible to “move on?” How can you when you can never unsee or unremember what happened to you? 

    Is it possible to experience joy rather than emotional pain when remembering past or ongoing hurts? If so, just what does that look and feel like for the victim? What can be expected if I am “healed”? Can I be free from the typical experience of trauma (e.g., Hopelessness, despair, anxiety, confusion, shame, anger, loss of identity, feeling stuck but the demand to act as if the trauma did not take place, and spiritual angst over the goodness and love of God)?

    As Diane Langberg has so aptly reminded us, “Trauma is the mission field of this century.” Around the world there is much openness to talk about the impact of trauma and to use spiritual practices as part of the recovery process. In Christian language, we talk about healing the wounds of the heart and one of the best programs out there is the Trauma Healing Institute’s, Healing the Wounds of Trauma. This program is based on the strong Christian belief that God, through the work of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures,  is in the business of healing wounded hearts. At the heart of this belief sits two important passages:

    Isa 61:1-4 The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is upon me, because Yahweh has anointed me, he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives and liberation to those who are bound, to proclaim the year of Yahweh’s favor, and our God’s day of vengeance, to comfort all those in mourning, to give for those in mourning in Zion, to give them a head wrap instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a faint spirit. 

    2 Cor 4: 16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart, but even if our outer person is being destroyed, yet our inner person is being renewed day after day. For our momentary light affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure and proportion, because we are not looking at what is seen, but what is not seen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is not seen is eternal.  

    These two beautiful passages present a picture of recovery. Good news, release, favor, comfort, joy and beauty in place of mourning and oppression. Renewal in the face of affliction. But what does this mean in real life? Does a “double portion” instead of shame feel like to a victim of sexual trauma? What does renewal and release feel like after a natural disaster? 

    Prognosis for Complete Recovery?

    If you suffer a serious knee injury requiring surgery, you will need time for rehabilitation. But rehab does not necessarily mean you will recover the full range of motion you once had, or that  your knee will be entirely pain free when you are finished with physical therapy. Your prognosis for recovery depends on many factors such as age, extent of injury, physical health prior to the accident, and availability of quality care. Even with the best care provided to top athletes, recovery may not lead to return to top form. For example, an Olympic skier may be able to ski again but not at a quality that allows for competitive skiing. 

    What about the prognosis for spiritual and emotional recovery? Of course, just as in the knee injury example, the answer must be “it depends.” Still, considering the two passages above, words like liberation, joy, release, and renewal shape our imagination for recovery. Do we imagine complete recovery to top spiritual and emotional form, without pain and limitation? It appears to me that we sometimes imagine emotional and spiritual healing without taking consideration the reality of broken bodies and a fallen world. We are not guaranteed a pain free life or faith without distressing questions. In fact, Paul’s beautiful words in 2 Corinthians bear this out. afflicted in every way, persecuted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, always carrying around death, burdened, groaning and more. Yes, he also says not crushed, not despairing, not destroyed, but alive. But both must be considered together at the same time if we are indeed to imagine our prognosis. Recovery means comfort and lament, joy in mourning, perplexed while trusting, dying yet alive. 

    Sprouts of Justice and Recovery?

    Isaiah describes sprouts of justice and righteousness beginning in the recovery of the oppressed (Isa 61:11). As a gardener, I see sprouts as the beginning of hope. After planting seeds, the tiny sprouts give me hope for a later harvest but that hope is still tempered with the knowledge of the challenge of getting sprouts to develop into fruited plants. I have to be vigilant about bugs, weeds, and drought. I need to cultivate and fertilize or my sprouts will not turn into much. And even if I do everything right, the seed may be weak or the weather may mean I only have spindly or stunted plants that cannot bear much fruit. Yet, the sight of sprouts brings the hope that empowers us to keep at the gardening work. 

    So, what are these sprouts of justice and recovery that victims of trauma may first see that encourage hope and further empowerment? Consider some of these: 

    • Capacity to Name Truth and Justice

    Recovery begins when oppressed people find words to name injustices done to self and other. For example, a victim of domestic violence may become well aware of the subtle signs of verbal and emotional coercion, long before any physical violence. They become the canary in the mine, aware of poison that others may not yet sense. 

    As this capacity grows beyond a mere sprout, the person may be able to speak the truth aloud, even with courage to say it to leaders. 

    As naming capacity grows, it moves from awareness of personal risk to capacity to notice and care for the injustices others experience

    • Accepting weaknesses without hopelessness

    Part of recovery requires honest reflection of the damage done. Signs of recovery include the ability to recognize limitations and working within capacity without self-hatred (though there may be lament for losses of previously held abilities). When we truly accept the “new normal” we then can stop evaluating daily life from the perspective of who we used to be

    As we accept our limits, we can then begin to see the opportunities we do have even within our limitations

    • Identify resilience and new capacities in the midst of struggle

    There may be new capacities we never observed before (e.g., the capacity to speak up to power, the ability to withstand rejection, increased empathy for the pain of others). We now notice these resiliences and growth as they stand on their own

    Though we will not call the suffering good, we will be able to identify blessings that we have received in spite of and as a result of the trauma experienced 

    Be Careful Not to Damage the Sprouts

    For those who are not attempting the impossible, to “move on” from trauma and abuse, it is good to remember that sprouts are tender and can be easily damaged with too much interference. You may need to leave a few weeds you see near the fledgling plants so as not to disturb their roots or bruise the green shoots. How do we do this to the sprouts of recovery? We may unintentional limit growth by questioning why the person learning to speak the truth isn’t doing it in a even-tempered manner. Sadly, too often those in domestically violent marriages are told to stop being so dramatic and to calm down when they begin to speak about the truth of the violence they have experienced. Or, we can point out the sins of the victim as if somehow their responsive sins eliminate their right to speak up about the trauma they experienced. Or, we can hear someone accepting brokenness and accuse them of not trusting God for complete healing. 

    Nurture recovery as you would a tender plant. It is a scandalous act of grace! By paying attention to safety needs, by bearing witness to trauma, by being willing to lament and to stay connected, we provide a greenhouse for such plants to grow into levels of recovery never before dreamed of. 

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    Filed under Abuse, biblical counseling, christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, counseling skills, pastors and pastoring, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ptsd

    Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Rule Changes in Pennsylvania


    This is a reminder to Pennsylvania counselors, pastors, and Sunday School volunteers: as of January 1, 2015, Pennsylvanians must abide by a new set of child abuse reporting rules. The majority of the changes have to do with who must report suspected child abuse and how the report will be made. I will give a few of the changes but I encourage you to use this link to get a free training. This link will give you a summary of the changes plus links to each rule.

    Who must report suspected child abuse?

    1. All therapists and mental health practitioners who learn of possible child abuse of any child, whether a client or not.

    Change? Gone is the “child coming before you language.” What this means is that you are now responsible to report all child abuse whether you are serving the child or the family. You may not remove the mandate to report just because it is something you see in your neighborhood or hear about from another (e.g., your mail carrier tells you his grandchild is being abused). Consider yourself a mandated reported in every situation you find yourself in.

    2. Anyone who educates and/or works with children. Pastors, teachers, volunteers, are all mandated reporters when they are overseeing children. They cannot just tell a supervisor but must report themselves.

    Change? Even lawyers representing churches or other organizations are mandated reporters if they learn of child abuse in the institution. Interestingly, the pastor who learns of child abuse in a confession from an abuser may still have some protections. But, if your denomination doesn’t practice confessions, then this loophole won’t work for you.

    3. Licensed practitioners (licensed by PA) must complete 2 hours of child abuse reporting training before next licensure period. For LPCs, that is before end of February 2015. Those seeking licensure for the first time must complete 3 hours in order to be considered for licensure.

    Change? New requirement. Must be training approved by Dept of Public Welfare and may or may not count toward their required continuing education requirements. The first link above is one of those approved trainings.

    4. Reporting now is done online for mandated reporters (while permissive reporters–everybody else–may still call in).

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    Spiritual Abuse: What it is and Why it Hurts


    In 21st century United States, does spiritual abuse really happen? Can’t we all just choose churches where we feel safe? No one makes us (adults) go to church so shouldn’t spiritual abuse be nonexistent in this day—or at least happen only once (e.g., fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…)?

    Sadly, spiritual abuse happens in all sorts of churches and for all sorts of reasons.

    What is spiritual abuse?

    Spiritual abuse is the use of faith, belief, and/or religious practices to coerce, control, or damage another for a purpose beyond the victim’s well-being (i.e., church discipline for the purpose of love of the offender need not be abuse).

    Like child abuse, spiritual abuse comes in many forms. It can take the form of neglect or intentional harm of another. It can take the form of naïve manipulation or predatory “feeding on the sheep.” Consider some of these examples:

    1. Refusing to provide pastoral care to women on the basis of gender alone
    2. Coercing reconciliation of victim to offender
    3. Dictating basic decisions (marriage, home ownership, jobs, giving practices, etc.)
    4. Binding conscience on matters that are in the realm of Christian freedom
    5. Using threats to maintain control of another
    6. Using deceptive language to coerce into sexual activity
    7. Denying the right to divorce despite having grounds to do so

    For a short review, consider Mary DeMuth’s 2011 post on spotting spiritual abuse.

    Why it is so harmful

    If someone demands your wallet, you may give it but you do not think they have a right to it. You have no doubt that an injustice has occurred. You have been robbed! When someone abuses, it is a robbery but often wrapped up in a deceptive package to make the victim feel as if the robbery was actually a gift. Spiritual abuse almost always is couched in several layers of deception. Here’s a few of those layers:

    1. Speaking falsely for God. Spiritual leaders or shepherds abuse most frequently by presenting their words as if they were the words of God himself. They may not say “Thus sayeth the Lord” in so many ways but they speak with authority. When leaders fail to communicate God’s words and attitudes, they are called false teachers and prophets. Some of these false words include squelching dissent and concern in the name of “unity.”
    2. Over-emphasizing one doctrinal point while minimizing another. Consider the example of Paul, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). In three other places in the NT, Paul says similar phrases. The application is that our leaders are to exemplify the character of Christ. Sadly, it is easy to turn this into, “do what I want you to do.” Paul does not say to imitate him. He says to imitate him when he imitates Christ. There are other examples as well: forcing forgiveness, demanding victims of abuse to confront their abusers in private so that they will meet the letter of Matthew 18.
    3. Good ends justifying means. It is a sad fact that many victims of other kinds of abuse have been asked to be silent for the sake of community comfort. Indeed, community comfort is important. But forcing a victim of abuse to be silent and to forego seeking justice is a form of spiritual abuse.
    4. Pretending to provide pastoral care. I have talked with several pastors who crossed into sexual behavior with those they have been charged to counsel. All too commonly, the pastor deceived self and other into thinking that the special attention given to the parishioner was love and compassion. In fact, their actions were always self-serving. However, the layer of deception made it feel (to both parties) like love in the beginning stages.

    The reason why spiritual abuse hurts so much is that it always fosters confusion, self-doubt, and shame. This recipe encourages isolation, self-hatred, and questioning of God. When shepherds abuse, the sheep are scattered and confused. They no longer discern the voice of the true Shepherd.

    This is exactly why the Old Testament and New Testament speak in such harsh terms against abusive and neglectful Shepherd: Ezekiel 34:2; Jeremiah 50:6; John 10:9. Words like, “woe to you…” and “you blind guides…” reveal that spiritual abuse for any reason is destructive and is not of God. And it gets no harsher than, “better than a millstone be tied to your neck and thrown into the sea” to illustrate the depth of evil in harming vulnerable people.

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    Filed under Abuse, Christianity, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, Doctrine/Theology, Evangelicals, pastors and pastoring

    Pastors as chaplains to child victims of abuse


    Over at the Seminary’s  blog site, I have a post on the role of pastors with victims of abuse. It is designed to correct the all-too-common failure of church leaders to support (publicly) victims as they go through the legal system.

    You can read it here: http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/faculty-blog/96-regular-content/716-pastors-as-chaplains-to-victims-of-abuse

     

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    Did God injure me? A great pastoral response


    I am reading a version of a paper entitled, “Connecting horizons with Job: Pastoral care (in cooperation with professionals) in the trauma-coping process” by Egbert Brink. In one section he discusses pastoral care responses to the victim’s experience that God was the adversary (such as Job experienced). Mr. Brink cites Job 9:10-12, 9:16-17 where Job feels like God’s hand is the one who is doing the wounding. The victim that Mr. Brink is meeting with says,

    Did God do this, did He wound me? My heart says yes, but my mind does not allow that answer….Again; did God wound me? Yes…Okay. That’s what Job feels, and I identify with Job. The next logical step is: what emotions do I have? … This is scary, but the step must be taken. It’s not until you say it, that the emotion can be set free. I can do it, I say: I am disappointed in God, and angry, I think. That last bit isn’t proper, but I can’t help it. Don’t take it too harshly. (p. 16)

    Mr. Brink (or is it Dr? I do not know) provides this commentary,

    …this is a special moment in trauma coping process…every traumatized person is faced with the question why God let it happen and did not protect him or her. The book of Job grants the necessary space to ask these probing life questions dealing with the mysteries of God. Faith in God’s omnipotence and goodness raises many questions in this context, but also provides space for them. Passionate complaints don’t immediately put God’s omnipotence in question but rather underline it.  (ibid, emphasis mine)

    And then Mr. Brink says this,

    The pastoral task, then, is not to stand in the way of the traumatized client with apologetics, as Job’s friends do. God does not need advocates to plead his case. (ibid, emphasis his)

    I found the following Vimeo link (http://vimeo.com/48232843) of Mr. Brink giving a talk on this paper and pastoral case.

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    Filed under Abuse, Biblical Reflection, pastors and pastoring, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, trauma

    Abuse in the Church DVD now available


    This summer I taught a class, along with Boz Tchividjian, about the problem and response of abuse within the church. Our four main plenaries were filmed and are now available on a 2 DVD set distributed by Vision Video. You can purchase the DVDs here at 20% off the price that will be listed on Amazon (and if you use the above link Biblical Seminary makes a few more pennies!). We Abuse in the Churchcover topics such as

    • how to recognize common characteristics of predators
    • prevention strategies beyond background checks
    • why we fail to act on abuse allegations and what to do about it
    • ministry responses to victims and offenders

    The class was well-received by students and church leaders alike. It could be a great tool to get conversations going among lay and ordained church leaders as well as counselors who may be helping a church ensure top-notch abuse prevention measures as well as strategies for responding in a Godly way to abuse allegations–a way that ensures that the least of these are protected in the church.

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    Filed under Abuse, biblical counseling, christian counseling, Christianity, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, pastors and pastoring, trauma