Over the past 15 plus years I have been involved in various forms of ministry, including over six years pastoring a church. But a few years ago I had an awakening to something that I had been unaware of: there is a big problem of abuse hiding in the church. It is not that I didn’t realize that abuse ever happened in the church or Christian marriages; I was simply ignorant to how widespread this problem is, how often these situations get mishandled by church leadership, and how many prevailing beliefs and mindsets in the church enable abuse to be perpetuated.
My awakening to abuse in the church came through a series of events, including my wife and I walking with a couple where the husband was chronically abusing his wife verbally, emotionally, and spiritually. Since that time, we have been involved in many other similar situations and our eyes have been opened to this darkness hiding in our midst. We have also seen the reality that sexual abuse, abusive leadership, and other forms of abuse are also often lurking in the church.
Shining a Light in a Dark Place
Speaking up about abuse in the church is not something I do out of enjoyment or out of needing extra things to add to my plate. There are plenty of other topics I would prefer to teach about and my plate does not need any other items! I talk about abuse in the church out of obedience to the Lord and love for the oppressed. We are called to shine light into dark places:
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible.” (Ephesians 5:11-13)
This is one of the reasons that we are hosting an Abuse Awareness Dinner on Saturday, June 25th of this year. The purpose of this dinner is to raise awareness about the hidden abuse epidemic in the Church, as well as support to continue building and expanding our initiatives to tangibly empower women seeking freedom from abuse. This dinner is for all believers, pastors, ministry leaders, or anyone who has a heart to learn more about covert abuse.
As a church leader, I appeal to other pastors and leaders to be open to learning about a topic that may be new to you. We must humble ourselves and realize that perhaps we have missed the reality of domestic abuse in our midst and educate ourselves to be better equipped to recognize and properly address these types of situations.
Check out the details for this special evening and plan to be a part!
Abuse Awareness Dinner
*Click for details: Abuse Awareness Dinner – June 25th