Twice a year the church planters come together to get practical and biblical training on the issues they face as church planters. This Training Day was focused on ministering to sexual abuse survivors and preventing sexual abuse in the church.
Author, speaker, and survivor Lisa Radcliff shared about the importance of the church being a place where sexual abuse survivors can heal. Churches can break the silence by hosting a church information session about abuse and biblical response to it. This can break the ice for survivors so that they feel comfortable sharing their experience in order to get healing
Lisa Radcliff reminded the church planters that trauma is not the event, it’s how a person responds to it. Every survivor will have a different response to the events in their lives. We can minister to survivors by telling them everyday that God is trustworthy. We can tell them that the abuse was NOT their fault! Include survivors in the life of your church. Let them use their spiritual gifts which will not only benefit the church as a whole, but will let the survivor know they are worthy and useful in the eyes of the Lord.
Child Abuse Prevention trainer and missionary Phil Morrison shared the three protective factors of an effective child safety policy: increase accountability, decrease isolation, and create a balance of power. There should be at least two unrelated adults with a child(ren) at all times. Never force a child to give a hug, sit on a lap, or give any type of physical affection. Parents and adults need to believe their children when they tell of abuse. Only 2-5 percent of allegations are false. The younger the child, the more likely the allegation is true.
Our church planters learned a lot from the Training Day and this topic is pertinent for all church ministries. Some churches in the past have not done well in responding to abuse survivors. Christians, we can do better! And through this training we learned specific ways we can affirm God’s love and justice in both ministering to survivors and preventing abuse.
Lisa Radcliff is a writer, speaker, women’s ministry leader,
and author of Hidden with Christ: Breaking Free from
the Grip of Your Past, which reveals her story of
overcoming child sexual abuse. Lisa is a trained facilitator
with Safe Communities in helping churches break the
culture of silence and develop child protection policies.
Lisa teaches CSA Prevention workshops for parents,
MOPS groups, and children’s ministry leaders. In the session Ministering To Survivors Of Abuse, she works through the common effects of child sexual abuse and equips pastors to understand and answer the questions they may encounter from survivors: Where does shame come from? Where was God? Can God use me? Do I have a place in the church? Pastors will be challenged to preach the hard parts of Scripture, train their congregants to come alongside survivors to promote healing, and make their churches “sanctuaries” for survivors.
Dr. Phil Morrison served as a Pastor with the Bible Fellowship Church for fourteen years before going to Kenya in 1992 where he taught at Moffat Bible College, served at Rift Valley Academy and founded the Multi-Church Pastor Institute. In 2014 he joined Africa Inland Mission’s Child Safety Team and did his doctoral dissertation on the topic of Child Sexual Abuse in the Kenyan Church. Presently, he is a Board Member and Trainer with the
Child Safety Protection Network. In Preventing Abuse in the Church, he
discusses various strategies which will help churches to protect the children in their congregation from abuse. In addition, it will look at standards for personnel involved in children’s ministries. You can reach Phil Morrison by email.