The following will be the final feature of 2013 penned by yours truly, Darlene J. Harris.
As author/editor of And He Restoreth My Soul as well as this website are used to reflect how Romans 8:28 works in my life. The anger experienced toward the ones who rape or sexually violate others has not diminished but my weapons to restoration is through these vehicles.
This feature is to challenge and encourage the church leadership to evaluate and/or re-evaluate how they are meeting a ministry opportunity to the victims of sex abuse. Please note; these words were hard to put to paper, never the less, God challenges and I can only try to obey.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions and or comments.
It has been my pleasure to be in your presence during 2013.
The Royal Position Of The Church
Is the church losing their position through failure to minister to the victims of sex abuse?
A ministry designed to address sexual abuse and the aftermath of violence within the Evangelical Christian Community of Churches is rare yet necessary. If the church is to broach this neatly wrapped package labeled sex abuse, the approach will require the pastor/leadership to have a vision about how the church is to respond to the issue of sex abuse and why the church has a role. Helpers’ willingness to see from a different perspective can make the program succeed or fail.
Remember, without a ministry that addresses critical issues such as sexual abuse and educates its members, the Christian community will go on to be haunted daily by the maltreatment of our children, as well as the downfall of the family unit and the loss of our most valuable resource, the ”human spirit.”
This will be a three-point article because of the clarity required for you, the readers, to digest and accept the need to design a ministry addressing the victims of the sexual abuse.
- It will address the burdens of the church pastor, especially in the smaller churches. However, the mega churches may take this opportunity to review the services offered to their congregations in the area of sexual abuse.
- Burdens held in the heart of the victims and how they see and often relive the abuse along with the decisions they make along the way.
- The call of the church and why it has a serious responsibility and role in the healing, as well as the goals the church might want to consider when strategically designing their ministry.
The Love of the Pastor
After reading the first draft of this article I was asked “are you for or against the pastors and what role they play”?
Let me be very clear, I will not follow a pastor who does not follow Christ. However, I will support a pastor as he follows Christ.
We have to admit smaller churches without a pastoral staff are hard pressed to deliver specialized programs although the expectations of them are often the same as pastors who serve in mega churches. They lead a congregation, teach bible study, deliver and teach sermons and they often teach a Sunday School Class.
Most act as administrators even though they have a board of directors, elder board, or church counsel, they still have the responsibility to church business.
Regardless of all the aforementioned responsibilities, somewhere in the midst of their week, they are called on for counseling, to provide care through visiting the sick in their homes, in nursing facilities, as well as hospitals.
Even with the above responsibilities, we cannot ignore the sorrows that come with the calling. Often members of the congregation served by the pastor, throw swords, arrows, and many darts yet the pastor is to stand and care for the entire congregation. They are often awakened during the night either by telephone, or by some troubling issue facing the ministry and the decision could make or break it. They cry and are vulnerable before the Lord on behalf of the flock God has given them. Their congregation is constantly before them as they lead a loveless, stiff-necked people. However, obedience to their calling is what God has asked them to do.
Even with the burdens of their role as pastor, some of our shepherds tend to avoid and/or ignore the issues of abuse and violence that continue to grow out of control and exist in the Christian Home. My questions to these Watchmen are the following:
- Do you find leading loveless people difficult to you personally? If so, can you imagine living in those loveless homes which are often filled with terror?
- Can you imagine spending sleepless nights in “the Christian Home” of the same loveless people you serve?
- Can you imagine going to school after spending a long sleepless night in the Christian Home and be required to meet the expectations of the teachers who beat you down because you went to sleep in their classroom?
- Can you imagine?
At this time we will address the burdens held in the heart of the victims and how they see and often relive the abuse along with the decisions they make along the way. It will address a sample of the different perspectives you may have to consider.
Meeting the Royal Position of the Church~
[Est 4:13-14 NIV] 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
This scripture refers to Esther as queen and the charge/duty she had to her Jewish people. Note; it was all about saving her people from a man who wanted desperately to annihilate the Jews, God’s chosen people. In addition, note, God is not mentioned in this book, however, the denial of God’s involvement would be a grave error. Esther’s position challenged her, yet, as a Jewish woman and a queen put her in a unique position to help her people.
It is this writer’s opinion that the church is in the same royal position as Esther. Answering the call to come to the aid of God’s people, especially those who have been violated sexually and who may still live in the “Christian and Non-Christian Homes alike”. They know if the hurting is left unattended it is much like sentencing a man or woman to death which is what Satan wants to happen!
Types of Sexual Violence:
Sexual violence comes in many forms including
Child Molestation, Marital Rape, Stranger Rape, Syllable Rape, Incest Rape, Gang Rape, Acquaintance Rape, and Same Sex Rape.
The emotional reaction to sexual violence varies but is similar, and the roads each victim travels is often the same but also varies. The following is an example of the walk many take and the experiences they have as they prepare to decide to allow God to use them in ministry to the victims of sex abuse..
The Walk That Will Change Your Heart:
The hurting walk the streets of darkness alone. The paths they walk are the back streets of what is considered life. These streets lead to nowhere. There are no signs that point to any direction. The hurting continue to walk the streets of despair which all lead to dead ends.
They find the church named God He Doesn’t Care with a very high membership because their beliefs change with the wind and soon the foundation caves in and they are lost again.
This is a brief example of where the victims might walk prior to finding their way to victory. Please note; this change is encouraged by your walk with them and God’s timing.
Satan’s stronghold on those sexually abused is real. The Royal Position of the church is unique just as Esther’s position as the Queen and it will not change. The responsibility and responsiveness to the cries of the victims is heard by God and His justice for them is in His church.
The call of the church and why it has a serious responsibility and role in the healing, as well as the goals the church might want to consider when strategically designing their ministry.
Goal of a Ministry to the Sexually Abused:
Education – 40 hour course required by the state
Provide a Safe Haven – where the victim can find people who keep confidentiality and are trustworthy
Networking – within the agencies and churches in the area. A collaborative effort is always a possibility.
Leadership – is able to select a team of people who are willing to take on the delegated responsibilities of the ministry.
In closing, please remember the appointment God kept when He delivered Christ to the cross was for our sins. It was an irreversible act of love. As God chose Christ, He has also appointed the people He needs to serve in a ministry of healing. Remember, the very least we owe is to acknowledge the master’s voice and follow Him. Who knows that we have not come to this place for such a time as this?
New International Version
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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