There are four major areas the Christian community can begin to address the issue of domestic violence. The first and a must is to educate themselves about DV. Begin with the leadership (pastors, elders, deacons, deaconesses, etc.). Filter the education down to women’s ministry, counselors, leaders of children’s ministry, small groups, Sunday School, recovery groups, youth groups, and eventually the entire congregation.
Once education is in place, the next step is awareness. This indicates that the church is a safe place to tell the secret.
Sermons about domestic violence and abusive relationships need to be preached from the pulpit. Disclaimers when speaking of relationships, submission, and headship should be added to sermons to indicate that abusive situations should not be tolerated and offer proper responses.
Brochures, flyers, and general information should be on display in various areas of the church especially in the women’s restroom.
Testimonies from survivors during service can be helpful to those who are silently sitting in the pews.
Books, CD’s, and DVD’s on DV in the church library is essential.
The next two areas of intervention are more involved and messy. Advocacy and support for the victim and the perpetrator through the use of a DV contact person(s) to assist the victim, safety planning, referral list for housing, shelter, counselors, and other resources, development of support groups for victims, accountability for the perpetrator, and so much more.
Are we going to be like the Samaritan who stopped and ministered to the wounded man along the road or are we going to walk on by like the Priest and Levite?
Let’s get our hands messy. There are lives at stake!
Paula Silva © 2010 FOCUS Ministries, Inc.