Recommended Resources 3

I really appreciate the ministry of Steven and Celestia Tracy. Mending the Soul, exists to “equip communities worldwide to offer an educated, compassionate response to abuse and other forms of trauma so that all experience wholeness.” The website contains helpful articles, links, and resources that your pastor may find beneficial. Mending the soul also offers a variety of curriculum options that your church may wish to evaluate and possibly use in victim care ministry.

Most pastors I know love free resources, and Our Daily Bread has been faithfully offering resources at no cost and no obligation for decades. While most pastors are familiar with the Our Daily Bread Devotionals some may not be aware that ODB offers similar resources covering a variety of topics important to pastors. In the area of abuse and the church’s response ODB have some exceptional booklets through the Discovery Series. Here are the links to the free e-books.

  1. When Violence Comes Home
  2. When Words Hurt
  3. When Power is Misused
  4. God’s Protection of Women

Hope you find these helpful and praying for your pastor. -Peace

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Partnerships and Productive Ministry

Last night I attended an event for one of my favorite organizations, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes. FCA has been a significant part of my family’s life for many years and we’re grateful for it’s ministry to students and coaches. During the event I ran into a friend who I’ve served alongside in domestic violence intervention, specifically in the department of corrections. It was great to catch up and even do a little staffing regarding some resources and needs we have in the work. This encounter reminded me of how important networks and partnerships can be for pastors, especially when attempting to minister to those impacted by domestic violence.

With that said I thought I’d share a video I recorded for a coaching group I’m conducting with my friend Leslie Vernick. This short video includes some thoughts about partnering with local service providers and was part of the bonus features of EQUIP.

Can you think of other partnerships available to pastors and ministry leaders? If you’re interested in being a part of the EQUIP coaching group click here


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Resource Recommendation 2

I know, I’m already behind on the blog. I am working on an interview project with some pastor friends who are changing the climate and approach to abuse in their churches. This is taking a little longer than I thought. Anyway, it should be fun. In the meantime here is part two in the recommendations series and I’ll post a video later in the week.

I love pastors, and the work they do is incredibly difficult. Because most pastors have little or no experience with abuse and violence I’m going to attempt and update the blog every week with a couple resources that I have found beneficial in my journey. I’m asking you to consider these recommendations as possible resources for your pastor’s growth. No resource is perfect and not all will speak effectively to your pastor’s need but I’m hopeful something will be beneficial. Let me know what you think?

This week I’ll highlight two resources that I regularly recommend.

  1. Focus Ministries: offers a wealth of resources designed to help the victim, and equip the church or ministry leader in understanding and responding to abuse. I routinely offer the Focus “Safety Plan” as rubric for churches developing resources and systems. It’s worth the time to look through the tools and resources they offer.
  2. Fooled by False Leadership: A sermon by Jason Meyer, Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. I’m not as entrenched in the same circles as most of my pastor friends. Most of them would generally classify themselves as reformed and for many of them Bethlehem Baptist Church carries a lot of weight. That is why I was thrilled to hear this message from Pastor Jason and have used it as a bridge to build discussion on the topic of abuse with them. Since then I’ve come to know Jason I can say I believe he is one who has genuine concern and passion to grow in understanding and to help his church grow in competence when ministering to victims and abusers. You can find this sermon here

Well, there are two more suggestions. Let me know what you think. Would your pastor benefit from either of these resources. -Peace

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Resource Recommendation

I’m going to try something new starting today. Many of you have requested resources for your pastors and ministry leaders. Years ago when I first began working in intervention and prevention I was amazed at how little I knew about domestic violence and even more so regarding how to help. Steven Tracy says that intimate partner violence is the most misunderstood and mismanaged issue in the church. Much of that misunderstanding and mismanagement comes from a lack of exposure, experience, and education. Pastors are not trained in the dynamics and impact of domestic violence and face a steep learning curve. Resources that speak to pastors and attempt to work with them in ministry are essential to seeing growth in this area. God has graciously allowed me to be connected with wonderful Christian leaders committed to reducing abuse in the church and to helpful resources that have encouraged and equipped me over the years. Each week I’ll recommend a couple resources that I’ve benefited from over the years. I’m asking you to consider these recommendations as possible resources for your pastor’s growth. No resource is perfect and not all will speak effectively to your pastor’s need but I’m hopeful something will be beneficial. Let me know what you think?

This week I’ll highlight two resources that I found early on in my work with perpetrators.

  1. The Rave Project: RAVE stands for Religion and Violence E-learning and is a collaborative work lead by Dr. Nancy Nason-Clark. This website has a ton of resources and can be a bit overwhelming. While I have benefited from nearly every section of the site I found the section titled “clergy resources” and the tab titled “online training” to be extremely helpful as I began my research.
  2. When Love Hurts by Our Daily Bread Ministries: While some may view this Day of Discovery Video series as incomplete or offer suggestions regarding how it could be better, I found it very helpful as a novice pastor trying to learn more. Not to mention that Our Daily Bread has been a trusted resource for many pastors over the years, ODB resources may have instant credibility with your pastor and therefore open the door for conversations.

Well, there are two suggestions. Let me know what you think. Would your pastor benefit from either of these resources. -Peace

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The Trouble with Victims

A recent post from my new friend Joy. By God’s grace, Joy has a tremendous story to tell and wisdom to give. What do you all think?
“In the years since I transitioned from victim to victor, I have many opportunities to work with other victims. I have seen some apply themselves to the truths of God’s Word, and basically blossom before my very eyes.”

I lived over twenty five years my life as a victim. From the time I was 14 until I was nearly 40 I was involved in an abusive relationship, and breaking free was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. During those tumultuous years, I lost nearly everything I owned and barely escaped with my life and my two girls. In the years that followed, I faced great financial loss, angry children, and continued threats on my life. I had nightmares, and found myself freaking out at things that had nothing to do with me. When I heard people around me complain about everyday struggles I wanted to laugh in their faces and say, “Are you kidding me?! That’s nothing!” I wanted the world to know that I had been wronged, and somehow come and make it right.

The odd thing is the more I complained, the less people wanted to…

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The James 3 Filter

It’s great to be back on the blog. I really appreciate the feedback and I am working on some future posts to answer your questions and share some resources for pastors. Today, let’s look at a brief passage that I have used in training pastors and elders.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:13-16

James chapter three is an excellent filter for evaluating behavior, and motives, as well as, the origin of abuse by contrasting them with humility and wisdom. While it is impossible to be exhaustive in the simple blog post, notice the detailed contrast between the two ways of living in these three verses.

The wise and understanding man will be known by his good life. That lifestyle will be recognized through good works marked by a humble attitude. According to James this first man is easily identifiable through his humble heart, wise choices, and exceptional life. By contrast the second man is known by the disorder (confusion/misdirection) that accompany him, as well as, the evil he practices (actions). James informs his readers that this fruit of disorder and evil are the results of pride (selfish ambition), entitlement (envy), and anger (bitterness) which are by their very nature unspiritual, and demonic.

One Observation:

Often times pastors struggle with identifying the heart of abuse if they do not see the direct/physical, evidence. Obviously James chapter three calls attention to “the evil he practices” as a means of identification but James also cites disorder as a mark of the demonic and unspiritual man.

It is hard to deny that this man’s behaviors mirror that of disorder or evil practice. It is also true that the man in our story is driven by selfish ambition. As we inquire further as to what he wanted his language is filled with selfish answers.

  1. “I wanted her to pay!”
  2. “I wanted her to respect me.”
  3. “I wanted her family to butt out.”
  4. “I wanted her to listen.”
  5. “I wanted her to shut up.”

Again this man uses a variety of tactics to “get his way.” David Powlison states this point well when he speaks of violent men. He says, “Violent people play god and so act like the devil rather than serve God. They must repent of these vertical sins that fuel the horizontal sins. Both the motives and behaviors of hostility must be laid bare.”[1] As we question him we find that it is becoming clearer that this man has more going on than explosive anger, or loving his unborn child too much. In fact it appears that he is concerned with getting what he wants and having things go his way. If Dr. Powlison is correct and this man is in fact playing God he faces a great deal more discomfort than sitting and talking with a Biblical counselor.[2] Again that is why true repentance is so important.

Final Thought

What do you think? Does James 3:13-16 accurately describe your experience with a destructive spouse? Do you see yourself or your own behavior in James 3:13-16? Should pastors and ministry leaders freely equate abusive behavior with the “demonic?”

[1] Powlsin, Tripp, Welch: Domestic Abuse How to Help. Phillpsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2002.

[2] Isaiah 14:12-15

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New Book, New Opportunities, Same Old Insecurities

Where has the time gone?

A couple of years ago while speaking at the Faith Biblical Counseling Training Conference on the topic of domestic violence I quipped at the lack of Christian books addressing domestic violence, stating that I owned them all. A voice from the back of the room bellowed, “You should write one!” I quickly responded, “You should publish one.” I have had several friends encourage me to write over the years but frankly, in my mind, I was already punching above my weight class as it were. The pastor of a small church, in a small town, in a small state I was blessed to be given any platform to raise awareness, and while I had actually attempted to submit book proposals the previous year I was becoming convinced that writing may be out of reach. I started blogging in 2014 as an outlet, giving voice to some thoughts and concerns. I thought a few friends might read it and I could practice my skill as a writer by making my thoughts concise, limiting myself to 500-700 words. It was fun, and a great deal more challenging than I thought. In fact the blog became a faith stretching experience for me as it exposed my own insecurities and fears of failure. The process itself was healthy for me and with a growing confidence, and continued encouragement, I submitted one more book proposal.

The fall of 2014 I received word from a publisher who was interested in my work. I quickly began to send whatever I could to her and within a few weeks we had reached an agreement and I began to write. The added stress and the time required to write the manuscript meant that something in my schedule had to give, and the blog was put on hold. I appreciate each of you who have reached out to me over the past year out of concern and to those who have patiently waited as I finish the book. With that said I am pleased to announce that my first book, “The Heart of Domestic Abuse; Gospel Solutions for Men who Use Control and Violence in the Home” has been released. Currently, this book is available through my publisher at

Growing Partnership with Leslie Vernick

Many of you may be aware of my friendship with Leslie Vernick, author of The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. Leslie and I recently co-lead a seminar at the AACC World conference entitled “Counseling Strategies for the Emotionally Destructive Person.” The seminar was a success as hundreds of people helpers personally attended and many recordings were purchased from the conference bookstore. Leslie and I are committed to continuing this work through a unique mentoring program we’ve established called EQUIP. EQUIP is an on-line support community of Christ-centered people helpers who desire to receive monthly mentoring and case consultation, sharpen their skill set with professional expertise, and be connected with others who share common goals for sharpening and support. If you’re interested in being a part of EQUIP you can find more information here

Final Thought

What about the blog? The new opportunities are exciting but the same old fears still nag at my soul. Will I start posting again? I think I will, but I need your help. God has been so good to allow me to speak and write in this space and I truly want to honor Him with my words. So, what would you like to discuss? What topics would benefit you as a reader? How can I use this space to benefit the Church?

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