The Role of the Church:
Did you know that 1 out of every 3 girls and 1 out of every 5 boys will experience some form of abuse by age 18? This is why we hope one day every church will have a Survivor Support Ministry-- to provide support and HOPE for those who have been affected by abuse, including sexual exploitation. At the core is the breakdown of the family with many children having experienced one or more of the following traumas:
- Single or divorced parents (which could have significant adverse effects on children leading to the feelings of abandonment)
- Addicted or absent parents
- Foster care
- Emotionally detached hurting parents in denial
- Physical abuse, Emotional abuse, Sexual abuse, Spiritual abuse (from unhealed and untrained Christians.)
These core root issues of hurt, abuse, and trauma are manifesting in every church and community. If we want to be effective for a lasting Jesus transformation, we have to be adequately equipped and WILLING to invest relationally. This can be sacrificial and very messy because building trusted relationships and helping people heal takes time, but in the process they experience God's unconditional love and many are led to Jesus.
SURVIVOR SUPPORT MINISTRY? Depending on the church's vision, structure, and mission, implementing a Survivor Support Ministry is an effective way to help people heal. If there is a healthy dedicated team leader ready to start the ministry with a few others with the same passion, here are the roles for a Survivor Support Ministry:
Prayer team: Prayer is a vital component of the survivor support ministry.
Resource team: Organizing resource drives and collecting donations.
Advocate: Assisting with connecting survivors to community partner resources
Mending the Soul Facilitator: Lead or Co-lead a MTS small group
Mentor a survivor: Walking alongside a trauma survivor through their healing journey
Mentor a mentor: Prayer partner and support to a mentor working with survivors.
Discipleship: Help a mentee grow spiritually (when ready).
Admin support: Computer work and communication to the team, church, community partners
The Mentor Support Collaborative provides the training, tools, and materials for establishing a sustainable Survivor Support Ministry. By the end of the training, mentors will have done their own work of healing, be adequately trained on trauma and trauma informed care, the role of community partners, survivor resources, and know how to develop both a survivor and mentor support team to sustain a healthy survivor support ministry.
If a church decides it's not ready for establishing a Survivor Support Ministry, we recommend starting with a prayer team and offering Mending the Soul small groups. Trained participants will also be able to work in other fields as advocates for survivors.
If desired, the MSC team will help establish a Survivor Support Ministry. If you are considering this option, here are a few questions:
- Do you or another ministry leader have a personal passion and desire to get involved in anti-trafficking efforts or help those healing from abuse, sexual exploitation and other forms of trauma??
- Has your church or organization hosted an awareness events or familiar with sexual exploitation?
- Do you have a committed team in place that can attend all of the required training, including the Mending the Soul 12 week small group?
If you answered yes to ALL of these questions, yay!! Register for the 2018 MSC training.
If you answered NO to one or more of the above, here are questions to consider and next steps to prepare for the 2018 MSC training:
- Do you believe this is God's calling and the right timing for your church or organization? This is a sacrificial ministry and God's timing is key.
- Do you have a team with the same passion and desire to help develop this ministry?
- Is it part of your church or organization's mission to reach the hurting, oppressed and sexually exploited in your community?
- Is your staff ok openly discussing sex, pornography, sexual abuse and addiction?
- Have you talked with the staff to express your desire to help the abused, oppressed, exploited, and others with complex trauma?
If YES is the answer to all the above questions, here are some possible Next Steps:
- Consider starting a prayer group to confirm how God may want your church or organization to get involved.
- Organize an information meeting or awareness event. Invite others from the church and community. The Mentor Support Collaborative can recommend speakers for a presentation on sexual exploitation.
- Begin Mending the Soul small groups with healthy trained facilitators.
- Offer to host a resource drive to support survivors.
- Attend the 2018 MSC Training Informational Meeting on Tuesday, January 16th at City Bible Church.
“We have way too many excuses to keep us from trying to heal. It’s way too easy to avoid it, but once you start, you really can’t stop!”
— Andrea, Trafficking Survivor