I’ve spent years looking for resources for church leaders involved in care ministries that addressed trauma, abuse, and mental illness. But unfortunately, the silence on these topics was almost deafening.
You may have experienced the same difficulty. One of these issues may have caused substantial emotional or spiritual harm to someone in your close circle of friends or coworkers, maybe even you. Where do you begin to look for answers for these concerns?
Let me introduce you to thirteen unique voices that have influenced how I approach these challenges. These men and women, in my opinion, are excellent resources for church leaders, caregivers, and trauma sufferers.
RESOURCES FOR CHURCH LEADERS: A REQUEST AS WE BEGIN
I’ve included both male and female authors/speakers on this list. If you are a guy, I strongly advise you to read a woman’s perspective, and if you are a woman, I highly urge you to read a male’s point of view.
Both sexes can benefit from a shared perspective.
Inclusion on this list does not mean that I agree with every opinion expressed or an endorsement of the respective ministry unless expressly stated.
I hope to learn from others, even if I do not agree with every conclusion they make. I hope you will afford me the same consideration as you read this blog.
RESOURCES FOR CHURCH LEADERS: FEMALE VOICES
Diane Langberg is considered one of the leading experts on sexual abuse/assault based on her experiences in Rwanda and her many years of listening to her patients. She is the author of Suffering And The Heart Of God, the definitive work on sexual abuse.
Her latest book, Redeeming Power Understanding Authority And Abuse In The Church, calls for us to examine the misuse of power in the local church. It was my great joy to meet her at a conference on abuse.
Mary Demuth was one of the first writers I ever encountered to discuss the life-long personal impact of sexual assault and abuse on an individual. Her book, Not Marked: Finding Hope And Healing After Sexual Abuse, is raw and authentic; but extends hope on every page.
Rachael Denhollander is an attorney, author, and advocate for sexual abuse survivors. She was the first woman to pursue criminal charges and speak out publicly against Larry Nassar, The USA Gymnastics Team doctor.
Beth Moore is the founder of Living Proof Ministries, a prolific author, and a courageous advocate for survivors of sexual abuse.
Annette Oltmans is the author of The Mend Project. She is a researcher who helps identify and clarify behaviors that occur when covert abuse is present. Her account of how a victim experiences double trauma when their initial abuse report is disbelieved is startling and has wide application for those who listen to trauma survivors.
RESOURCES FOR CHURCH LEADERS: MALE VOICES
Curt Thompson is a medical doctor and The Soul of Shame author. The author dives deeply into the neurological and theological implication of shame; I’ve given away multiple copies of this book!
Jay Stringer is the author of Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing. This multi-year study of over 3,800 men and women revealed that unwanted sexual habits are not random. Instead, the elements of our past that are unresolved mold and anticipate this brokenness. Stringer contends that if you wish to find freedom, you must first understand the specific factors that led to the behavior.
David Dunham is the author of Addictive Habits: Changing for Good, a 30 day devotional for understanding and overcoming addiction. I’ve written previously about this book in this article on habits.
Brad Hambrick is the Pastor of Counseling at the Summit Church. He served as the general editor for Becoming A Church that Cares Well for the Abused project. This book is available as a free digital download at ChurchCares.com. In addition, Brad is a great curator of content on brokenness.
Edward T. Welch, M. Div., Ph.D., is a counselor, educator, and author of multiple books. In addition, he is a prolific writer on the subject of brokenness. My personal favorite is Shame Interrupted which is written directly to the reader in a very conversational style. One of my favorite books on shame.
Dr. Dan Allender is a pioneer in trauma and abuse therapy. A prolific author who has courageously helped individuals connect the gospel story with the trauma and abuse that they have experienced. My first encounter with anything written about child abuse and pedophilia was The Wounded Heart. Healing the Wounded Heart and the workbook helped me process my wounds and regain control of my story.
Andrew Schumtzer is one of the co-authors of Naming Our Abuse: God’s Pathway to Healing for Male Sexual Abuse Survivors. This book is the only resource I have found that puts into words the doubts, fears, and concerns that male abuse survivors experience while offering hope and strategies to navigate the wounds. If you know a male sexual abuse survivor, this is the book you should recommend.
Russell Moore is the Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project. He is one of the earliest and most consistent male voices I discovered who challenged institutions to acknowledge how they have harmed victims by covering up abuse and advocating for processes that will help prevent abuses in the future.
These are the 13 unique voices that I recommend as resources for church leaders, caregivers, and trauma sufferers.
Why not take the time to explore these resources today?
Many of these individuals have video presentations freely available on YouTube and other similar sites if you are averse to reading.
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My mission is to help individuals and churches become safe havens for the broken.