Caring for Survivors of Sexual Abuse: Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin
How is your church ministering to children in your congregation who have experienced sexual abuse? Jesus told us that whoever received a child in his name received him (Matt. 18:5). Is this the guiding principle that informs how your congregation cares for its most vulnerable members? Is your church armed with compassion and a care plan for these survivors, or are you somehow communicating insignificance to them?
Basyle Tchividjian and Justin Holcomb address the heartbreaking reality that the marginalization of child sexual abuse victims is all too common in the Christian community. They outline specific ways churches have tragically diminished the seriousness of abuse and caused further distress to survivors. Tchividjian and Holcomb skillfully advocate for ways Jesus calls his church to love and serve the wounded among them, so that congregations no longer consign survivors to suffer in silence.
Basyle (Boz) Tchividjian is a former child-abuse prosecutor who currently teaches "Child Abuse and the Law" and several other courses at Liberty University School of Law. Professor Tchividjian is also the founder and executive director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), a nonprofit organization made up of highly trained, experienced multidisciplinary professionals who seek to educate and empower the Christian community to identify, confront, and respond to the sin of child abuse. The third eldest grandchild of Reverend Billy Graham, he wrote the book Invitation: Billy Graham and the Lives God Touched and is the editor of The ChildSafeguarding Policy Guide for Churches and Ministries.
Justin Holcomb, PhD, is a minister and professor of theology and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He has authored many books, including coauthoring with his wife, Lindsey, Is It My Fault?, Rid of My Disgrace, and God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies. He also serves on the boards for REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment).