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Counseling Leaders, Caring for the Congregation Philip G. Monroe, PsyD Biblical Seminary

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Presentation on theme: "Counseling Leaders, Caring for the Congregation Philip G. Monroe, PsyD Biblical Seminary"— Presentation transcript:

1 Counseling Leaders, Caring for the Congregation Philip G. Monroe, PsyD Biblical Seminary

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3  It is always  A crisis  A temptation for impulsivity  An opportunity for God to be honored and the community to grow

4  Personal and systemic hurdles hindering just and healing responses  Consultation practices for guides seeking to move leaders/organizations  Components of effective abuse prevention and response plans

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6  If EVERYONE is against child abuse… Why do so many fail to respond well?

7  Knowledge  Denial  Deception/winsomeness of perpetrator  Doubt (self/other)  Self-protection

8  Groupthink, too many cooks  Misguided beliefs  Wrong values  System protection

9  Telling half-truthes  Silencing voices  Sharing the blame  Getting past the abuse  Ignoring system review  Special treatment for beloved leaders

10  Guides who possess  Minimum competencies  Awareness of ethical challenges  Consultant skills and capacities

11 1. Willing to wade into messy situations  Willing to lose relationships over it 2. Love for church/leaders  Even while goal is protecting victims 3. Knowledgeable about abuse  Impact, area services, offender habits,  Healing/recovery trajectories

12  Langberg, D. On the Threshold of Hope  Salter, A. Predators: Pedophiles, rapists, and…  Schmutzer, A. The Long Journey Home

13 4. Basic listening/helping skills  Listening  Validating, building trust  Assessing need/readiness for change  Casting vision, clarifying steps  Speaking truth to power…in love

14  Mandating reporting?  Informed consent  Managing multiple relationships

15  Guides vs. expert?  What role will you play? Do you know who is your customer?  Key skills  Strength identification  Identifying Opportunities and threats  Focusing  Knowing limits  Avoiding common mistakes

16  Set guiding values  Educate  Develop prevention and response policies  Launch ministry teams

17 Educate Abuse/impact Abusers Deter with Policy Allegations Prevention Assessment Train and Respond Victim/family Offender/family Community

18  Protection of the least of these!  Mercy ministry  Mercy ≠ no consequences!

19  Love and truth?  Purity?  Redemption?  Healing? Restoration? (To what?)  Engagement with non-church experts?  Fairness?  Is there a danger to this?

20 Educate Abuse/impact Abusers Deter with Policy Allegations Prevention Assessment Train and Respond Victim/family Offender/family Community

21  Biblical mandate for child protection  And engagement of governmental institutions  Trauma and abuse; offending  Victim and offender needs/reactions

22  Start with Scripture  True Religion: James 1:27  Mandate to submit to government: Ro 13; 1 Pet 2  Note: more than just to avoid the millstone!

23  Develop a theology of oppression to explain impact of trauma  5 facets of oppression (the opposite of love) ▪ Abuse of power ▪ Deception and false teaching ▪ Failure to lead ▪ Objectification ▪ Forced false worship  Failure to love violates the imago dei and the Trinity? From “The nature of Evil in CSA: Theological considerations of oppression and its consequences” in Schmutzer, A (ed.) The Long Journey Home: Wipf & Stock.

24 Human beings reflect the character and essence of God most fully when they relate to each other as fellow members of a covenant community…

25 So…If personal identity forms through interwoven relationships with other members and with God then evil done by one community member against another violates the true picture of communion as expressed in the Trinity. Monroe, in Schmutzer (ed.), The Long Journey Home (ch. 13)

26  Incidence of abuse  75x more likely than pediatric cancer  40% of pre-teens have been solicited on-line  30% women abused before age 18  15% men abuse before age 18

27  Acknowledge lasting impact on individuals  Relational anxiety  Physiological alterations  Spiritual confusion  Identify community helps:  Safe, hope-filled, boundaried relationships that enable ▪ Victim to be heard ▪ To have dominion

28  Develop a larger view of healing  What constitutes healing?  How do we participate in God’s healing? ▪ Support? Mercy? Prayer? Listen? Play?  Remember: some healing is immediate, other healing grows day by day

29  Offending behavior  Why it finds a home in the church  How predators tend to act ▪ Who they choose ▪ How they use religion and faith as a cover ▪ How they respond when accused  Mandate to report  Biblical and legal

30  Explore ancillary themes: forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, restitution, etc.  What is the rush? ▪ Why forgiveness now? ▪ Point in time? Attitude? ▪ Why reconciliation now? What bothers us most about brokenness?  What does repentance look like? ▪ What about restitution?

31  Get to know your local law enforcement, child protection advocates, prosecutors, counselors  Treat them as teachers and supporters, not enemies!  Learn from other Christian groups

32  Consider your own propensity for sin  It isn’t just other people who are vulnerable  Choose to live in the light with fellow sinners

33 Educate Abuse/impact Abusers Deter with Policy Allegations Prevention Assessment Train and Respond Victim/family Offender/family Community

34  Background checks and beyond  Childcare/Teen ministry regulations  Risk reduction (e.g., limiting contact)  Family training

35  Who is in charge? Who manages details? Who knows the details?  What will happen once abuse is known?  Reporting? Assessing? Communications? Ministry supervision?  Special case for leader abuse? Do not make decisions in large-group settings!

36 Abuse Allegation Gather Data Set Guiding Goals Employment Decisions Suspend Terminate Congregational Communications Sample procedure for clergy sexual abuse case = Report if appropriate = offer spiritual support

37 Educate Abuse/impact Abusers Deter with Policy Allegations Prevention Assessment Train and Respond Victim/family Offender/family Community

38  Victims  Spiritual needs of victims and family members  Ongoing legal/civil stressors  Offenders  Ongoing legal/civil/employment stressors  Motivations of offender/family; Stated goals?  Transparency? Caught? Confessed?

39  Stabilize  Address safety matters  Prioritize the victim’s connection to worship  Determine leadership oversight (don’t forget gender issues)  Speak to attempts to lay partial blame on victim  Support  Form small group of “listeners” who can support victim’s voice and therapy

40  Commitment focus  Focus on big picture motivations and main truths  Encourage action while pressure is on  Validate small signs of repentance  Support  Provide ongoing safe place for spiritual care for offender and family

41 Intervention Planning Determine key constituents to help Choose & train SCTs Develop SCT goals & objectives SCT time with key others SCT time together Use of outside consultants for groups or members Sample procedure for spiritual care teams

42  Purpose of team  Support, assistance, worship, comfort, rebuke (where appropriate)  Hope building  Accountability  Consultant’s role  Train and educate SCT (content & practice)  Troubleshoot problems; maintain commitment

43  Leaders want answers and solutions  Be wary of people pleasing  Leaders rarely take account of insults to their own faith  Be wary of leader loss of hope  Leaders may focus on immediate players  Be wary of ignoring the rest of the congregation

44  False or partial repentance  Blaming/defensiveness  Pressure for mechanical restoration  Calls for fairness  Power struggles  Devaluing the grace of restriction

45  Watch out for  Loneliness  Bitterness  Remember who and why you serve  Remember your own need for holiness  Restore gently…repent boldly

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