A guest post from Marques Rodriguez, a youth ministry coordinator in Eastern Washington. Marques attended the Liberate Conference and brought back some thoughts on ministering to those that are faced with shame.
As liberate kicked off last week I was excited for much but was very intrigued by the session on Grace for the disgraced. Justin Holcomb, author and pastor, went through this with the mindset of re-wiring the way pastors deal with sexual and domestic violence.
The sexual abuse and violence statistics are horrifying. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are victims of these terrible crimes. This means that it is almost certain that no matter what ministry you are leading this issue will arise. There are most likely, even now, people you minister to that this is a very real issue.
When asked, most victims said that a “minister” would be their first choice in seeking help. After seeking help however, when asked who would their top choices be, “minister” fell to last behind others. The church has failed terribly in this area and the one way to correct this is only through the Gospel.
People must know that we do believe them and they must experience the love that Christ has for them. Holcomb said, “people do not need advice or a checklist, they need to hear the Gospel! The same Gospel we need just as much.” We never want to minimize the suffering and the pain that people go through we just want to maximize the Glory of Christ.
As we minister, let’s give the grace that covers and removes all shame.