Voices Break Silence.

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What Happened to the Help[H]er Book?

One question we often get from followers of this ministry is, “what happened to the Help[H]er book?” Sometimes, a pastor will have read the book I co-authored with a previous pastor and want to pass it on to their church leadership for the purpose of implementing such a ministry. Sometimes, a woman wants her pastor to read it for the same reason. When I wrote the book five years ago, I was fully on board with the concept. Who wouldn’t be in the male-led denominations our female audience represents? After so many years of being told what we can’t do (preach, have authority over men, use our leadership gifts for the whole church), Help[H]er represented an opportunity for women in male-led denominations to fully participate in the life of the church as vibrant, gifted members (Eph. 4:16). An HH ministry (seemingly) provided space for women to both care and be cared for in meaningful ways.

The problem is, that concept was flawed.

When the blinders were lifted from my eyes, I asked that my name be removed as an author of the book. There are actually multiple reasons I’m now disconnected. That’s a story(s) for another day. For our purposes here, I want to help those who look to us for wisdom understand what the problems are inherent in the (previous) HH concept. There are several thought processes in establishing an HH type of ministry that, if implemented, will result in a woman’s harm—both the woman in need AND the woman helping. So, my goal will be to help identify them. I will then articulate a type of ministry that will likely be more helpful for those who are interested in caring for women in need.

Safety is a primary goal for our ministry. Whether we work with a church and help them care for a woman, work with the woman when a church is not caring for her well, or help a woman navigate a dangerous relationship, or motto is, “safety first.” One of the things that sets licensed counselors apart from discipleship care or pastoral care is that they are 100% committed to “do no harm.” So, for HH to comprehensively care for women in crisis situations we are committed to that same goal (despite being a ministry that comes alongside a church, which may or may not have a similar objective). Consequently, providing comprehensive knowledge so women can make safe, informed choices is key. If you, as an individual or a church, are considering implementing a caregiving ministry in the local context, you might want to know the fault lines found in the previous HH model.

Over a series of weekly (I hope!) posts, I’ll be articulating what’s important to know about a woman-to-woman caregiving ministry that is safe for informants, victims, and survivors, rightly focused, and life-giving for those who provide care. For today, let me leave you with this question.

Who, or what, is a woman?

Talk amongst yourselves…

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Looking Forward
  • Swag Shop of branded goodies
  • Festival of Remembrance journal
  • Theology of Story II course
  • Remember Bible Study
  • Documenting resource for counselors