Education and teaching

Churches must be intentional in creating environments where respectful, God-honouring relationships are fostered. We live in a culture that overloads us with information regarding the nature of relationships. If churches are unwilling to talk about healthy relationships, consent, and respect, individuals will certainly receive their education elsewhere.

Our culture perpetuates its fair share of unhealthy myths around the role of men, women, sexuality, and abuse. It is important for our churches to talk about sexuality and healthy relationships in ways that empower individuals to live out kindness and respect and that celebrate the gift of sexuality.

Education on these topics ought to start young and is important to for all ages. Below are a list of age appropriate topics to cover and resources that can be used. While some of these resources are written for school or university settings, much of the content can be adapted for a church setting. If you know of a resource that would be a good addition to this list, please contact us.

Children ( age 6-12)

  • Healthy boundaries and bodily autonomy
  • Assertiveness
  • Honoring ourselves and one another
  • Internet safety and media messaging

Circle of Grace
Body and Soul
Respectful Futures Facilitation Guide
Talking to Kids About Sexual Violence

Youth ( 13-18)

  • Media messaging and gender stereotypes
  • Internet safety
  • Dating violence and healthy relationships
  • Sexual harassment, bullying and what we can do
  • Toxic vs healthy masculinity

Created by God: Tweens, faith, and human sexuality
Body and Soul
Nurturing Healthy Sexuality at Home
Drawing The Line: Educator’s guide
The Mask You Live In: film
Healthy Relationships Educator’s Toolkit
Coaching Healthy and Respectful Manhood: Educator’s guide

Adults

  • Sexual violence awareness and how to respond
  • Understanding intimate-partner abuse
  • Healthy relationships
  • Healthy boundaries in life and in the church
  • Toxic vs. healthy masculinity

Bible Study Resources on Abuse – Carol Penner
Bruised Reed and Smoldering Wick – A six week study of trauma-informed ministry and compassionate care for children from hard places and situations
Spotlight: Film discussion guide

For leaders

Broken Silence 2.0: Pastor’s attitudes and actions around domestic and sexual violence in the #metoo era
What does it mean for a ministry to be ‘trauma-informed’?: Chaplain Chris Haughee
Institute for Congregational Growth and Trauma: Guidelines for becoming a trauma-informed congregation
Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth

Bible Studies

Another way to engage your community on topics related to abuse and have critical conversations is through studying the Bible. There are multiple stories of violence against women in the bible that can provoke reflection and discussion by examining what do these stories evoke in us? What questions emerge? What are the similarities and differences between our societies? How was power misused in the story?

Click here for a comprehensive resource written by Carol Penner on leading bible studies on the stories of Hagaar, Jephthah’s daughter, Tamar, and the Unnamed Woman, as well as  for Biblical Discussion Starters on Abuse

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