Beyond Sunday Morning: From Project to Ministry

Dr. Betty M. Green, Hiram Christian Church, Hiram, OH, participated in the NBA Incubate Social Entrepreneur Cohort at the 2015 Hope Partnership Leadership Academy.

Beyond Sunday Morning Ministry seeks to educate and sensitize faith communities to the needs of women who have suffered abuse. The ministry reaches out to women who have been victims, by supporting them in dealing with this tragedy in their lives.

Pastoral care is the main component of the Beyond Sunday Morning Ministry. Clergy and other church leaders are considered first responders when church members experience tragedies in their lives. Learning to practice good pastoral care skills, such as providing calming, nonjudgmental presence and support, are essential; it impacts a person’s ability to move from victim to survivor. This also means having resources in place for safety and appropriate referral for counseling and health concerns, when needed.

Domestic violence (also known as intimate partner violence) is one type of abuse that women must contend with. The consequences of domestic violence is manifest in the lives of victims in multiple ways. Consequences can be experienced physically and emotionally. Victims of abuse face life-changing issues and circumstances. Other consequences may include financial problems and homelessness. In order to survive, a woman must learn to come to terms with her abuse, as it will always be a part of who she is. This is a social justice issue, which keeps women on the margins of society.

The seeds for this ministry were planted as I began doing research for my doctoral studies project. The statistical data collected informed me that this was a concern of overwhelming proportion. My passion for this ministry grew as I realized how profoundly abuse impacts the lives of women. It is a common thread in the lives of many women. The NBA Incubate Initiative gave me the opportunity to attend the Hope Partnership Leadership Academy, which provided me with the resources to turn a project into a ministry.

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This blog is part of a series of reflections highlighting the ministries of the NBA Incubate Initiative. The NBA incubates new ministries, supporting social entrepreneurs of faith who are serving their communities in a variety of innovative ways and empowering these Disciples-led health and social service projects to focus on growth, impact, and sustainability. Contact Rev. Ayanna Johnson Watkins, Director of the NBA Incubate Initiative, to learn more.