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Justin and Lindsey Holcomb: How Pastors Can Stay in Their Lanes While Helping Survivors of Abuse

“We actually created a team because I thought, counselor, doctor, spouses, family support, pastor. So I played a role as a pastor and I got to stay in my lane where I could do what I could really do and then work with the therapist and then work with the doctor and be a team. And it actually helped shoulder the burden that we were all shouldering for those survivors.”

“This is something I want every church leader, pastor and Christian to hear: The moment of disclosure, when the person discloses part of their story, is a key moment.”

“The two key things that help people in their healing are being listened to and being believed.”

“Our denomination doesn’t let us meet with someone more than three times about a particular issue before we have to refer. I love that.”

“​​Even people who have a story of harm or abuse don’t necessarily call it that.”

“People who have experienced trauma have an increase in depression, suicidal ideation, post-traumatic stress, alcohol abuse, drug use.”

“Trauma-informed theologians have said there’s something really powerful that the second person of the Trinity takes on human form and experiences trauma on our behalf.”

“As the church leader, you get to influence the culture and the community. Now, it’s a hard thing to really steer the culture, but you can start setting the tone by the way you communicate, the way you talk and and the leaders that you celebrate. So be thoughtful.”

Key Quotes From Lindsey Holcomb

“It is a ministry of long-suffering. There is no quick fix, especially when there’s been decades of abuse.”

“Scripture is essential. Apart from Christ, we have no hope, and we believe hope and healing because of the life and work of Jesus. But a lot of times survivors need someone to walk alongside them and unpack a lot of the myths and misconceptions they’ve been carrying around, a lot of the lies, a lot of the terrible degradation that they have just been shouldering for years or even a month.”

“I believe in creating a safety net of supporters.”

“One way pastors can respond, of course, the first one is always saying, ‘I believe you.’”