Since May of 2009, I have now participated in about 300 church safety seminars across the country. I never dreamed that nine years later I would still be engaged in this kind of work. I have driven about 70,000 miles (probably a lot more). My mechanic recently warned me that my 2006 Dodge Ram could no longer endure road trips.
I have been in over 35 states, pleading with churches and their communities to initiate greater safety measures.
It saddens me that our message often falls on deaf ears. Even though thousands of people have attended our Sheepdog Seminars, when all is said and done, much of what we have preached is simply not implemented into the churches.
For example, at every seminar we plead with the attendees to conduct “Women’s Safety Seminars” at least once a year. Put simply, we hope that they will take some time to educate the women on how to stay safe ... and alive.
We don’t want them inviting us to their church to lead such a meeting. Time would never permit us to take on such additional meetings. However, we always point out instructors who reside in the area and who could help in this matter. But seldom – hardly ever – are they solicited for their services. Across the country, I have asked dozens of police departments if churches have contacted them with such concerns. 99% of the time the answer is the same: “No.”
Having five daughters, a daughter-in-law, a wife, and two granddaughters, I feel strongly about the safety of women. Statistics reveal that several women die each day from domestic violence. I once conducted some research that showed about 1000 women are assaulted every day in America. Furthermore, about 6 out of 10 girls will be sexually assaulted before they reach age 18.
This is unacceptable, to say the very least.
And I ask, “Where are the Churches?”
The church – YOUR church – could easily conduct a yearly seminar wherein women are taught situational awareness. The women in your church need more than a Bible study.
THE WOMEN IN YOUR CHUCH NEED MORE THAN A WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY!!
Last July, in New York, a 50-year old woman had just left a Bible study at her church when confronted by a group of thugs. Initially it appeared that they would only rob her, but she soon learned that was not the case. According to the police, “Three of the five men took turns forcing the woman to perform oral sex on them. One of the attackers — a short guy — did run off and return with a condom, the woman recalled…”
I could go on and one with such stories…
A few years ago, there was a knock at my front door. Two teenage girls stood outside my front door. “Can I help you?” I asked. “Yes, would you please consider making a contribution to our youth group?”
I was shocked – and angry.
“Does your minister know you are out doing this?” I asked. “Yes,” they said. “HE SENT US.”
What minister in his right mind would send the youth’s teenage girls out into this world to beg for money on behalf of God? Where is his concern for their physical safety.
Dear church staff: you better heed my words! Many of the women in your congregation have been assaulted - and some have even been raped. Their hearts are broke, their souls in constant pain. It takes strength they barely have to even raise their heads to see where they are walking. They shudder at the thought that someone else might have to endure such a nightmare.
And someone else will.
The violence against women is NOT going to stop.
IT IS NOT GOING TO STOP!
And churches, I would hope, could lead the way in soliciting the services of trainers who can devote some time to helping women stay safe and alive.
One reason sexual assault is not going to stop is the porn issue. About two-thirds of church-going men have an issue with porn, and over half of the ministers in America have viewed porn.
Porn is a “step-drug.” You will not be able to “just look at porn.” Eventually you will grow weary of staring at images of naked women: you will want to see something “live.” It is then that you will make your way to strip clubs and the like. But even that, after a while, will no longer satisfy. It is then that you will do the forbidden: you will engage in an affair. And you may even commit sexual assault.
Think about this, pastor: probably half of the men in your congregation have an issue with porn. Eventually, their problem with porn will manifest into something uglier.
You could help stop this! Yes, you could insist that women be taught situational awareness. There are so many ways you could educate the women in your church.
PLEASE! PLEASE – do something more than conduct a Bible study.
A few years ago, my pastor allowed me to conduct a women’s safety seminar at our church. I even charged admission. I compiled a list of items needed by a local battered women’s ministry (diapers, clothes, detergent, etc.). Their “admission ticket” was an item from the list.
On the night of the seminar, about 400 women showed up. It took 3 trucks to haul away the goods we had collected for the shelter.
I then spent about two hours showing the women how to stay safe and alive. I recall one woman leaving in tears. She was overheard saying, “Oh how I wish I had known these things before I got married.”
Don't allow yourself to think "Well, God will protect our women." Did you know that six Christian women are raped in the Middle East every day? Why is He not protecting them?!
Dear churches: I plead with you to fight for your women. Do something besides just having a Bible study. Take some time to educate them on how to stay safe and alive.
A man in Oklahoma City was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing Nelly Pelts, 26, on Feb. 6, 2010, outside a church. They met at a Wal-Mart in Del City, OK. Nellie struck up a conversation about Religion, and they soon headed over to her church.
According to news reports, the killer told police he “remembered following her to the church parking lot, but blacked out between then and waking up at home covered in blood.” A witness reported seeing the killer and Pelts fighting at the church about 12:50 a.m., and Pelts was trying to run away when he ran her over with his car. Nellie suffered stab wounds earlier in the fight.
This is a heart-breaking story. But the truth is, this tragedy should have never happened! Nellie should have known better than to be alone with a stranger in the middle of the night.
And these are the very subjects that you must address with the women of your church. And do so with someone qualified to help with this. It is time to heed the words of Nehemiah 4:14 – “Fight for your wives, your daughters…”
(Join us this Saturday, April 21, in Nashville for a Sheepdog Seminar. The following week, on April 30, we will be in Jonesboro, Arkansas. All info on this website.