A map isn’t really all that helpful if you can’t read it, right? For this reason, when working with a client, we start with a presentation of basic terminology, research, and personal testimony.
Step 1: Basic terminology
Basic terminology is laid as the foundation primarily because without it, most people would be lost before we even get started. It’s important that before we start having these conversations, people are aware of what we’re talking about. Culture does a fantastic job of introducing new language, but a horrible job of defining it. It’s inevitable that the ignorance leads to anger on both sides, especially when the language is so deeply personal.
Step 2: Research
Research is next because, let’s face it, the numbers matter. The research gives us a chance to take a bird’s eye view of the landscape below. We don’t move toward a problem until we know we have to. I’d rather help ministries before they become the villain in someone’s trauma. It’s unfortunate, but helpful that there plenty stories already out there that make it impossible to ignore the problem. No need to add to the pile.
Step 3: Personal testimony
This is where we drive it home. Again, research is necessary, but it’s easy to start seeing numbers instead of stories. I’m able to share my own struggles with the church. It’s a less gruesome story than many others, but it still points to need for change. My partnering with ministries is my way of seeing my place on both sides and using that positioning to try to pull them closer together.
Information is important
So that’s it in a nutshell. Information is the necessary first step. We need to see the problem form all sides, not to take on blame, but to find the place we fit in the solution.