About the training curriculum

We believe every church must be equipped to respond well in the initial stages of learning about instances of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse. That is why we created Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused. This training curriculum of a handbook, an introductory video, and 12 lesson videos brings together top experts from various fields to help leaders understand and implement the best practices for handling the variety of abuse scenarios at church, school, or ministry.

The most comprehensive training is experienced by using the handbook and videos together.

The curriculum is not intended to be legal counsel or to provide holistic training for counseling or pastoral care on the issue of abuse but is an accessible tutorial on how to respond with pastoral and ethical excellence. The curriculum gives a theological foundation for the topic, brings understanding on the issues connected to abuse disclosure and reporting, and gives practical wisdom by which leaders can navigate complex situations.

It answers questions such as the following:

Why is it vital for pastors and ministry leaders to understand that caring for the abused and oppressed is a gospel issue?

Why is it unwise for the church to act as an investigative body in criminal matters?

What are good pastoral practices for receiving an initial disclosure of physical or sexual abuse?

What are the key qualities for identifying a counselor who works with sexual abuse victims?

How do you best cooperate with social workers, law enforcement, and legal counsel in cases of abuse?

What are the keys to developing a good safety plan with a victim of abuse?

How does a church respond ethically, legally, and with good shepherding practices when they discover abuse by a church staff member or volunteer?

It is our hope that this curriculum would help every participant know how to respond well to the initial report of abuse at their church, school, or ministry and would make the leader's role clearer. At the end of this training you should be able to say, "I know what I should do, why, and how to do it." From there it is your responsibility as both a citizen and Christian to have the integrity and courage to be one of God’s agents of protection for those being oppressed by various forms of abuse.

Start Video Training

Select Preview Now to watch videos. Select Start Video Training to assign this training to others in your church or ministry, track user progress, and receive a certification of completion.

Purchase The Book

Is your church prepared to care for individuals who have experienced various forms of abuse?

As we continue to learn of more individuals experiencing sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other forms of abuse, it’s clear that resources are needed to help ministries and leaders care for these individuals with love, support, and in cooperation with civil authorities. This handbook seeks to help the church take a significant step forward in its care for those who have been abused.

Working in tandem with the resources and videos found at churchcares.com, this handbook brings together leading evangelical trauma counselors, victim advocates, social workers, attorneys, batterer interventionists, and survivors to equip pastors and ministry leaders for the appropriate initial responses to a variety of abuse scenarios in churches, schools, or ministries.

Though the most comprehensive training is experienced by using this handbook and the videos together, readers who may be unable to access the videos can use this handbook as a stand-alone resource.


Rachael Denhollander

survivor, attorney, advocate

Rachael Denhollander is an attorney, advocate, and educator who became known internationally as the first woman to file a police report and speak publicly against USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, one of the most prolific sexual abusers in recorded history. As a result of her activism, over 250 women came forward as survivors of Nassar’s abuse, leading to his life imprisonment. Rachael and her husband Jacob live in Louisville, Kentucky with their four young children.

Mika Edmondson

pastor and church planter

Mika Edmondson, a native of Nashville, TN, is the pastor of New City Fellowship. He graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary, where he wrote a dissertation on Martin Luther King Jr.’s theology of suffering. He is happily married and has two beautiful daughters.

Samantha Kilpatrick

attorney, former prosecutor, victim advocate, and church advisor

Samantha Kilpatrick is an attorney with over 20 years of experience in the practice of law. She is currently a partner with Kilpatrick Law Group, PLLC in Raleigh, NC. She is a former prosecutor with experience in the areas of domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. Currently, in private practice, she represents and counsels survivors of abuse and advises faith-based organizations on abuse prevention, policy, and safety.

Diane Langberg

psychologist: trauma and abuse specialist

Diane Langberg Ph.D., is globally recognized for her 45 years of clinical work with trauma victims. She has trained caregivers on six continents in responding to trauma and to the abuse of power. She has authored several books and directs her own counseling practice in Jenkintown, PA, Diane Langberg, Ph.D. & Associates.

Chris Moles

pastor, ACBC and IABC certified biblical counselor specializing in batterer intervention

Rev. Chris Moles is an ordained minister with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Senior Pastor of Grace Community Chapel in Eleanor, WV and a Certified Biblical Counselor (ACBC and IABC). Chris is the author of the book, The Heart of Domestic Abuse, Gospel Solutions for Men Who use Violence and Control in the Home. A certified group facilitator in batterer intervention and prevention, Chris has served as a faculty member with the West Virginia Coalition against domestic violence statewide intervention training; B.A. in Bible from Cedarville College; M.A. in Biblical Counseling from Faith Bible Seminary.

Andrea Munford

police officer and lead detective on Larry Nassar case

Andrea Munford is a lieutenant with the Michigan State University Police Department. Lieutenant Munford was formerly assigned as the Investigative Division Commander and was the department’s primary investigator for the MSU PD Special Victims Unit (SVU). During that time, Lieutenant Munford was the lead investigator for the Larry Nassar case. Lieutenant Munford is currently assigned as the training coordinator for the MSU PD Center for Trauma-Informed Investigative Excellence.

Karla Siu

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Karla Siu is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 18+ years of experience serving families and children recovering from trauma. Karla currently provides consultation to the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program and El Futuro, Inc. to implement bilingual video-counseling services in select primary care clinics in rural North Carolina. Formerly, Karla served as an outpatient therapist and El Futuro’s Clinical Program Director for 11 years. Karla also worked in welfare reform, community mental health, research on biculturalism, and services to domestic violence offenders. In 2009, Karla co-authored an article in the Journal of Family Violence.

Darby Strickland

counselor at CCEF, specializing in domestic abuse

Darby Strickland MDiv. is an instructor and counselor with the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. She teaches Counseling Abusive Marriages, and her writing and speaking focus on training churches to care well for those affected by domestic abuse.

Leslie Vernick

MSW, focusing on destructive relationships

Leslie Vernick was a licensed clinical social worker in private practice for over 30 years working with individuals and couples in destructive and abusive relationships. She is the author of 7 books and is currently a national speaker, blogger, and relationship coach.

Brad Hambrick

pastor of counseling

Brad Hambrick serves as the Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church in Durham, NC. He also serves as Instructor of Biblical Counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a council member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. Brad’s background in pastoral care and creating resources for churches served to shape the educational design for Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused.

Spanish Curriculum