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01.01.1970 01:0000    Comments: 0    Categories: You Asked (Text Files)      Tags:

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I know that Ed Smith has work much with females in ministry through the years.  I read from his materials that he use to minister much with female survivors of sexual abuse.  I too am feeling called into this area of ministry.  However, I do not want to be naive about doing this ministry and want to minister wisely and with caution.  What precautions should I take as a male offering ministry to females?  

Ed Smith's response:    

I really have no problem with men ministering with women and women   ministering with men as long as certain conditions are met.  Also, let us   never be so naive to think that sexual misconduct does not occur in the   context of men with men and women with women.  However, it goes without   saying that misconduct is less likely to occur when a prayer partner is   sitting in the room during the session as a witness.  Also, rarely does   misconduct occur if the relationship remains focused on doing ministry and   only occurs while in the ministry office with a witness present and not   out  in a car after hours.  People tend to get into trouble when they stop   thinking rationally and logically and start thinking "stupid".  The word  stupid may seem a bit harsh but it is the best word I could find to describe  what we do in cases such as this.  I have taught my kids that there is a big  difference between thinking "stupid" and "ignorantly".  Stupid is when you  know the right thing to do in a situation and just do the wrong thing  anyway.  Ignorant is not having the truth available and acting in the wrong  direction unknowingly. "Stupid"  thinking seems to become more prevalent  when our own lie-based pain is triggered and unresolved.  When I am feeling lonely, unappreciated, depressed, bored, etc. the temptation to be unwise becomes more enticing.   I would also suggest to you that if your relationship with your spouse is   painful, unfulfilling, strained or lacking, do not let females be your   ministry focus until you care for your marriage.  People do not violate a   marriage that is in good shape.    

I am not bragging when I say this, but I have never in over 30 years of   marriage been tempted to have an affair.  I love my wife and my relationship   with her has always been fulfilling and good.  That is not to say that I   have not considered murder (and the same can be said for her).   Nevertheless, overall we have been good for each other and we have had no   reason to look elsewhere.  In the book I co-authored with Dr. E. James   Wilder we deal with this issue in detail.  I have excerpted some of what we   have said below.  I encourage you to order this book and read it cover to   cover.  Being safe in ministry is really about just doing the right thing   and watching where you step.  I would also encourage you to surround   yourself with spiritually minded people with whom you can be held   accountable.  If they sense that you are moving in a wrong direction, listen   to them, seek ministry,  and know that God can and does usually give us   plenty of warnings before we make the jump to our demise.      


Taken from:  Keeping Your Ministry Out of Court   www.theophostic.com   
"Prayer ministers and counselors who become sexually involved with those   they are supposed to be caring for, all initially trip and fall at the same   place-a feeling driven by a false belief that is not replaced with truth.   When your lie-based pain is "triggered," be obedient to God and seek truth   and release.  Victory over sexual sin is not won by willpower, determination   or self-effort, but through knowing the truth inwardly and experientially.   In the meantime, strong boundaries help to eliminate the temptation to act   out these feelings and to follow the biblical mandate not to "make any   provision for the flesh" (Romans 13:14).    

Therefore, establish strong boundaries.  Never minister alone if at all   possible.  Get ministry for yourself as soon as you are stirred up   emotionally.  Do not wait until you fall to get help. Avoid the deception   that you will not fall, for ".let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he   fall" (1 Cor. 10:12). 
 A primary purpose for boundaries in the counseling/ministry relationship is   to protect you and the one being cared for from acting out on lie-based   emotions that may be triggered in a session. People (tend to) become   inappropriately involved because of painful emotions they feel, more than   from feelings that are sexual.

[1]  These lie-based (memory-rooted) emotions   are stirred and sexual thoughts become the "solution" to resolving them.   People rarely become involved in adultery because of an initial desire for   sex outside of marriage.  People are first emotionally drawn into the   relationship and at some point sexually consummate.  When your lie-based   thinking is "triggered" (and it will happen at some point) and the pain   surfaces, you have a decision to make. You will either resist the temptation   to resolve/act out your lie-based feelings and suppress the pain; or you   will follow the painful feelings to their lie-based memory source and find   healing, or you will act out the pain in your relationships.  When these   lie-based feelings first stir, a person does not usually make a full-blown   sexual pass toward the other.  Most people can easily resist this blatant   compulsion.  How people fall is in choosing to make less threatening   overtures such as a lingering handshake, extended looking into the other   person's eyes or by making flattering comments.  These behaviors can be   defended as innocent but also allow the aggressor an avenue to express these   forbidden feelings.  Sexual involvement usually occurs over time with small,   gradual steps.  Each step makes the next, larger one less difficult. 

A comment I have often heard from those defeated by sexual involvement is "I   don't even know how I got here.  A year ago I would never have believed this   could have happened." When counseling and praying with sexual abuse victims, letting men minister to men and women minister to women is no guarantee of safety. The counselor/minister should consider his or her own sexual history-has he/she   been involved in premarital or extramarital sex, or in pornography, or is   he/she alienated in any way from his/her spouse?

[2] If the answer is yes,   and particularly if any of these circumstances are repeated or ongoing, deal   with yourself and your healing first. Once healed, counselor/ministers with   this history should do all prayer ministry and counseling in a group   setting. Maturity, particularly that gained by raising sons and daughters to   adulthood, is the best training and safeguard for those who will provide   comfort-but be advised that grandmothers have fallen on this point!"  

To sum it all up.  Be wise.  Know yourself and be accountable to others.  Be sure that there is someone in the room beside the one receiving ministry who is on your team.  The person may bring a prayer partner but you need to have your own.  Avoid "stupid" thinking and know that we tend to act the "stupidest" when we are in our own lie-based pain.  Keep getting your own ministry all along the way. 

I hope that this helps, 

Ed Smith 


[1] These painful emotions are experienced as loneliness, feelings of   rejection, inadequacy, etc.  The other party in the ministry relationship   may foster positive emotions that deceptively lead the minister to believe   that this person can make him feel good (fix the bad feelings).  This   temptation for feeling good can and often does lead to sexually acting out.   Sexual feelings for those outside of marriage often have at the root   something other than lust or sexual arousal.  The sexual components are   often secondary to the primary painful feelings rooted in lie-based memory   experiences.  

[2] A troubled marriage is a seedbed for problems growing up in all other   areas of life.  If your marriage is strained, get help quick.  When we are   offended with our spouse, we become more vulnerable to act out in   inappropriate ways in other areas where we were once strong.  Also know that   the root of marital discord is each partner's own lie-based wounds.  Take   personal responsibility for your own woundedness and healing.

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