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Four Things You Need to know about those Recovering from PTCD (Post-Traumatic Church Disorder)

22 Aug


This article is part of a series on spiritual abuse, and those who have PTCD which stands for post-traumatic church disorder.  For more articles on this topic, click the above link and search under the word PTCD on my website. 


 1.        They are not all cynical, angry, shallow, or unforgiving. 


Victims of church abuse should not be unfairly characterized.  These words could actually equally characterize victims or their abusers.  Don’t make assumptions about their emotional or spiritual state, but if you are close enough – ask questions.  While the body of Christ is sacred, the institutions that line our landscape and the leadership within are not.  Voicing your abuse is not being divisive, cynical or unforgiving – being labeled as such perpetuates and deepens their pain. 


Young adult - head on armsThey are not shallow Christians.  In the book Church Refugees the authors write, “You won’t encounter a single story in this book of someone walking away from church on a whim or because of one bad experience.” (Packard, 14)  The book’s research actually reveals that many church refugees held a deep faith and were very involved in the church.  Their spiritual devotion is so deep that those with PTCD often have conflicted feelings.  Sarah Cunningham writes, “I could never stab at the church without drawing blood from my own skin, because church is a deep and sacred part of my identity.” (Cunningham, 12) 

2.        They need spaces to share their story. 

As the wounded leave their community, they often feel their perspective was either not heard or invalidated.  Even if heard, the victims find it difficult to believe they were heard unless they are able to see the church respond to their pain.  Victims of spiritual abuse need people who can listen to their story and validate their pain.  Cunningham writes, “The hurting deserve their own individual, localized hearings.  And to be helpful, the responses must deeply consider each person’s unique makeup and circumstances.” (Cunningham, 18)



Copyright 2017 by EA Resources. This and other pictures are available for use at our website.




As survivors share, minimize your words.  The worst thing you can give to a survivor is a trite Christian expression.  Non-verbal expressions of support and empathy are often the most helpful.  Rely on the power of a warm embrace, a gentle touch, and hope-filled eyes.   


 3.       They don’t want to be your project. 


Church survivors do not want you to attempt to fix them or prove that God still loves them, or that good Christians do exist.  God may or may not use you in their restoration process.  If not, be a friend.  Show love regardless of whether they return to the church or the faith.  Pulling away because the victim is no longer going to church reveals that our relationship was built upon conditional love.  As Christians we are called to be examples of the unconditional love of God which pursues people regardless of their response. 


Those with PTCD are highly sensitive to spiritual shaming.  Think twice before you tell them how they should feel, or giving them a solution.  Trust God’s Spirit, and wait on his timing.  While there may be times of iron sharpening iron, there is also a time to weep with those who weep. 


4.       Their recovery requires time.


Our passion is to see people restored to fellowship where they can both love and be loved.  However, we must understand they may not be able to walk through the doors of a church.  We must understand they may never be able to return.  Beyond the Broken Church states, “A multigenerational group of exhausted, depleted, and often jaded former church attendees can be seen wandering in the cloudy landscape just outside the church’s doors. (Cunningham, 9) Remember their journey towards healing will usually happen outside the institutional church.  The healing hands of Christ are not limited by the confines of the institutional church. 


David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a nonprofit designed to equip the church to minister to the needs of emerging adults.  He is a survivor of church abuse, and can be reached at


Dad Jokes from the Mission Aviation Fellowship

18 Aug

Humor is important for any home.

I know that my boys think I am funny…

Well, I might be stretching the truth, but they have laughed at me before.

I hope that this video will help you lighten up a bit, and bring some joy to your and your home.  The video includes many DAD Jokes from men who are employed with Mission Aviation Fellowship.  Here is the video.


The MAF enables thousands of aid, relief and mission projects in really remote places. Because that’s where some of the greatest human needs are.  You can check out their work at their website.


Sifting Through Junk

15 Aug

My grandmother recently passed away. Don’t be too sad for her, she lived a spunky ninety-three years!

As grandma spent her final days in the hospital, I spent some time living in her home. During my first night, a baskets full of creepy baby dolls with cracked ceramic faces kept me company. After a few hours of restless sleep, I crawled out of bed and carried the dolls upstairs.

© 2010 Amy, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

© 2010 Amy, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Grandma’s house was full of stuff – puzzles, books, and magazines, ceramics, and baby angels. I also need to mention the dish towels. Baskets full of dish towels- which had never been used- apparently these baskets were for decoration only. When Granny heard I was staying in the house, she called me over and firmly instructed me to not use the towels. Although I laughed inwardly, it was no joking matter for her.

After her death, we began to sift through her possessions trying to decide what to do with all her stuff. Some of it was immediately trashed, while other items were marked for a garage sale. The baskets full of towels were divided between the grandkids and are now… being used. (Sorry, Grandma.)

Obviously, part of this issue is steeped in this western materialism that runs rampant in our nation. Granny would go to all the Goodwill stores in the area once a week to go “Good-willing.” I recently heard on the radio that as baby boomers pass away, their children don’t want their stuff, and have no idea what to do with it.

The question I ponder is, “what will I leave behind for my children and grandchildren to sift through?” Will they find boxes of trinkets and bags of garbage, or will they find artifacts of love and reminders of a life lived by faith?

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a nonprofit that seeks to equip churches and parents to minister to the needs of emerging adults.  He is also the founder of the EA Network.  If he can help your community, please contact him at


10 Ways a Man Makes His Wife Feel Ugly without Saying a Thing

11 Aug

This list is long, and impossible to keep to perfection.  However, this article is a powerful reminder to how our actions and words affect those whom we love.  I pray that one or more of these will be used by the Spirit in your life to build or rebuild your marriage.

Days before I got married, my pastor’s wife told me, “Your husband will never intentionally hurt you.” Twenty-two years later, I believe she was right—for the most part. Yet the key word is “intentionally”. Even though the average guy isn’t making it his mission to hurt his wife, he can unintentionally leave her feeling rejected, unseen, devalued—and ugly—without ever saying a thing.

Here is the full article.


Parenting Your Emerging Adult

8 Aug

Equipping yourself for each stage of your child’s development is important.  At each stage, you must pick up a few new tools.  Emerging adulthood is the life phase following adolescents (approximately 18-28 years old).  For a full description, read this!

Here is a podcast by Steven Argue, who is an expert on emerging adulthood and faith.  He is also the parent of three emerging adults.

Click Here for the Podcast!

If you work regularly with Emerging Adults, connect with Steve and many others through joining the EA Network on Facebook.

Steve joined the Fuller Theological Seminary faculty in June 2015 in a hybrid role as assistant professor of youth, family, and culture and as an applied research strategist with the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI). He is a thought leader and researcher with decades of on-the-ground ministry experience.

Questions to Ask before they leave for College

7 Aug

Fall is upon us, and student will soon be packing their bags and leaving for college.  If your child is leaving, Kara Powell from the Fuller Youth Institute released this article about preparing your child for college.  Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary.

When our oldest started high school, multiple older parents told me that high school would fly by. I didn’t believe them, but now that Nathan is diving into eleventh grade, I’ve jumped on the “high school goes so fast” bandwagon.

Here is the full article! 

Pass it along to someone you know is dropping off a student this fall.

If you work with emerging adults, please join Kara and other members of the Fuller Youth Institute as members of the EA Network – a networking site on Facebook.

Other resources:

The Debate Continues – Are Beards falling out of style?

5 Aug

Let’s be real.

Most men who have beards really don’t care whether they are in style or not.

I have a love-hate relationships with shaving.  My wife loves it.  I hate it.  Therefore, I usually have about five days of hair growth before I shave it off.

Here is the article.

beardsIn the past few years, a number of predictions have declared the end of the beard. “Sorry guys, beards are over,” said the website Mashable. “Beards Aren’t Cool Anymore,” said Vice.

But beards are still here — at the Oscars, parading down catwalks and on regular guys. Could it be that beards are more than a fashion statement? Continue reading

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