According to a new study from LifeWay Research, almost half of Protestant pastors do not broach the topic of domestic violence from the pulpit; more preachers only brush over the subject once a year. Perhaps even more concerning is that less than 50 percent of pastors have been trained in counseling victims.
Statistics of the survey included the following:
- 42 percent of surveyed pastors reported rarely/never speaking on domestic or sexual violence
- 22 percent of respondents said they spoke on domestic or sexual violence once per year
- 28 percent said they discussed sexual or domestic violence several times per year
- 4 percent responded they preached on domestic or sexual violence about once a month
- 2 percent reported speaking on domestic or sexual violence several times per month
‘When two-thirds of pastors address the issue of domestic violence in church one time a year or less, we have a serious disconnect with the realities of American life. Pastors cannot ignore or downplay the issue, when lives are being ruined -- and sometimes lost -- through sexual and domestic violence right in their own communities and churches,” said Ed Stetzer LifeWay Research Division president.
Most pastors responded that domestic and sexual abuse was a problem in their community, but not their church. At the same time, most pastors (74 percent) knew someone who had been a victim of domestic violence.
Additionally, a lack of training on how to deal with domestic abuse situations in the church became apparent through the study. According to the survey, 52 percent of preachers were insufficiently trained with domestic abuse counseling; 81 percent said they would take further action to prevent domestic abuse if they were better equipped to do so.
Publication date: July 1, 2014