The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study of 1997 removed the veil of secrecy from the extent and effects of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. Since that time many articles have been written and programs have been instituted. A few states have risen to the challenge and implemented child abuse prevention programs and harsher punishments for abusers. The long-term effects of these measures have yet to be determined. One roadblock impeding these programs is the air of suspicion surrounding governmental agencies. Few of us feel comfortable when the government comes to inspect or oversee our private lives. One study noted the necessity of developing a “beneficial and acceptable intrusion” (Felitti, 2003, p. 10) into the closed realm of personal and family experience.
The Church- A “beneficial and acceptable intrusion”
Where can this “beneficial and acceptable intrusion” be found? Is there an organization that has demonstrable effectiveness and wide acceptation?
The local church is perfectly positioned to minister in this closed realm. The effectiveness of church attendance in reducing drug abuse is demonstrated by a study which reported the reduction of the use of crack cocaine as church attendance increased, (Richard, A., Bell, D., & Carlson, J. (2000) p. 244) and that an increased church attendance was a significant predictor of reduction in drug and alcohol use. It was also noted that involvement in a religious moral community may protect recovering addicts from relapse.
In addition, the local church is an authoritative community. A recent study identifies an authoritative community as groups of people who are committed to one another over time and who model and pass on at least part of what it means to be a good person and live a good life. (Commission on Children at Risk., Institute for American Values., YMCA of the USA., & Dartmouth Medical School. (2003) p.14).
Of all authoritative communities, the local church influences a greater number and a more varied age group of people than any other. The local church is accessible and accepted at nearly any time and on any occasion. There is an ongoing relationship that lends itself to accountability and encouragement.
There are many church-based programs that are doing a commendable job helping people overcome addiction. Celebrate Recovery, Reformers Unanimous, Salvation Army and other programs are helping addicts and alcoholics reclaim their lives. However, for the victims of adverse childhood experiences there are few, if any programs tailored for their needs. This lack of programs is an open door for the church to reach a vast number of hurting people within our sphere of influence.
ACE Overcomers equips churches to minister to those overcoming a difficult childhood.
Bible principles are integrated with solid science to produce a powerful, unique ministry you can have confidence in. Call Dave Lockridge at
(209) 617-4688 for information.