So why has the “Pastor Of Pump” taken the lead when it comes to domestic violence in Wilson County?
Simply, because this is where God has brought me and my wife, “for such a time as this.”
Domestic violence is a curse, one that has reached epidemic proportions — in Wilson County, Tennessee, and America. But more regrettably, within the church itself.
So, I ask, why has the church not responded to the crisis?
The evil of domestic violence is in our neighborhoods, county — and in the church. Right here. Right now. In our “conservative, church on every corner, Bible Belt” communities of Wilson County. If we truly believe what the Bible says, then we need to wage war against that which nailed our Savior to the cross.
We must preach — from the pulpit — that domestic violence and abuse is a sin and will not be tolerated in the church. We are the salt and light. We are the answer. We cannot refer victims into secular counseling. We must take action — as the church, we are the voice of the oppressed. We are to fight for justice for those inside and outside of the church.
We — the church — are the refuge.
We must preach, teach and model Biblical manhood to our sons. That we, as men, are to crucify our self-centered lifestyle, immature temper-tantrums, and lovingly serve and lead a godly woman.
And teach our young women to accept nothing less.
An abuser is defined as someone who habitually exhibits narcissistic, sociopathic behaviors that gives them a mindset of entitlement to take power and control over another individual. These abusers use evil and deceptive means. They feel not only entitled but also justified. They have no empathy for anyone but themselves.
Like all pastors I never learned about this evil in seminary and as a result, we are blind to the evil. The arrogance in thinking that you would spot it if it were to happen in your community or in your pews shows just how blind you truly are. The fact is, that it is going on in one out of every three women and one in six men in your midst.
None of us want to believe that we are a friend of evil, especially against the oppressed. Yet, unless we are prepared, that is exactly what we are. You see, if we, as a community run by a literal “boy’s club,” that looks down on women or a church that isn’t prepared, that do not care for the well-being and safety of the oppressed and most vulnerable, then we are guilty. We are part of the problem and guilty of the harm they receive.
As a pastor in my new community, and as I travel across the states, I see that our society, over time has come to normalize or justify abuse. We have created an environment that is abuse friendly. Evil friendly. We have failed to clearly describe and model what headship is not and what submission is not.
This is a call to all pastors. We ask you to join in our efforts to stop the cycle of abuse by providing the Christ-centered solution it needs.
Wilson County does not have a refuge for victims of abuse. Nothing. Wilson county does not have a crisis center, no counseling center, no resources, no shelter, NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
We at Cross Strength Ministries are diligently working to change that and put our Christ-centered, Biblically based, evidence-based, empirically tested domestic violence programming into Wilson County. Redemption house will provide safety and security when leaving an abuser, assessments, counseling, evaluations, safety-planning, resources and referrals to victims; education and training to the church and community; and eventually provide an in-county shelter.
Finally, I would like to add a note to the abuser: If you continue your pattern of abuse, we will find you. We will bring you to justice. We are men of God. We have no fear. We are leaders and protectors of women and children. The Lord has saved us from our own wickedness and transformed us to be good to those He has given to us. You are a stench in the nostrils of God and we urge you: repent of your sin, leave the pattern of destruction that you alone have begun.
May the Lord deliver us from ever tolerating a pugnacious coward who would dare damage one of His beautiful image-bearers.
David Ashley, M. A. A., M. Div., lives in Mt. Juliet and is the founder of Cross Strength Ministries, a domestic violence advocate/counselor, pastor, published author and a coach at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy.