Ministry and #MeToo

A Learning Journey for Leaders

The #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements have uncovered a difficult reality: sexual misconduct and abuse are widespread problems—commonly misunderstood both in society and also in the Church. The statistics are staggering. At a minimum, our congregations and workplaces are filled with survivors. In many cases, ministry leaders are ill-equipped to respond, and even worse, sometimes they can be a part of the problem.

In March of 2018, Willow Creek Association (WCA) was thrown into this reality in a very public way. In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against the former chairman of the WCA board and anchor teacher at The Global Leadership Summit, our organization realized that we didn’t fully understand the issue or the plight of victims. As the WCA prayerfully considered our path forward, we committed to engaging in a learning journey on the topic of sexual misconduct and abuse.

We enter this journey with full realization that we are not the experts here, but rather learners on a journey with others. What we bring to the table is the ability to convene people who truly are experts and a platform to share our learning journey with churches and other faith-based organizations in our network.

We would like to thank our excellent group of experts—Danielle Strickland, Dr. Diane Langberg, Lisa Kirby, DeVon Franklin, Dale Ingraham, Liz Testa and Jeff Lockyer. We are grateful to them for being our teachers and for joining us in developing this Ministry and #MeToo: A Learning Journey for Leaders resource.

This Resource was designed to address the most frequent questions we heard from our community:

  • What should I know about the victims and survivors in my church?
  • What Human Resources policies should I have in place?
  • What should leaders do when confronted with abuse allegations?
  • Are new boundaries needed for women and men to work together in the era of #MeToo?

Designed to be viewed in the order presented, the series is divided into three chapters with eight total episodes. Episodes range from 21 – 46 minutes and can be viewed by individuals or in a group setting. Episodes 1 through 4 include a teaching portion followed by a Q&A with the speaker. Episodes 5 through 7 are individual talks on the topic of creating a better future with Episode 8 serving as the follow-up Q&A in a panel format with those speakers.

These are complex topics and there is much more to be learned beyond these sessions. For further exploration, each episode includes recommended resources and additional ways to learn more on your own. We hope this resource furthers the conversation in your setting by identifying ways to create a safe culture and a better future as women and men fulfill God’s design for the Church.

Series Overview

  • Chapter 1: Grasping the Impact of #MeToo

    In this cultural moment, women and men are using their collective voices to reveal the extent and pain of sexual misconduct and abuse. For decades, the statistics have told a dis-heartening story. Now, those statistics are now being joined by a chorus of real people telling their stories.

    In Chapter 1 of the Ministry and #MeToo learning journey, two experts help us grasp the impact of the #MeToo movement. Justice advocate Danielle Strickland explores the significance of this cultural moment – that while the cry is hard to hear, it also presents the opportunity for creating a future where women and men are better together. Then Dr. Diane Langberg, a psychologist with 45 years of experience working with trauma victims, provides insight into the psychology of abuse, how abuse affects survivors and what church communities need to know to respond.

    Episode 1:  This Cultural Moment – Danielle Strickland

    Episode 2:  The Psychology of Abuse – Dr. Diane Langberg

  • Chapter 2: Creating Safe and Respectful Ministry Cultures

    The prevalence of #MeToo stories has revealed a blind spot in many of our ministries and churches. While every person wants to work and worship in safe and respectful environments, ministries are realizing that their current policies may be inadequate. In order to create ministry cultures that protect and support all people, leaders need to take proactive steps to implement practices to prevent abuse and harassment.

    In Chapter 2 of the Ministry and #MeToo learning journey, two experts identify best practices ministries should implement to support victims and foster respectful relationships in a ministry context. Lisa Kirby, a Human Resources leader with 30-years experience, speaks to the ministry leader as employer – and share the legal requirements, policies and practical measures ministries should have in place to promote safe and respectful workplaces. Then, Dale Ingraham, pastor and co-founder of Speaking the Truth in Love ministries, coaches ministry leaders on the ways to respond when an abuse allegation comes forward in our churches.

    Episode 3: A Safe and Respectful Ministry Workplace – Lisa Kirby

    Episode 4: A Safe and Respectful Church Community – Pastor Dale Ingraham

  • Chapter 3: Becoming Better Together

    The #MeToo movement has impacted the way women and men view their interactions with each other. On the one hand, survivors have become empowered to share abuse stories and to bond together in significant ways. On the other hand, many have become confused, self-protective and unsure how to react. Prominent leaders, both in ministry and in business, have expressed concerns about future interactions with women. Some have suggested extreme measures: not hiring women, not riding in elevators together and avoiding one-on-one meetings. Still others have expressed concerns about the backlash—that an over-reaction could impede the progress of women’s advancement.

    In Chapter 3 of the Ministry and #MeToo learning journey, we tackle these reactions head-on and engage in frank discussions about how men and women should work together now. Pastor Jeff Lockyer discusses ways that churches can both protect women and promote healthy gender-inclusive leadership. DeVon Franklin, author of The Truth About Menhelps us understand challenges men face in their interactions with women, identifying the secret to mastering urges for sex and power. Then, Danielle Strickland returns to explore how a positive use of power, along with love, will allow us to move forward to a future that is better together. Finally, Liz Testa, Devon Franklin, Jeff Lockyer and Danielle Strickland engage in a lively and insightful panel discussion, answering questions from our studio audience.

    Episode 5: Protecting and Promoting Women in a Ministry Context – Pastor Jeff Lockyer

    Episode 6: The Truth About Men – DeVon Franklin

    Episode 7: Power and What Women Can Do – Danielle Strickland

    Episode 8: Becoming Better Together Panel Discussion – DeVon Franklin, Jeff Lockyer, Danielle Strickland, and Liz Testa

Hosted By

Rev. Liz Testa

Pastor; Coordinator for Women’s Transformation and Leadership
The headshot of Liz Testa for Ministry and MeToo Series.




Danielle Strickland

Pastor; Author; Justice Advocate
The headshot of Danielle Strickland for Ministry and MeToo Series.

DeVon Franklin

Producer, Author, Speaker; CEO of Franklin Entertainment
Ministry and MeToo - DeVon Franklin Speaker Headshot Episode Landing Page

Dr. Diane Langberg

Psychologist; International Speaker; Expert on Trauma and Abuse of Power
The headshot of Dr. Diane Langberg for Ministry and MeToo Series.

Lisa Kirby

Senior Human Resources Manager, K-LOVE and Air1 Media Networks; Life Coach
The headshot of Lisa Kirby for Ministry and MeToo Series.

Dale Ingraham

Pastor; Co-founder of Speaking Truth in Love Ministries
The headshot of Dale Ingraham for Ministry and MeToo Series.

Jeff Lockyer

Pastor; Co-host of The Global Leadership Summit’s GLS Podcast
The headshot of Jeff Lockyear for Ministry and MeToo Series.