Not Forsaken: A Shepherd’s Guide


Not Forsaken: A Shepherd’s Guide is a practical how-to study and theological resource for seminaries, pastors, counselors, and ministry leaders who seek to minister to abuse victims and survivors with compassion and biblical wisdom. It’s 135 pages cover sexual abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, spiritual abuse, psychological abuse, church abuse, how to identify abusers, and how to safely respond to a broad variety of abusive situations.

“You have a gift for equipping church leaders in a much-needed and brutally hard area of ministry. Thank you for offering such a constructive way forward.”
Pastor for Care & Counseling, Bethlehem Baptist Church


“Not Forsaken: A Shepherd’s Guide is a study and practical how-to guide especially for church leaders, leading us to carefully and credibly minister to abuse victims. Praise God for this sister in Christ and her work, through which the Savior’s love shines so powerfully and brightly, especially for those whose lives feel lost within indescribable, dehumanizing darkness.”
RUT ETHERIDGE, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Geneva College; author of God Breathed

“One of the most tragic realities of living in this fallen world is abuse — especially the abuse of children. It requires some of the most painstaking shepherding to protect and care for the most vulnerable in Christ’s flock. Unfortunately, many leaders are not only unprepared to deal with this issue but have catastrophically failed. We must do better. Jennifer writes as one who has brought her own experience with abuse to be understood in the light of the Bible. As a good steward of her suffering she serves as a guide to help leaders wade into the muck and mess of this wicked sin and its devastating consequences. This study will encourage church leaders to compassionately love the lambs of Jesus, and to fiercely rage against those who would do them harm.”
KYLE BORG, Pastor of Winchester Reformed Presbyterian Church, Winchester, Kansas

“I benefited tremendously as a pastor reading over this study. The Lord has made you incredibly wise and you have a gift for equipping church leaders in a much-needed and brutally hard area of ministry. Thank you for offering such a constructive way forward for equipping ministry leaders out of something heinous, evil, and that never should have happened to you or any other victim or survivor.”
BRYAN PICKERING, Pastor for Care & Counseling at Bethlehem Baptist Church

“When I started in pastoral ministry in the late 90s, there was only a growing awareness by ministry leaders and trainers that there were sexual abuse problems in the church. The result is that we did not scratch the surface of learning how to properly address the needs of survivors and families. This guide helps fill that knowledge and skill gap for pastors and church leaders who want to do better but do not know how.”
DOUG HIBBARD, Pastor of East End Baptist Church, Little Rock, Arkansas

“Those of us who have experienced abuse within the church know how needed this curriculum is for pastors. Jenn Greenberg writes with the unique perspective of an abuse survivor who has been deeply failed by the church. Yet her own suffering has not led her to grow bitter and disillusioned, but rather to lovingly speak hope and practical help to build up the church and equip pastors to do better. My prayer is that God uses this excellent resource to bring healing and hope to his beloved Bride.”
CARRIE DAUKAS, Church Abuse Survivor & Advocate


Each chapter or lesson in Not Forsaken: A Shepherd’s Guide correlates with a chapter in Jennifer’s book, Not Forsaken. While the guide can stand alone, it is designed as a companion to the book so that seminaries, church leaders, and ministries can better equip themselves to minister to survivors and handle abusive situations wisely and responsibly.


WHY DO I NEED THIS STUDY? – a look at statistics; the prevalence of different types of abuse (including sexual abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, and psychological abuse) and victim demographics. For example, while sexual abuse is a horrific blight on the church, you are twice as likely to encounter domestic violence. Did you know that about 50% of child abuse victims are boys, and that 54% of child abusers are women? In order to stop child abuse, we must dismantle stereotypes.

INTRODUCTION – a letter to pastors, counselors, and church leaders.

  1. LEARNING FROM MISTAKES – examples of how the church poorly handled my own abuse and what can we learn from these situations. A run-down of helpful alternative responses.
  2. 7 STAGES OF RECOVERY – an outline of recovery in its many phases and forms. How to identify what stage a survivor may be in so you can give them the help and support they need right now.
  3. THE HEART OF A SHEPHERD – an analysis of how pastors commonly fall short so we can do better. Real world examples of dangerous advice, contrasted by wise advice.
  4. BUILDING YOUR NETWORK – how to ID trustworthy counselors, therapists, lawyers, etc., including questions to ask. How to identify your own skillset and mission field, and know when to outsource.
  5. RESPONDING TO SELF-DESTRUCTION – a biblical analysis of suicidal ideation and self-harm, including examples from Scripture of how God himself has responded to thoughts of suicide. An extensive rundown of red-flags that may indicate severe depression or suicidal plans.
  6. THE PROBLEM OF GUILT – a list of helpful ways to respond to survivors who feel responsible for their abuse. How lax church discipline and an erroneous understanding of Matthew 18 often misattributes guilt, weighing survivors down in shame and legalism.
  7. EMPOWERING THE VICTIM – correctly defining gossip and differentiating it from getting help or reporting; understanding our suffering in light of Christ; understanding biblical submission; identifying psychological abuse; reducing pressures that may result in a victim returning to an abuser.
  8. THE IMAGE OF GOD – realigning the survivor’s identity with Christ rather than with shame. Helping a survivor’s godly spouse learn how to build her (or him) up and strengthen their marriage.
  9. LEVERAGING THE STRANGER – leveraging an abuser’s own lies and insults to undo emotional damage and build the survivor up.
  10. I WILL FEAR NO EVIL – understanding and responding to depression with grace. Identifying red flags and knowing when to recommend a counselor or therapist.
  11. WHAT IS SPIRITUAL ABUSE? – unraveling the lies and heresies that enable abuse. Four ways to help a survivor recover from spiritual abuse and abusive church experiences.
  12. THE TRUTH ABOUT REPENTANCE – understanding what true repentance is, and learning to differentiate it from false repentance, hypocrisy, and the lies abusers so often tell.
  13. DEFINING THE ABUSER – what is a narcissist, sociopath, psychopath, and are these labels biblical? An analysis of behavioral patterns as established by medical specialists, and where we find them in Scripture. A listing of Bible characters who were likely narcissists, sociopaths, or psychopaths.
  14. WHEN ABUSERS COME TO CHURCH – what do you do when a convicted child abuser wants to attend corporate worship? A look at how some commonly accepted strategies are putting your children in danger.
  15. LETTERS TO A PRISON PASTOR – a collection of correspondence that sheds light on the relevance and complexity of abuse and the shepherding of survivors.

DICTIONARY – a list of common words and terms to help facilitate your communication with victims, survivors, counselors, therapists, and law enforcement agencies.

Not Forsaken: A Shepherd’s Guide is a free download designed for easy implementation as a seminary, university, or college course; a church group study; or individual reading.