Statement from the Breakthrough Team
The Breakthrough team recently received important feedback regarding our Fall 2022 series, All Are Called. The series uses the story of King David found in the Bible to talk about different aspects of answering God’s call on our lives. However, the series materials do not acknowledge or address the sins of murder and sexual abuse committed by David. The original wording of the series overview also minimizes the seriousness of David’s sins – referring to them as “bumps along the way.” These unintentional omissions and the subsequent minimization were wrong, and we sincerely and humbly apologize.
We recognize that highlighting the positive aspects of David’s work and life without addressing his sins and failings perpetuates harm to all, especially to those who have experienced abuse of power and sexual abuse. We have updated the series overview and ask that you use the new overview in any of your church’s communications. We will also continue consulting with the GNJ Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) about how to address these concerns and improve future series. The Breakthrough team is committed to resourcing responsibly and faithfully.
We recognize that some churches are using the All Are Called series currently. Breakthrough is a resource that is meant to give clergy a starting point in sermon series planning and writing. We encourage clergy to add or to adapt series material to best fit their context. We encourage those of you who are currently using this series to adapt the material to deal directly with the nature of David’s sinfulness, the harm he caused to others, and the ways in which we may be challenged through David’s story to look at our own lives and whether we are truly living into God’s purpose for ourselves. You might consider doing this in a small group setting.
There are several resources to support you in navigating this conversation. We will link a few that we think are especially helpful below. It is also necessary to provide your congregation with references for support services for those who have experienced or may be experiencing abuse if you are going to discuss this topic in church.
Below are some links to statewide services to get you started. If you cannot wrestle with these important matters in the All Are Called series for your worship setting, we recommend that you use one of our other Breakthrough series instead. The previous series designed for fall include: Plugged In, Ghost Stories, Come to the Table, Tossing and Turning, and Living Faith.
- Bible Commentary: David’s Rape of Bathsheba and Murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 11-12)
- Bathsheba’s Story: Surviving Abuse and Loss
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
- New Jersey: https://njcedv.org/programs/
- Pennsylvania: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/Domestic-Violence.aspx
- New York State: https://opdv.ny.gov/survivors-victims; https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/sexual_violence/
God’s purpose for your life may look different from someone else’s — and sometimes we don’t respond as faithfully to our God-given purpose as God (or even we) might prefer. Yet, God’s call on our lives remains. By looking at the story of David – who may have started out faithfully answering God’s call but also found himself wrestling deeply with his own sin, his misuse of power, and the pain he inflicted upon others – this series reminds us of what our God-given purpose is, and challenges us in how we might truly live into it. Designed for fall.
All Are Called | Sermon Series
Week 1: God’s Purpose for You | 1 Samuel 16:1-13
God has a (different) purpose for everyone, even if it seems unlikely or calls you away from the “norm.”
Week 2: Equipped | 1 Samuel 17:31-40
God gives us the tools we need to fulfill our call. It won’t necessarily look the way we expected or be the way others do it, but God will create our own way for us.
Week 3: Supported | 1 Samuel 20:1-17
Answering a call is rarely easy. But with the support of good friends and a community, we don’t have to face the hardships alone.
Week 4: Affirmed | 2 Samuel 4:1-5; 12
It can be hard to know if we are truly answering God’s call, but the people around us can affirm us and keep us on the right path. Sometimes, we have to trust that God is speaking to us through others, even when we have self-doubts.
Sermon Series Resources
- All Are Called Series Overview Word | All Are Called Series Overview PDF
- All Are Called Worship Resources Word | All Are Called Worship Resources PDF
- All Are Called Preaching Resource Word | All Are Called Preaching Resource PDF
- All Are Called Small Group Resources Word | All Are Called Small Group Resources PDF
- All Are Called Daily Scripture Readings Word | All Are Called Daily Scripture Readings PDF
- All Are Called Children’s Moment Resource Word | All Are Called Children’s Moment Resource PDF
- All Are Called Bulletin Template
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