Unfortunately, we live in a world that’s full of bullies. According to education.com, 1 out of 7 students (from kindergarten to 12th grade) has been picked on, or has picked on someone else. Perhaps you even have a bully or two in your ministry. It is almost a guarantee that your kids have either been bullied or know of someone who has.
Paul Coughlin knows how those kids feel. As a kid, Coughlin was bullied by a parent. He says some days he felt worthless and didn’t want to wake up. Today, Coughlin is an anti-bullying expert who builds on his childhood experience of being picked on. He is now a respected author and speaker who travels around the country talking to groups about bullying.
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In May, he spoke to a group at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He challenged the church to start stepping up and help put a stop to bullying.
“Where’s the Church? The Church is suspiciously missing and we’re looking forward to changing that,” said Coughlin. “We need to get in this battle. This is a battle for human dignity. We should have been in this battle a long time ago and so this is a call to action. It’s really a mission field for people of faith across the world.”
Is your ministry ready to take on this new mission field? If you want to make your ministry a safe place for your kids and empower them to stop the bullying they see around them, check out these 5 great anti-bullying organizations, as well as several resources you can use for ideas and to get you started.
1. The Protectors– We’ll start of the list with Coughlin’s own organization, The Protectors. Founded in 2005, the organization has school and faith-based programs to help kids learn what they can do when they see others being bullied. The site also has resources to help educate and inform you and your kids.
2. Loving Our Children USA– This organization is the leading non-profit when it comes to helping fight against child violence. Here you will find facts and figures on bullying, as well as steps to take if you suspect your kids are involved with bullying/being bullied.
3. Pacer Center’s Kids Against Bullying– As a part of the National Bullying Prevention Center, this website is aimed directly at kids. Here children can watch stories about other kids, play games, take part in polls, and sign a petition to stop bullying at their schools.
4. Stomp Out Bullying– A national anti-bullying/cyber bullying website, this page has tons of material for kids, teens, and parents. Make sure to check out Stomp Out Bullying’s Share Page where you can watch videos of kids around the nation show how they stomp out bullying.
5. Bullying.org– Another great resource for leaders and kids. Designed for those who want to share, learn, and help, the main focus of the site is to teach kids that being bullied is not their fault, they are not alone, and that there are positive alternatives to dealing with bullies.
As Christians, we need to show God’s love. And, too many times, we’re the bullies. Take some time to evaluate your ministry. Do you have kids who are bullies or who have been picked on by bullies? Are the words you use lifting your kids up? Are you equipping your kids to stop bullying when they see it?
I would love to hear what you do in your ministry when it comes to bullying. Please share your tips, stories, successes, and yes, even failures, in the comment section below!