Ebenezer Fellowship Church in Minneapolis held its first Let’s Talk Teen Summit last February. This ongoing series of panel discussions is addressing some of the issues impacting and altering day-to-day health and well-being of youth in the church and the communities surrounding our churches.

The panel taking questions offered a balanced view of their experiences and godly wisdom, all under the prayerful guidance of Pastor Johnathan B. Fields Jr. There was a good representation of youth, young adults who had recently married, and those who have been married for many years.

As the summit got underway, people opened up and felt safe to share their experiences and observations about violent dating relationships. The attendees learned how to recognize warning signs of unhealthy and controlling behaviors. It was explained that these behaviors can at first seem like “love to the ‘nth degree,” but without Christ this kind of love will quickly seek to control, intimidate, isolate and eventually become violent.

Community members shared personal stories of how they failed to take the counsel of parents and elders, and how this disregard of counsel later led to abusing drugs, having illicit sex, and teen pregnancies.

The teens were also reminded of what 3 John 1:2 promises: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (KJV).

The evening ended with Pastor Fields charging the teens to be forever faithful to God, to dare to be like Daniel and to “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them,” (Eccl. 12:1 KJV).

If he hits you once, he will hit you again

The Let’s Talk panel discussions continued on June 1 with the adult members talking about domestic violence. The community was again invited to participate, and attendees shared powerful stories and testimonies of transforming from victims to victors, and from being abused to being survivors.

One by one, story after story was told with the all-too-familiar theme of how at first everything seemed to be going just fine, until they went from the object of adoration to a victim of domestic violence. The stories told took different paths and varied in length, but they all had the same ending of terror, trauma, and emotional and psychological scars. Many still carry the pain to this day, as evidenced by the tears shed while recounting their stories.

One community attendee shared his powerful testimony of watching his mother being abused, later become an abuser himself, then finally overcoming his past. He is now counseling other men and serving as a role model.

One of the most powerful testimonies of the afternoon was from an 85-year-old domestic abuse survivor who had these words of wisdom to share, “If he hits you once, he will hit you again.”

The congregation was given practical tools and resources, including a pocket-sized list of scriptures for both domestic abuse victims and survivors to carry with them.

The evening ended on a note of affirmation and support from Pastor Fields, who concluded with these words: “If he hits you once, he will hit you twice. If he hits you twice, he will take your life.”*

*National statistics show that while women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse, men are also victims. Please contact your pastors and local Domestic Abuse Centers for help.

Bible text for the survivor

Jer. 29:11

Bible text for the abuser

Col. 3:12-13

Wednesday Worships

Central States Conference live stream: Join Central States live on Wednesday mornings at 8:45 am for worship service. The local pastors always have a great message to share to jumpstart your morning.


Resource for members

Ebenezer Fellowship Women’s Ministry—Great Lakes Region Prayer Line.

Sundays: 7-7:30 am CST. 605.313.4154. Code: 625655#

Callmie Dennis is the health leader for Ebenezer Fellowship Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.