Who is Dawn Carter?
I met Dawn online about a year and a half ago, and we soon found out that some students that I had in in the college ministry I pastored in Los Angeles, she had had in her youth group. That was our connecting point, and from there we have had the opportunity to connect in person on a couple of occasions. She has always been a huge encouragement to me, especially the last time we chatted at the Innovation3 Gathering in Dallas this last January. Dawn, not only has encouraging words to share with others, but they always seem to be so timely and prophetic as well.
Dawn is the Director of Marketing for 360Hubs, which is a web tool thats “goal is to connect people, content and ideas around an affinity need.” She is also an active member of Sandals Church in Riverside, CA. You can find Dawn blogging at Chronicles of Dawnia as well as twittering away.
Dawn, I appreciate your ministry, both online and in-person. (Not that we are distinguishing between the two).
In Her Own Words
What are you really passionate about?
I am passionate about God’s love, truth and light breaking cycles of brokenness in His Bride, the Church. Although a church-attender all my life, I’ve lived so much of my life feeling distant from God’s love, but knowing it with my head. I’ve also wasted tons of years living with lies—holding onto distorted images of who He was, who I was to Him. Now, my life is a walking example that God can take anyone, no matter how messed up they are (e.g. externally religious, morally bankrupt) and use them as a “planting for the display of His splendor”. Because these two themes — head knowledge without heart and living with lies– were prevalent while I was very churched, I am really passionate about God’s people stepping out of darkness and experiencing freedom from religiosity, addictions, shame, lies and un-grieved places in their hearts. I absolutely love seeing God free captives, especially those trapped in church culture.
I wouldn’t say I’m a wounded healer, but maybe a wounded Bible teacher. (Mark Driscoll talks about the offices of Priest, King and Prophet in church leaders… I don’t have enough patience or empathy like you, Rhett, to be a therapist, a.k.a. Priest. I’m the Prophet sort).
How does what you are doing vocationally or volunteer wise serve that passion?
I am the teaching leader each Thursday morning at our Moms with A Purpose (MAP) Bible Study at Sandals Church, Riverside, CA. My heart is that Jesus be seen clearly, lifted up and explained honestly within authentic community. Because I am in the middle of my own grieving process, my teaching comes from a very raw place. I am a fellow traveller, honest with my struggles, doubts and ways that God is kicking my butt. I am able to bring God’s love, truth and light to our lives through his amazingly rich Word and see Him do remarkable stuff week after week. His Word changes us, but we have to cooperate with obedience. Even the messy kind.
Speaking of messy obedience, I also help out in our sexual abuse recovery support group’s worship team. I love the sweetness of the worship from a room full of broken believers… folks who are being brave, obeying God and going into the scary crevices of their hearts to bring stuff into the light. I don’t just sing about “Jesus setting captives free” or “our God reigns”… I get a front row seat to witness it week in and week out. Those aren’t songs to me. They are reality. Grateful, worship-filled tears flow and it is not only beautiful, it is healing to my own abuse-survivor soul.
How can those around you (friends, online community, etc.) best support you?
I would love it if my friends would encourage those around them who have sexual abuse in their backgrounds to get help. It honestly doesn’t “just go away.” If you know of someone on that journey already, encourage them genuinely and often. If you’ve experienced freedom yourself, give back and give hope because someone gave it to you.
Of course, I’d love to have prayers that God’s presence would shine on His Bride. That He’d draw folks to Himself and ignite His church with holiness and world-changing compassion.
Anything else we should know about this passion?
Statistics show that sexual abuse affects probably one in three women and it breaks my heart that the church hasn’t offered healing places. Instead we don’t talk about it or minimize it with religious platitudes. Meanwhile, the enemy of our souls immobilizes another generation with secrecy. I would love to see younger people deal with their crap before they waste half their lives dealing with symptoms or consequences of bad choices. I’d love to see people get help before they become parents who screw up another generation of kids. Broken parents raise broken kids. It is just how it works. And all the religious activity (e.g. Bible studies, volunteering) in the world doesn’t heal you. Jesus does. But it takes cooperation with Him and time.
I am convinced that his beautiful Bride, which is supposed to reflect His glory, is crippled by religiosity, secrecy and pride. My heart’s desire is that His Church get healing, get holy and go love some people who need a Savior.
Previous Interviews in the ‘What Are You Passionate About?’ Series