May 03

What is the ACE study and does it matter in your ministry?

What is the ACE study and why does it matter in ministry? As to what the ACE Study is, I will let the video do the talking, for the most part. ACEs are “Adverse Childhood Experiences.” Adversity in childhood is much more common than we might care to recognize at first, and it crosses social economic divisions. It’s a silent epidemic, and possibly the greatest public health crisis facing our country. Jesus, the one who came to “bring life and bring it to the full,” would be concerned with ACEs (see John 10:10).

What does this study tell us? If you have a congregation of 5 people, statistically you have one survivor of childhood sexual abuse. If your congregation is 50, then 10. 250 members? Then 50 have experienced some sort of unwanted, potentially traumatic sexual contact by someone in childhood. Extrapolate the rest of the ACE study findings over your congregation, and you’ll see just why it matters in ministry. There is a great need to be sensitive to the traumas your church members may have experienced, and building some greater awareness in your church just may be the place to start.

I would encourage you to connect with those in your congregation that are working in fields where the discussion of ACEs has been going on for some time. Check out Intermountain’s sister organization, ChildWise, and all the wonderful trainings they are doing. Or, if you missed it on this site, revisit the article “What does it mean for a ministry to be trauma-informed?” and work through the application questions together as a church or leadership team.

There is a great movement towards showing compassion and care to children who have been deeply affected by adversity in childhood. It is my conviction that our churches should be a part of that movement, as they can certainly bring a lot “to the table” in terms of expressions of love, healing, and wholeness! I hope the video and this brief discussion interests many of you to start the discussion in your church and community: What is the ACE Study and why does it matter in ministry?


Infographic created to share information about what adverse childhood experiences are, how prevalent they are and their impact.

Infographic created to explain what adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are, how prevalent they are and their impact.