Cover of Created to Thrive


Exploring the link between views about women’s worth and abuse.



Created To Thrive brings together the voices of experts and faith leaders to tackle topics related to abuse. Born out of a desire to equip pastors and Christian leaders to respond wisely to create safe spaces where all can flourish, Created to Thrive explores the dangerous consequences of women’s devaluation and how theology can perpetuate abuse.


  • Understand and address domestic and church abuse
  • Gain best practices for creating abuse-free spaces
  • Respond wisely to reports of violence. 

CBE Logo


CBE International, also known as Christians for Biblical Equality, is a trusted voice on the Bible’s call for women’s equality. By promoting biblical justice and community, CBE advances the gospel and equips Christians to use their God-given talents in leadership and service regardless of gender, ethnicity, or class.


“I am deeply encouraged that this book is now out in the world. In it you will find insight born of sound research and lived experience to help faith leaders and communities celebrate, protect, and elevate the beauty and fullness of the imago Dei found in all women.”

—Scott Arbeiter, former President, World Relief

Created to Thrive is a timely and needed handbook. It clearly and professionally points out the difference between behavior that enables women and men to thrive versus abusive behavior. Too often the latter has become confusingly culturally acceptable, even in the church. Christian leaders will want to thoughtfully study this helpful tool.”

—Jane Overstreet JD, President of DAI (Development Associates International)

“This is a resource long overdue that addresses a critical need in the evangelical church. It is at the same time a healing ointment for past wounds and preventive medicine for the future. Christian patriarchy, sustained through the so-called “complementarian” movement, has taken a tragic toll on women in Christian ministry and marriage. Thank you, CBE for the vital part you continue to play in helping all of God’s people thrive!”

—Dr. Ron Pierce, Professor Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

Created to Thrive is a rich and vital resource illuminating the varied facets of domestic violence and church abuse. This thorough compilation shines a light on abuse’s cruel realities, that of not being seen or believed or even realizing that the behavior one experiences is abusive. This book boldly names abuse, affirms God’s heart for the survivor, and equips the church to know how to recognize and respond to those who are impacted. Created to Thrive gives Christians needed tools to listen to, believe, advocate for, and protect those who have been harmed by abuse.”

—Pastor Sarah Ago, President, SEARCH (Southeast Asia Coalition Rescue & Haven)

Contributors to Created to Thrive

Dr. Antoinette Alvarado is the co-pastor of Grace Church International, founder and executive director of My Sister’s Keeper Foundation for Women, and president of Targeted Living Coaching & Consulting, LLC. She is also author of Run and Not be Weary: The Pursuit of Purpose and Destiny, Stoking the Fire of Your Dreams, Harmonize Your Life: A Journey Toward Self-Care, and co-author of Let’s Stay Together: Relationship Strategies for Successful Marriages.

Natalie Collins is a gender justice specialist and author of Out of Control: Couples, Conflict, and the Capacity for Change. She is the interim CEO of The Women’s Liberation Collective and creator and director of the DAY Program, an innovative youth domestic abuse and exploitation education program, and of the Own My Life course for women who have been subjected to abuse.

Chuck Derry has worked to end men’s violence against women since 1983. He co-founded the Gender Violence Institute in Clearwater, MN, which provides training and technical assistance nationally and internationally on the dynamics of domestic violence, criminal justice system reform, coordinated community response to domestic violence, rehabilitative programs for men who batter, and engaging men and communities in prevention.

Ashley Easter is a Christian feminist, writer, speaker, TV producer, news pundit, ordained reverend, and abuse-victim advocate who educates churches and secular communities on abuse. She is the founder of The Courage Conference for survivors of abuse and those who love them, and the author of The Courage Coach: A Practical Friendly Guide on How to Heal from Abuse.

Dr. Mimi Haddad is president and CEO of CBE International. She holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of Durham, England and Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University awarded her an honorary Doctor of Divinity. Haddad is an award-winning author and has written more than one hundred academic and popular articles and blogs, contributed to twelve books, and is author of Is Women’s Equality a Biblical Ideal? Haddad is an adjunct assistant professor of historical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and Zinzendorf School of Doctoral Studies.

Edith Johnson has served for more than forty years in global missions and for twenty-five years she served as Advisor to Cornell International Christian Fellowship. She holds a master’s degree in counseling and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Edith is a member of Global Member Care Network serving missionaries around the world.

Rebecca Kotz is an advocate, speaker, community organizer, activist, liberation educator, consultant, and writer on sexual politics and feminism. She has worked at various social change and anti-violence organizations in Minnesota. She founded and facilitates a program for convicted male offenders, Men Accountable for Sexual Exploitation.

Nicola Lock (BSc, Grad Dip EFT, MMin, MAPC, AAOS, PACFA Reg Clinical) is course coordinator and lecturer in pastoral counselling at St. Mark’s National Theological Centre. She was the founding director of The Cottage and has over 25 years of experience as a counsellor, therapist, supervisor, and counselling educator and serves on a number of Anglican Church professional practice bodies.

Min. Johnrice Newton is a registered nurse, licensed minister, and earned her Master of Divinity at Brite Divinity School-Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth, TX. She is a community health nurse for CitySquare in Dallas, TX. Newton is president and founder of Tapestry Ministries, Inc. which hosts the YES (Youth Expecting Success) Program that serves at-risk teens, and Tapestry Women Ministry that provides emergency resources for women affected by domestic abuse. She is the author of Healing Voices: Women of Faith Who Survived Abuse Speak Out, Volume 1.

Annette Oltmans is a survivor, advocate, and founder and chairman of the board of The M3ND Project. Her personal experiences of recovery, extensive field research on Original Abuse and Double AbuseR and writings provide insight regarding the correlation between unconscious and conscious abusive behaviors and the trauma they foster. Annette developed protocoled models that are taught and implemented in churches and professional organizations across the US. She serves on the Board of Pepperdine University’s Boone Center for the Family and is a Trustee of Northrise University in Zambia.

Dr. Jeanne Porter King is founder and president of TransPorter Group Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in leadership development, diversity and inclusion training, process facilitation, and influence coaching. Dr. Jeanne has developed global leadership programs and trained and coached leaders on nearly every continent. Dr. Jeanne received bachelor and Master of Science degrees from The Ohio State University, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from McCormick Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy in organizational communication from Ohio University.