The abuse of children in Catholic Churches has been well documented, but TIME Magazine recently covered the Washingtonian Magazine feature on Sovereign Grace Ministries, which had once been hailed by Wayne Grudem as a church to imitate. The report by Tiffany Stanley interviewed several victims and their families who were told to address their experiences of child abuse within the SGM leadership and reconciliation system. Those who approached authorities about child abuse were reprimanded and shunned.
Why this story matters to ministry leaders:
Every church that has had a child abuse scandal believed it couldn’t happen to them. It’s time for every church to have a clear plan in place for protecting, reporting, and healing:
- Accountability Is Essential: The story of Sovereign Grace Ministries is a cautionary tale of a pastor and staff who needed more oversight and accountability for how they handled the safety of children.
- Safety Checks: Children’s ministry programs, church staff, and volunteers should all have background checks and clear guidelines for any events or ministries involving children. A staff person should be assigned to ensure all requirements are consistently met.
- Reporting Guidelines: While every state has different child abuse reporting guidelines, the Sovereign Grace Ministries story reminds us that churches are not above the law when it comes to the abuse of children and authorities should be involved immediately if there is a potential abuse situation.
Do you and your staff have a clear plan in place to prevent or report child abuse?
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