The First Of A Compelling Invitation To Faith Leadership

The First Of A Compelling Invitation To Faith Leadership

The following is a true story from a former client many years ago.  At that time posting sex offenders online was a new resource.  She becamehead in sand concerned about a man whom she knew was teaching children’s Sunday school at her church.  He had been in jail for incest.

She confirmed his identity through this then new resource (yes in dinosaur computer days not so long ago!) and felt shocked and dismayed that he was being allowed to be working with children.

She set up a meeting with the pastor.  She assumed he would want to know how dangerous the situation was to the children he was around.

Side note:

For those of you who may not know, a therapist must report to Child Protective Services if it is suspected that children are or have been sexually assaulted.  A stepparent or live in partner is also considered family in such a situation.  The repeat offense of such predators is in the 90+percent range.  I give you this information to emphasize that it is our responsibility to protect our little ones from predators.
Back to the story:

She was told by the pastor that yes, he had served his time and was no longer a danger to children.  My friends, I believe he believed what he said.  This belief is one of many uninformed community leaders that can be corrected with a bit of education in our faith communities.

A few churches are demonstrating courage. Westgate in San Jose CA has a sexual abuse group. There are others.  When a former client of mine retired she found a church whose leadership was very savvy about all kinds of sexual perversions and were committed to make their church a place of safety, resources, and education so the whole community could grow and mature.  What joy there is when the weak and strong can be glad to be together in such  situations.  Her name is Cory (permission granted) by the way.  Her story is in my book as well as in a blog post.

Resistance to such educational possibilities within our faith communities is most likely two-fold.  1.) Leadership is unaware of the prevalence, impact, and implications for the health of the church community and 2.) They do have an idea of what the above implications might be but view themselves as unequipped, it’s not their responsibility, or are afraid of being overwhelmed. Where there is fear there  there s no love. Making fear based decisions is not living in our God design.

Ignorance of such things as the prevalence and impact of sexual violations and the fear that keeps us from finding ways to create a compassionate community is inexcusable.  Safety, boundaries, education, and giving available help resources can attack this hidden plague of sexual assault.

It is all around us all the time.  If the Bride of Christ provided safe places to talk about it and start a healing process I suspect many eyes would be opened and our faith communities would grow together in Joy of the Lord.

“Most of us can relate to having taboo topics that are off limits to talk about at work, at church, or in our own families.  These are all examples of moments of disorganized attachment.”  (Thrive: Changing My Generation, Year Two Intermediate Skill Training, Chris and Jen Coursey, pg.128).

 

Comments

  1. This was a good read and something to keep in mind. I too attended a church in San Jose where a young 20-something guy was allowed to work within the Children’s ministry. He was very touchy feely to the kids, thankfully he only hugged my kids. Others he went too far and one kid spoke up. He is now in jail. Screening should take place in all Children’s ministries.

  2. I am glad you shared your story. Thank you so much. I hope and pray for an awakening in the Bride of Christ on this ‘not-fun-to-face’ issue.

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