In this month’s newsletter, I want to take the conversation about security in a direction that maybe you haven’t considered. I realize that by tackling this subject there may be some of you who choose to ignore or don’t what to hear what is truly threatening the security of our churches. All too often, as Christians, many of us fail to be real and don’t want to believe that what I am addressing is happening in our churches.
Lately, if you watch or listen to news or entertainment shows, it is hard to not hear about the sexual abuse that is going on in various areas of our society. Recently, we hear from the entertainment industry, work environments, sports, and even an accuser of a former youth pastor that occurred years ago. But guess what? The few sexual abusers and predators that we have heard about only recently haven’t even scratched the surface of what I believe is going on and this would include in our churches. A 2015 article in Ministry Matters cites a Baylor University study of clergy sexual misconduct and they “found that 3 percent of female church members who were surveyed said that they had been subjected to inappropriate sexual advances or actions from clergy at some point in their lives.”
Some additional statistics come from a 2015 resource put out by Covenant Eyes (http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornography-facts-and-statistics/). Below is a small sample of the statistics provided in the link above, specifically relating to clergy. There is much more available for all demographics and the effects on the family and ultimately the church.
“If you think you can’t fall into sexual sin, then you’re godlier than David, Stronger than Sampson, and Wiser than Solomon.” – Bill Perkins, Christianity Today
- In August 2000, Christianity Today conducted an exclusive survey of its readership—both laity and clergy—on the issue of Internet pornography:
- In August 1999, 11% of the calls received on Focus on the Family’s Pastoral Care Line were about pastors and online porn. One year later, in August 2000, online porn worries prompted 20% of the calls.
- 33% of clergy say they have visited a sexually explicit website.
- Of those who have visited sexually explicit websites, 53% say they have visited the sites a few times in the past year; 18% of clergy said they visited explicit websites between “a couple of times a month” and “more than once a week.”
- Among the clergy who use Internet porn, 30% do not talk to anyone about their behavior.
I believe that there are two attitudes going on in the hearts of men all over our churches right now. One attitude is, “I hope I don’t get caught” and the other one is, “I can keep it hidden. I have up to this point just fine”. These are lies men in our church are being told by Satan, every day.
Scripture is clear on this matter:
Luke 12:1-3 “In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”
Numbers 32:23 “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”
First, let me address the security of everyone who enters a church. It is imperative that you have the necessary policy and procedures in place to best protect the children, workers, staff, and visitors from the predators who are among you. Educate the parents. I grew up in a church where, as a kid I could run around and was free to come and go, with my parents not having any concerns about my safety from a sexual predator. This cannot be the case in the world today. I have done assessments at churches where the kids are roaming the building freely or they have been allowed to leave their classrooms by themselves, travel to get a drink and/or go to the restroom. Many parents and churches have the mentality that it would not happen to them or in their church. Really? Is their family or church exempt from sin?
There are steps that can be taken to help stop this from becoming another news story of pain and lives and marriages destroyed when there is something that can be done.
- Every church leader (pastor, elder, deacon, staff member) should lead by example and have accountability software on every electronic device that they and their family has as well as establishing accountability partners. Covenant Eyes (http://www.covenanteyes.com/) is a faith based accountability software working with churches around the country to free them from this bondage.
- Since there are men struggling with sexual sin in your church, and it is just that, a sin that needs to be addressed, there are resources available to help. One of the best resources I am familiar with is, Conquer Series (www.conquerseries.com) which has helped more than 500,000 men in over 70 countries to get free from sexual sin.
- Screen every person you hire. This goes beyond just a background check that does not identify sexual predators unless they have been arrested. Dr. Dave Stephens with CV Ministries can do employment screening to further protect your staff.
- Educate those who are working in your church, especially those working with the children and students, as well as your safety/security team. Ministry Safe provides great educational videos with testing after each unit. (www.ministrysafe.com)
CV Ministries works with churches and ministries around the country to transform security through prevention and training. If there is anything that we can do to help the safety and security of your church move forward, we would love to talk with you further. We are passionate about the safety and security of our churches and all who use the facilities.