How to Prevent Sex...Scandals in Your Ministry
By now, you've seen and heard all of the reports and accusations of sexual harassment and even assault of women, all over the media. From Hollywood actors and executives to Congress, to media personalities. Of course, ministry, whether traditional or otherwise, is no stranger to this issue.
According to three insurance companies that represent the majority of faith based institutions, there are over 260 reports of sexual abuse every year involving ministry and or its leaders.
The apostle James warned us when he said, "Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes." James 3:1 (NLT)
It's true people make mistakes. That includes those of us who are leaders in ministry. However, for some, because of their prominence, name recognition and or the organization they lead, comes a greater condemnation, and a much harder fall.
But this does not have to be. There are things you can do to help prevent these kinds of accusations, allegations and scandals in your ministry or organization.
Hear are a few suggestions.
Hear are a few suggestions.
- The Bible tells us in Romans 14:16, “Let not then your good be evil spoken of."
Do not meet or counsel any individual alone in a closed room, office or other wise-- male or female. Always have a credible and reliable witness to assist and accompany you in these types of meetings.
This should be the policy throughout your ministry or organization, and everyone on your team and staff should understand it and follow it. No Exceptions.If you are meeting people alone, stop it now. This is a top 5 big No No for ministry.
- If you lead a "church" ministry, I suggest you practice 1 Timothy 5:22, and "lay hands suddenly on no man or woman."
Before putting your hands (laying on of hands) on a female where she may be suffering from pain or discomfort, remember Jesus' words, " Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves".
Instead, consider having an older, mature female member of your congregation place their hands on the area in question.
- Every organization should have a dress code policy, including ministries.
Let's not sugar coat this issue. The way we dress shows our interests, status, attitude, and personality, and communicates a lot of non-verbal cues about us to others.
Having a dress code policy can reduce the prevalence of certain temptations and behaviors.
- "If you see something, say something."
"Let it not be once named among you..." Eph. 5:3
If you see this issue in your organization, don't ignore it, say something.
If you hear about this issue happening in your ministry, don't ignore it, check it out.
Sticking your head in the sand just makes you look like the part sticking out.
Don't let this behavior become the perceived culture of your ministry or organization.
If you don't have these precautions and policies in place, I suggest you start now. You don't want to have to face accusations or allegations like this because, regardless of whether they are true or false, the damage is done. And if this kind of accusation is true, it can take you or your organization years to recover.