Jump directly to the content

Association Calls for Prevention Commitment by Churches

Resolution calls pastors and church leaders to adhere to high ethical standards and establish practices to prevent misconduct and address accusations appropriately.

Association Calls for Prevention Commitment by Churches
Image: harpazo_hope | Getty

“The Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) approved a resolution at its semiannual meeting on March 7, 2019 lamenting the tragic violation of trust by ministers of the gospel who have sexually abused church members, and particularly children.

The resolution also calls pastors and church leaders to adhere to high ethical standards and establish practices to prevent misconduct and address accusations appropriately. … The NAE encourages pastors to sign the Code of Ethics for Pastors, church leadership teams to sign the Code of Ethics for Congregations and Their Leadership Teams, and all church leaders to:

  • Thoroughly vet all staff hires including rigorous background and reference checks;
  • Screen and provide child protection training to all volunteers who have access to children;
  • Establish confidential third party mechanisms for receiving reports of abuse;
  • Ensure that all members of the church community know how to report concerns;
  • Investigate reports promptly and thoroughly, without defensiveness;
  • Take decisive disciplinary action where violations have been corroborated; and
  • Offer pastoral care and support to those who have been affected by abuse of any kind.”

The Church Law & Tax take: The sexual abuse of a minor remains a perennial top reason churches go to court each year. Attorney Richard Hammar, recognizing the threat in the early 1990s, crafted Reducing the Risk, a turn-key screening, selection, and supervision program for churches to prevent abuse. This resource, which was recently updated, covers many of the recommendations made in the NAE resolution.

Matthew Branaugh is editor of content and business development for Church Law & Tax at Christianity Today. He earned his juris doctor (JD) with honors from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • March 14, 2019

Related ResourcesView All

Youth Ministry in a #MeToo Culture
Youth Ministry in a #MeToo Culture
Develop boundaries and a reporting structure that keeps your youth program safe for everyone.
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws
State by state laws to report child abuse.
Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy
Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy
Church leaders and boards can take relatively simple, yet effective steps to reduce the likelihood of child sexual abuse.
Sex Offenders in the Church
Sex Offenders in the Church
Legal and safety concerns to address when dealing with a sex offender.