Last week I came across this article I found in someone’s facebook feed. America’s largest church is facing a 10+ million dollar lawsuit because of something that happened (or didn’t happen) in their children’s ministry. Who knows what is going to happen, but this whole thing probably could have been prevented. The article states:
The lawsuit accuses the church of negligence in its investigation, in reporting the alleged incident to police and in lacking surveillance that could have saved Guzman from being wrongfully accused of a crime. The church also is accused of failing to adequately train security and failing to take corrective action after similar previous events, the lawsuit states.
If this article doesn’t scare the poop out of you, then there is a good chance you’ve gotten too comfortable with your policies and procedures around the prevention and reporting of inappropriate actions toward children within your ministry. Our first priority should always be to protect the kids. Secondly, we need to prioritize protecting the volunteers who serve in our ministries. In addition, we need to prioritize the protection of our church. A lawsuit like this could mean the end of your church as well as your career in children’s ministry.
Obviously, this lawsuit is too new to know what really happened, but it appears that a child was not molested. However, potentially poor training/reporting didn’t protect a volunteer. This ex-volunteer who was arrested and endured a trial by grand jury will never be the same, and depending on what happens with the lawsuit, it may cost the church dearly.
Honestly, we don’t really know what happened. Only time will tell. However, I think that most of us can see how a situation like this could easily play out in our ministry due to a lack of training or the failure of just one volunteer to follow procedure. Let this be a sober reminder to get your policies in writing, train every volunteer in how to handle similar situations and have them sign off on this aspect of their training. Lastly, follow these procedures “BY THE BOOK!” We can not afford to slack in this area.
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Thanks for posting this, friend.
Praying for our friends at Lakewood and for those involved.
We all need to be diligent – too much is at stake for us to be slackers.