One month ago, in May 2019, we posted an article titled “California School District Teachings on Pedophilia Reminder of Child Sexual Abuse Epidemic and Cover-Ups.” We also introduced a new book we now carry called Wolves Among Sheep by pastor Stacey Shifflet (a pastor who blew the whistle on sexual abuse in the church and was ostracized for doing so). Last week, a New York Times article headlined: “Her Evangelical Megachurch Was Her World. Then Her Daughter Said She Was Molested by a Minister.” The megachurch that is being referred to in this article is Matt Chandler’s Village Church. While the perpetrator against an 11-year-old girl was removed from the church, reported, arrested, and convicted, the New York Times article reveals once again that churches are falling short in how they handle child sex abuse situations including how the victim and his or her family is treated.
The reason Lighthouse Trails posts news stories like the two above is because we care about children, and we know that child sexual abuse is rampant in our society, and sadly, it is happening far too often in churches. We can partly understand why it happens so much in churches: Christians tend to be very trusting people, and sexual predators know it. Let’s face it, kids in churches are easy targets. But once a sexual crime against a child has been reported to church leaders, too often the incidents are swept under the rug, and often the perpetrator is moved to a different church. While that is not what happened in the case at Village Church, if the New York Times article is anywhere near accurate, leadership at Village did not handle things in the best interest of the children and their parents at the church.
But Village Church is just one church. Similar abuse is happening in churches across North America, and too often, predators are not exposed, and the victim and his or her family is looked at as the ones who are causing trouble and disunity. How crazy is that!
Please, if you are attending a church where there are children, make sure everyone who is part of that church is equipped to protect them. As Christians, it is a responsibility that God has placed upon us, and it is far too often neglected. We hope Christian leaders, teachers, pastors, and parents will read Stacey Shifflet’s book as well as Patrick Crough’s book Seducers Among Our Children, both of which give ample biblical and practical advice on how we can protect our children.
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)