Taking Steps to Guard the Vulnerable and Strengthen Church Integrity

As we travel around EFCA’s North Central District, our staff are often asked questions like…

What should we be doing to screen our paid staff and volunteer leaders?
How can we protect our children and reduce the risk of abuse within our ministries?
How should we respond when someone comes forward?
What can we do to strengthen the integrity of our church, especially related to how we protect and serve the most vulnerable among us?

At our 2019 NCD District conference, we shared the lessons we are learning and steps we encourage our churches to take to help guard the vulnerable and strengthen the integrity of our churches.

The list below is by no means exhaustive. We will continue to gather resources and share guidance in the future.

Here is what we recommend:

  • We strongly encourage you to understand and implement Minnesota statute 604.20, which requires you to inquire about past sexual exploitation offenses when hiring to a ministry role.
  • We have been reminded that every church needs to develop a security policy to protect the vulnerable, especially children.
  • Likewise, we always encourage churches follow mandated reporting laws when a person is credibly accused of sexual abuse (Minnesota Statute 626.556).
  • We encourage initial and ongoing background checks for all church staff.
  • We recommend every church regularly seek input from your insurer regarding resources, tools, and best practices for your congregation.
  • We strongly encourage you to require EFCA ministerial credentialing of all eligible staff members. This is the best way we can help you protect children and strengthen church integrity.
  • Finally, it is very important that every church implement a compassionate and principled response and protocol to reports of abuse.

This month, we will be sending a letter to the leadership team of every North Central District church that includes these recommendations. We welcome your questions and are committed to walking alongside you as you work to protect the vulnerable and strengthen your church’s integrity in these important ways.

In Christ,

Brian Farone
District Superintendent
North Central District | Evangelical Free Church of America