Pastors and ministry leaders: Raise your hand if college or seminary prepared you for protecting children from abuse, religious liberty battles or the culture war over gender and sexuality.
No? Well, you’re certainly not alone! As America seems to be transitioning to a post-Christian era, our churches and ministries walk a slippery and perilous tightrope.
We face issues and challenges unimagined just a generation ago. Today’s teenagers are infused with ideas and moral beliefs that are totally at odds with traditional Christian values. How we handle this “new reality” is now our most critical step forward. Anti-Christian forces are tugging at the tightrope, intent on seeing us plunge into the abyss.
As the leader of Christian boys adventure movement Trail Life USA (www.TrailLifeUSA.com), I work closely with churches across the nation. We have more than 830 troops operating in churches across all 50 states. I believe every church and ministry leader needs to be especially vigilant right now on three fronts:
1. Protecting Children From Abuse
We live in an increasingly sexualized culture. Netflix received just criticism for its recent depiction of girls in the controversial film, Cuties. Jeff Dalrymple, director of the Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention, has noted that one in every three girls and one in every four boys will be sexually abused in the U.S. before the age of 18. As churches and ministries that mentor young people, we must cultivate robust child protection measures. With many troops meeting at local church facilities, the Boy Scouts of America’s sex abuse scandal has fired a warning shot across the bow of all America’s churches. Our top priority must be to ensure that every single child in our churches is protected against any form of abuse. Church leaders, if you haven’t already done so, you need to put policies, protocols, and safeguards into place now to make sure this catastrophe never happens to any child in your church.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Mark Hancock