What Can We Learn from Penn State?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Tom Bryant, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was watching the ongoing horror of what has happened at Penn State. But I watched it from the viewpoint of what the University did and didn't do. I was praying that it would never happen at our church, but also trying to think through what policies we have now in place to make certain that if it does happen and is seen, that it is reported and dealt with.

    What policies do you have in place at your church, both written and unwritten?

    What has Penn State done and not done that was can learn from?
     
  2. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Penn State made a LOT of mistakes, all the way up the chain. Even the witness didn't do everything right.

    In a university setting, they have their own police dept. The witness should have gone to them as well as the next person up the chain of command. That would have prompted an internal investigation that could have been defended against! (at better than the defense they have now)

    Instead it appears no one at Penn State ever sought the opinion of law enforcement. It even appears as if they "pushed the matter under the rug" to keep from dealing with it directly. After all the coach was well known and in line to replace Paterno (sp).

    How does this relate in a church setting? Not very well.

    At church the use of 2 people anytime children are present, men making sure they aren't alone with a woman in a closed room, that sort of vigilance is the best that can be hoped for. As long as the you have policies set up and followed then you have done the best you can as a church pastor. Then if you have an incident, God forbid, both church leadership and law enforcement needs to be reported too. It's looking the other way and thinking something is a one time event that gets organizations in trouble. (or, the "he'd never do something like that!" mentality)
     
  3. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    We have a highly developed child protection policy with zero tolerance for anyone, and we mean anyone, who violates it. We run background checks on all volunteers in children and student ministries and all staff members.

    For a church not to have this is asking for trouble. We've turned away four individuals this year who have wanted to help with children's ministry but had problems. They disappeared from our church. I pray they are likewise screened elsewhere.
     
  4. preacher4truth

    preacher4truth
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Who or what agency do you use for screening?
     
  5. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    These are good policies. It is especially important that they are zero tolerance issues.
     
  6. exscentric

    exscentric
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,253
    Likes Received:
    16
    Seems to me "policies" are to prevent anything from happening, but after it has happened morals ought to take over so that it gets reported. I have no idea what policies are/were in place but after it happened it seems moral standard was rather missing.
     
  7. mandym

    mandym
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,991
    Likes Received:
    0
    What kind of problems?
     
  8. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know what preachinJesus had, but we discovered that a would be volunteer had a criminal record that would have kept him from any kind of child care position. It was far in his past and he had been saved since then. But he understood why we couldn't allow him to take care of children.

    He served the Lord with adults and was used of God mightily.

    We had 1 person who volunteered and when they found out we did background checks left the church. Maybe it was because we ought to be trusting, but maybe not. We don't apologize for that and the parents appreciate that.
     
  9. mandym

    mandym
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Messages:
    4,991
    Likes Received:
    0
    My question is based on the vague sentence. I( am asking what kind of history would keep someone from being illegible to work with children but not be straight out violations involving children.
     
  10. WWJDKID

    WWJDKID
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    I personally think Paterno got a bad wrap. They are treating him as if he did the crimes himself. He did more then many people do " Told those in charge". It is like a member of the church telling the pastor about something that is going on and the pastor doing nothing. The member should not be treated so bad. They trusted the pastor would do what is right. They may not have done everything perfect but who does? It was a hard situation. He could have done nothing but he did something and that should be looked at also. Bwe. Give the guy a break.
     
  11. exscentric

    exscentric
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,253
    Likes Received:
    16
    "It was a hard situation." Very true and any one of the people calling the police would have stopped it.
     
  12. WWJDKID

    WWJDKID
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, He put it in the hands of the people who are responsible to take care of situations like these. Unfortunatly they let the school and most importantly the children down. The man that did these crimes should pay and those who did nothing when they found about about it. Not the person who tried to do something. He may not have done enough in everyones eye's but he should not be treated as harsh and now seems as though, he will retire after the year is over. Sad... He was a good man and coach and did alot in life and this one instance is ruining him.
     
  13. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,262
    Likes Received:
    64
    Here is a question:

    In your State (or Province), are you, as a minister or pastor a mandatory informant?

    Reason I ask is that my wife is a teacher in the public schools and she is obligated by law to report child abuse to the guidance counselor and nobody else. I wonder at what point she calls the police? I don't know, but I'm going to ask her.

    So if we are a mandatory informant, to whom must we report in our particular state?

    How is it in your state?
     
  14. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    this sounds like what we do as well.
     
  15. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    I'm not completely certain. Our children and student ministries handle these issues. Off the top of my head I know the agency, or method, is highly credible and we pay a lot per check. Which is 100% worth it.

    We have a number local and federal law enforcement agents that are involved with our church. That is an aid as well.
     
  16. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    In Alabama, I believe CPS is the agency to report too. I could be wrong but I don't believe so.

    Other states may do things differently.
     
  17. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    I can't be too specific about our instances but often churches report finding people with outstanding child protective orders against them, recent offenses, past offenses, and other matters dealing directly with crimes against minors.

    As a rule while we appreciate and want to seek restoration for people who have failed in the past, and even those who failed before they were saved, no person who has committed an offense against children is allowed to work with them at our church. We have had to talk with a couple of people about it and they are generally understanding.
     
  18. jaigner

    jaigner
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,274
    Likes Received:
    0
    For starters, they should engage in a serious and thorough investigation into any claim of impropriety and turn the matter over to the police.
     
  19. exscentric

    exscentric
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,253
    Likes Received:
    16

    We do not know all the details either. When the story is out, if it ever is, maybe we can hindsight it much easier :)
     
  20. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    A thought just occurred to me this morning... even before coffee which is a dangerous thing! :tongue3:

    One of Coach Paterno's major mistakes was not following up on a complaint. We need to make sure that complaints never fall through the cracks just by doing the minimum.

    I think another mistake he made was that since it wasn't him who saw it and he had not done anything wrong, he felt it wouldn't bite him on the butt. We, as leaders, need to know that everything that happens at church comes under our watch as under-shepherds of Christ's flock.
     

Share This Page

Loading...