Andyouinvitedmein’s Weblog

WW(y)CD?

Posted on: September 11, 2009

What would your church do?

There seems to be a firestorm of press going on about City of Refuge in Louisville, KY concerning the ordination of a registered sex offender. You can find details about this on most newsfeeds.  As well you can find out the stats about people who are abused. The numbers are staggering—I know because I teach young people about unwanted touches.

However as Christians who believe that God can redeem and make new, this may just be the beginning of something we will need to consider in our churches. What happens when a registered sex offender comes to church? What happens when they want….(and you fill in the blanks).

I know of a church that believed they could not refuse them, but established strict guidelines that if (s)he was to be at church, (s)he was to be in the company of the elders. I have read in the Christian Post that Rev. Randy’s church has set down strict guidelines as part of the ordination.

At one time 20+ years ago I had a preacher tell me that he would not allow a person with AIDS in his congregation and I was to not “bring that plague” into his church. To me it was crazy that someone could be refused entrance into a church…therefore, what about this situation? What do we say? How do we respond as Christians who have been forgiven?

It is time to consider the road to be taken if this happens in your church. Can this person participate in worship? Socials? Sunday school? Certainly they will truly learn what grace is by how you respond. There should be reasonable conditions asked of this person, but the overall question is: how can you lovingly embrace this person so that you display Christ?

Not every registered sex offender is like the man in California who held Jaycee captive for 18 years. We have friends whose son is a registered sex offender, and I’ve seen him participate in church. This isn’t a blog to convince you of the degrees of offense, but it’s one to make you think about what might happen, and ask how would you respond? How difficult is grace at this point—especially if you have been molested?

Here’s a fairly recent stat: only 4 out of every 100 sex offenders are ever caught. I got that figure from a training video from the YMCA. Therefore if that information is correct, then you’re probably going to church right now with someone who has at least acted improperly with a person under 18. However, that isn’t the point of the blog either. Blog point is this: would this push us all to our grace limit, and can we do it?

In closing this situation in Louisville is an opportunity for us to forget what unsaved newspersons are thinking, and begin to listen to God. While there won’t be a great number of churches that ordain a registered sex offender, there are many who might become home churches to these offenders, and in this situation: What would your church do?

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