Basyle Tchividjian (Boz Tchividjian as he is more commonly known), a professor and founder of the organization GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), is leaving the organization he founded and his position as a professor at the Liberty University School of Law. With this move, Tchvidjian intends to devote the majority of his time to representing victims of abuse as a litigator.
“The next 20-25 years of my life, I want to dedicate it to that,” Tchividjian said in an interview with Julie Roys that was published on Saturday.
While Tchividjian admits he has “mixed feelings” about resigning as the executive director of the organization he founded in 2004, he says “GRACE has never been about me. It’s always been about advocating for the wounded and serving and equipping Christ’s church.” Additionally, as someone who has “been around ministry” most of his life (he is one of Billy Graham’s grandchildren), Tchividjian says he never liked seeing individuals hang on too long to ministries they founded because their identity was wrapped up in them.
Tchividjian points to a dearth of prosecutors who can rightly handle the case of a victim of sexual abuse as his inspiration for returning full time to being a litigator. Many lawyers who do this kind of work “don’t understand victimization and the church community,” Tchividjian told Roys. In the end, these lawyers re-victimize the clients they are trying to represent. He currently has a handful of cases he is working on, but intends to focus the majority of his energy in this field after he formally resigns from GRACE in May.
Tchividjian formerly served as the assistant state attorney in the 7th Judicial Circuit of Florida. During his time there, Tchividjian created the first sex crimes division at the Office of the State Attorney. That position allowed him to personally prosecuted hundreds of sexual victimization cases and oversee thousands more. Currently, Tchividjian is of counsel with the law firm Landis Graham French.
GRACE Will Continue Its Much-Needed Work
“GRACE is not going anywhere,” Tchividjian wanted to assure listeners of his interview with Roys. “I long for the day when the world doesn’t need this organization, but we’re a long way from that. As long as there is this horror inside of the church, GRACE is going to be there,” he said, referring to the prolonged sexual abuse crisis that is currently shaking up both the Catholic and Protestant church.
Not only is the work of GRACE going to continue without Tchividjian at the helm, all signs point to the organization growing in influence. Tchividjian said it is quite busy right now, adding “We’ve grown more in the last 18-24 months than we’ve grown in the last 10 years.” He believes God has someone selected to be the next leader of the organization who can take it “where he [God] wants it to go.” Tchividjian emphasized for a second time that GRACE has never been about a person, “rather the persons we serve.” He is hopeful the next leader will potentially have different gifts than he does and can move it into this next, hopefully very fruitful, season.
Roys pointed out “it is a sign of a healthy organization when a leader can leave and it can continue.”