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Should You Allow Registered Sex Offenders in Church?

In his article, “Registered Sex Offender: A Sample Church Membership and Attendance Policy,” Brad Hambrick says it’s crucial for churches to be proactive about creating a policy regarding sex offenders in church. He exhorts churches to become familiar with their state laws pertaining to sex offenders and notes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” policy for every church. Hambrick advises churches to prepare to care for everyone impacted, including the offenders’ families. Further resources on that subject for church leaders are included at the end of his article. 

Boz Tchividjian, who is the founder of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), told CBN News that it is more common for churches to neglect the safety of potential victims than it is for them to not do enough to help an offender. Said Tchividjian, “There is this belief that we have to be forgiving and we’re being unforgiving and judgmental if we create too strict of parameters.” 

If sex offenders wish to attend a church, Tchividjian recommends checking their court files to see how truthful they are being about their crimes. He believes offenders should not be allowed to attend corporate worship, but should be restricted to small groups. The small group attendees should all be adults who are aware of the sex offender’s status. 

Tchividjian also recommends that church leaders check sex offender registries to find out if any are currently attending the church. He said, “One of the things that can be a little misleading or dangerous is to be so focused on the identifiable sex offenders and probably ignore the reality that there are more in our midst that have never been caught.”

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Jessica is a content editor for ChurchLeaders.com and the producer of The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past five years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.