Voyle Glover, Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators: Legal FAQs for Church Leaders (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2005), 133 pages.
The author of Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators is a lawyer. It is no surprise then, that the book is first and foremost a legal primer – one intended to help pastors and other church leaders. Any pastor or church leader who follows the advice in this book will dramatically lower his personal and corporate liability in the event of a sexual predator’s attack. Voyle Glover, Attorney At Law, delivers an excellent work in this light.
Protecting is far more than a legal text. It articulates a clear, comprehensive and robust program for protecting the vulnerable young lives within a church. Mr. Glover is also a church member, and obviously cares about the continuing mission and ministry of a congregation. This text enables churches and church leaders to protect lives. The legal benefits are incidental.
Mr. Glover repeatedly points out that “minimizing the church’s liability,” and protecting its children and teens, are the same objective. A church that rigorously and consistently follows Protecting recommendations is much less likely to have an incident. No incident, no liability.
The book includes appendices with valuable and immediately useful resources. There are forms and questionnaires that can be adopted and used immediately to screen volunteers. Several websites and services are listed. There are even summaries of the mandatory reporting laws that are now in force in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Despite his expertise, Mr. Glover freely recommends that a congregation engage a lawyer who specializes in church law. Such steps are prudent in a litigious society. Trust that the Enemy will not hesitate to use the courts to hurt or destroy a church.
Prevention Is The Best Medicine
“Create an environment in the church that is decidedly hostile to sexual predators.” “Take an aggressive, no-nonsense stance.” These two sentences, from the conclusion of Chapter 5, illuminate the approach of the entire book. Attorney Glover insists, over-and-over in the text, that church leaders must adapt a “no prisoners” approach to sexual predators.
Protecting recommends multiple layers of protective mechanisms to discourage predators or eliminate their “hunting” opportunities. Some of Glover’s recommendations include screening volunteer workers, eliminating home sleepovers, and strict classroom staffing and supervision policies. Each layer reduces the opportunities for a child to be victimized, and increases the chances of exposing a predator.
The protective mechanisms recommended in the book are direct and clear-cut. These are mostly common sense solutions, with few to none that intrude excessively.
Church Is Still A Place For Grace
Despite its strong language and stiff recommendations, Protecting does not forget that grace and ministry are at the core of a church’s activities. Churches will not find ministry loopholes in this book.