When a Sex Offender Shows Up At Your Church


The man sitting across your desk has just admitted to being a convicted child molester. He has served his time and now wants to attend your church. What do you do? A situation like this requires a pastor to walk a fine line between compassion for the sinner and responsibility to other parishioners. We offer the following considerations:

  • Pray for discernment regarding the man’s level of sincerity and deliverance.

  • Tell the man that you have a legal and moral responsibility to do everything necessary to protect the children of the church.

  • Meet with your board to decide whether you will only inform key people (i.e. children’s workers, etc.) or the whole church.

  • Take into account the “gossip factor.”

  • Inform the man he is forbidden to be around children—especially unattended.

  • Assign a mature, godly man to monitor his movements while in the church.

  • Require on-going counseling with a biblical counselor who can minister to him and stay abreast of his struggles.

  • Be proactive. Have a plan and be prepared to act on it decisively and quickly should disaster ever strike.

Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.

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