Stories of all kinds of abuses of power in churches pervade the news cycle. Establishing and communicating a clear system of accountability is crucial to protect people and to pursue justice.
It is our sincere hope that Without Walls Vineyard is a place where abuse or abuse of power never happens. Yet we are not naive. The reality is that churches and Christian organizations can be easy targets for abuse because of their emphasis on grace, mercy, and forgiveness. In order for these theological concepts to retain their beauty, they must not be bulldozed onto a person who has been harmed and may not even yet recognize the extent of the damage arising from their pastor or leader contributing to the abuse. One of the ways to help an abusive leader develop a repentant heart is to avoid shielding them from the consequences of their actions. Cooperating with criminal justice and law enforcement agencies is not only required by law (in cases of abuse), but it also helps the individual to see the gravity of their actions. This is part of accountability.
Accountability can also include interventions such as a requirement for counseling given that abusive behavior does not arise out of anywhere; it also does not simply disappear. Accountability might also include a plan for making reparations to victims, including paying for counseling for the victim(s) of abuse.
Without Walls Vineyard Church is under the leadership of the Association of Vineyard Churches, an association of Churches with around 600 churches in the United States and additional churches in over 60 countries internationally.
Our structure of leadership within Vineyard means that local leaders and pastors are in relationships with other leaders who provide oversight and accountability as needed.
If a someone feels as though they have been the victim of abuse or bad behavior on the part of a leader at Without Walls, that person may report directly to the Area Leader or Regional Leader providing leadership oversight to the pastoral team.
Area Leader: Kevin Shoemaker
Regional Leader: Van and Laurie Cochrane
Alternatively anyone can anonymously report to our association’s national hotline at https://vineyardusa.org/report/.