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Guidepost Assessment

November 3, 2022

In an effort to evaluate and create new healthy processes within Vineyard USA churches, Vineyard USA has engaged a globally-recognized independent third-party organization — Guidepost Solutions — to assess how Vineyard USA and our churches handle leadership misconduct, moral failings, restoration processes, and allegations of abuse and misconduct.

The new Vineyard USA National Team began its work earlier this year, charged in part by the former Executive Team, to “develop a broadly-consultative, transparent process for making proposals around church affiliation to Vineyard USA.” As we have begun to consider how we would run that process, we have identified challenges that face our movement related to leadership misconduct, moral failings, and allegations of abuse. 

In each situation, Vineyard USA faces the challenge of bearing significant biblical and moral responsibility for the conduct of Vineyard pastors, but having very limited structural authority within which to enact that responsibility. As outlined in our governing documents, the responsibility to address these situations currently lies solely with each local church board. That structural reality leads to inconsistent and often insufficient responses, as boards are often unable or unprepared to handle these difficult situations and care adequately for those impacted. 

This is true of a number of current situations around the movement and, in review, true of many historic situations as well. These situations are made difficult by the fact that Vineyard USA’s only legal authority related to local church matters is limited to our Trademark Agreement which, on its own, fails to address the significant pastoral needs of churches and individuals during these challenging situations.

Vineyard USA believes it is important that, at this pivotal moment, we learn all we can about the strengths and weaknesses of our movement’s response to leadership misconduct, moral failings, restoration processes, and allegations of abuse and misconduct.

In line with our commitment to transparency, Vineyard USA has hired Guidepost Solutions to conduct an independent third-party assessment of the manner in which Vineyard USA churches have handled cases of misconduct, spiritual abuse, and pastoral moral failures. This assessment will utilize several current and historic case studies. We are compelled to conduct this institutional assessment of Vineyard USA churches, so that we, as a movement, can develop organizational safeguarding policies and best practices, giving us the ability to support pastors, victims, boards and congregations, while also resourcing the ongoing health of all Vineyard USA churches. In this moment, we believe that the Holy Spirit is calling the church in America — and Vineyard USA in particular — to act with conviction where policies are non-existent or insufficient to address areas of leadership misconduct and abuse.

To conduct this Assessment, we have engaged Guidepost Solutions (“Guidepost or GPS”), a global leader in institutional assessments, compliance, and governance issues to assist us by reviewing our organizational structures and recommending ways we can improve. As part of their work, they will have access to a Vineyard Advisory Panel composed of Vineyard leaders (listed in the FAQs) who will provide context for and oversight of their work. Guidepost will undertake targeted interviews, review our governance capabilities and documents, and assess the ability of Vineyard pastors, boards, congregations, and victims, to effectively identify and resolve issues and concerns about pastoral misconduct and abuse. 

Our goal in this review is to gain recommendations from Guidepost about how we can more consistently support pastors boards, and churches and care for victims of abuse, misconduct, and impropriety. Ultimately, we expect that the recommendations that will be offered by Guidepost Solutions will result in greater clarity and more consistent support for churches and individuals.

We estimate that it will take 9-12 months before Guidepost provides us with a written report of their findings and recommendations. Over that 9-12 month period, members of the Vineyard USA National Team as well as the Advisory Panel will be in regular contact with Guidepost. We look forward to updating you on the progress of Guidepost’s work as we are able.We will continue to update this web page as this process continues.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding this assessment, please contact me (). I would be happy to discuss this further.

Robb Morgan
Managing Director, Vineyard USA