Frequently Asked Questions
Updated: June 30, 2023
Vineyard USA hired Guidepost Solutions to conduct an independent third-party assessment related to 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. This is not a full assessment of all of the activities and ministry of Vineyard USA presently and historically.
Vineyard USA was 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. At 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.
Guidepost Solutions was engaged in September 2022. The Assessment began in earnest in November 2022, following our public announcement to Vineyard pastors and leaders. Guidepost Solutions conducted it’s assessment and investigative work into June 2023. A Draft Report was provided to VUSA on June 5th, 2023 for review. As is common, Vineyard USA reviewed and provided feedback to Guidepost Solutions on June 9, 2023 regarding any factual inaccuracies. The Final Report was delivered to Vineyard USA on June 26, 2023. The report was estimated to take approximately 9 months and was completed within the expected timeframe.
No. Vineyard USA identified a number of Case Studies that typified challenges to our governance model and structural limitations. Each person involved in a Case Study was asked to voluntarily contribute their information, perspective, and support to the process in order to help Vineyard USA address these historic challenges. We are grateful to everyone who has supported this Assessment and we will honor our commitment to ensuring their privacy.
None. Guidepost Solutions was contracted to do the Institutional Assessment. At this time, the scope of that engagement has been completed. The Report and recommendations provided are now in the hands of Vineyard USA to implement.
Over the coming months, National Team members will consider two primary factors related to the recommendations:
- What must be done first? Some of the recommendations must be considered in an order that makes sense. As you’ll see, certain recommendations can only be considered after other recommendations are implemented. As such, it is now the responsibility of Vineyard USA to review each recommendation and consider which recommendations are most important and their order of operations while still taking into account the capacity and resources required to implement them.
- What can be done quickly and with the greatest impact? Some of the recommendations have already been addressed during the assessment with processes that were underway or developed by various National Team members based on their responsibilities.
The Report contains nineteen specific recommendations. Vineyard USA is now responsible to review and consider each recommendation offered by GPS. These recommendations will not be quick to fully implement, although some may take less time than others, and some have already been implemented already. On their own, each recommendation will require significant time and effort. Together, we anticipate that these recommendations will take years to adequately implement. Vineyard USA will be putting together a plan to assess and prioritize the recommendations now that the Report is public and map out an implementation process.
1(c). Ordination and Credentialing: Vineyard USA and local Vineyard churches should work together to establish a process for joint ordination/credentialing of pastors within the Vineyard movement in the United States. – In Q2 2022, Vineyard USA began a nationwide conversation with Vineyard pastors regarding ordination. This process is just underway and will be further discussed at the upcoming National Conference in August 2023.
1(i). Continue to Enhance Training and Programming for Leadership, Staff, and Volunteers: Vineyard USA should create and provide training programs to support any newly created policies or processes. – Vineyard USA has directed local church pastors and leaders to consider available training related to the care of survivors of abuse. ChurchCares.com is a free resource that is available immediately for boards, pastors, ministry leaders, and volunteers. Vineyard USA is working on additional training, but is pleased to recommend this resource to Vineyard USA churches.
2(a). 24-hour Reporting Email: Vineyard USA should continue to make available the Reporting Email to receive reports of concerns of leadership misconduct. – On March 16, 2023, Vineyard USA asked Guidepost Solutions to set up a 24/7 confidential reporting mechanism so that church attenders and staff can report any concerns or allegations of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, assault, and abuse, directly to Guidepost via . Vineyard USA would recommend that lcoal churches make this information easily accessible, including it on their church website where appropriate, so that it can be fully utilized.
2(b). Reporting Email Visibility: Vineyard USA should more prominently highlight the Reporting email on Vineyard websites, making it available on its main page. Vineyard USA should also encourage local churches and other affiliates of Vineyard USA to highlight the reporting email. – Following our initial communication to Vineyard pastors and leaders, Vineyard USA has placed the “Report Abuse” link in the footer of every page of the Vineyard USA website. Vineyard USA would recommend that lcoal churches make this information easily accessible, including it on their church website where appropriate, so that it can be fully utilized.
Vineyard USA will continue its commitment to “broadly consultative and transparent processes” as we address each recommendation. While plans have yet to be developed, we will certainly look to experts within and beyond the Vineyard movement to inform best practices, processes, and policies in addressing each of these recommendations.