Has anyone seen this? Unbelievable!The Response of Living Word Fellowship to the Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by a Member of our Leadership
We take seriously any reports of mistreatment of our staff, congregation or visitors within the Living Word Fellowship of churches, and we strongly condemn sexual harassment and misconduct of any kind. Such damaging activity should never take place, period, let alone in any church location, and yet we have received credible reports of such inappropriate behavior. As leaders of a fellowship, we recognize that any such occurrence without a strong and immediate response could produce a systemic problem within our church culture, so leadership practices must be addressed.
As a result, we are heartbroken over this, and we deeply apologize to anyone who has been hurt by a member of our pastoral team and by leaders who knew you were hurt but did not properly respond to inappropriate behavior.
We know that no apology can truly make up for such hurts, and that’s why we are taking decisive action. We have already removed leaders who have been involved in misconduct or did not call out or sufficiently address such issues.
In particular, Rick Holbrook is no longer involved in any aspect of leadership or involvement with The Living Word Fellowship, and he will not be allowed back as either a minister, leader, or member of a congregation of The Living Word Fellowship. We are also taking a deep, critical look at our leadership organization—in both structure and specific personnel—and we are taking steps toward necessary changes.
Know that we are taking this very seriously, and we are emboldened that this is the Lord’s church—He will hold us accountable if we do not address these issues. Therefore, our first response is deep repentance and prayerfully seeking the Lord. We are also engaging outside professional advisors to investigate how such situations were allowed to occur and provide us with direction to change the culture that permitted this, and to develop safeguards to prevent misconduct and abuse from occurring ever again.
In addition, we are reaching out to those negatively impacted by this behavior, to offer our apologies as well as counseling with outside professionals.
We believe that as damaging and hurtful as these revelations have been to our fellowship, this has caused us to take a serious look at our policies, procedures, and leadership culture. As a result, we believe this is a new day for The Living Word Fellowship, and our greatest priority now is to help all who have been hurt and see the power of God bring healing and restoration.