Prompted by Ravi Zacharias’s Abuse, Missions Organizations Are Urged to Assess Accountability

The International Conference on Missions president says leaders on the wrong path depend on Christians who don’t want to know.

A megachurch pastor who was mentored by Ravi Zacharias warned 4,000 missionaries, ministers, and church leaders at the International Conference on Missions (ICOM) on Friday about the dangers of not holding leaders accountable.

“Those who are on the wrong path are depending on you to give them the ultimate benefit of a doubt,” said Jeff Vines, pastor of One&All Church in San Dimas, California, and the outgoing president of ICOM, during his keynote address. ICOM brings together about 300 missionary and missionary-serving organizations associated with the Independent Christian Churches and the Stone-Campbell movement.

“Those of us in leadership who are on the wrong path are depending on the fact that you don’t want to know about it,” Vines said. “Any organization in this day and age that does not create systems of accountability will eventually come to ruin.”

Zacharias was scheduled to speak at ICOM in 2019. The world-famous apologist got too sick and had to cancel.

The revelations of sexual abuse that came out after Zacharias’s death in 2020 have forced ICOM leaders, along with many others, to reassess what they thought they knew about Zacharias and about effective ministry structures. Vines was close enough to Zacharias that he was one of a few hundred people at Zacharias’s funeral. He described responding to the reports of abuse as a process of going through the five stages of grief, starting with denial.

“I thought, No way, it’s a big lie. Someone’s trying to get him,” Vines said. “Ravi loved me like no one ever loved me before. He took me under his wing.”

When an independent investigation by the law firm Miller & Martin confirmed …

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