Christian Ministries Urged To Hold Leaders Accountable Following RZIM Scandal


In light of the Ravi Zacharias abuse controversy, speakers at an international missions conference encouraged Christian groups to hold leaders accountable and rethink their ministry model.

According to Christian Headlines, an impartial inquiry determined that Zacharias committed years of sexual assault prior to his death in 2020.

 According to the report, which was issued in February, the inquiry "did not find evidence" that none inside Ravi Zacharias International Ministries or on its board was aware that Mr. Zacharias had participated in sexual misconduct.

Since the report's publication, the International Conference on Missions (ICOM) reportedly conducted its annual conference last week. Christianity Today (CT) covered the Richmond, Virginia, meeting.

According to the source, one megachurch pastor mentored by Ravi Zacharias addressed 4,000 missionaries, pastors, and church leaders attending Friday's International Conference on Missions (ICOM) about the perils of not holding leaders responsible.

One&All Church in San Dimas, California, pastor and departing president of ICOM Jeff Vines said: "Those who are on the wrong path are depending on you to give them the ultimate benefit of a doubt."

The Independent Christian Churches and the Stone-Campbell movement are represented by ICOM, a coalition of roughly 300 missionary and mission-serving organizations.

Zacharias' burial was attended by a few hundred individuals, including Vines, who was allegedly close to Zacharias. He compared the process of reacting to allegations of abuse to the five stages of grieving, beginning with denial.

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

Nonetheless, the independent inquiry by the legal firm Miller & Martin led Vines to feelings of rage, followed by eventual acceptance.

Consequently, Vines reportedly began to reflect about the missionaries he had worked with in Zimbabwe who operated with no accountability. His mind wandered to the megachurch pastors, who are praised for their public personas and permitted to operate independently of external scrutiny. Using 2 Samuel 11 as a guide, he recalled the misdeeds of Joab, the military leader who heeded David's immoral and unjust instructions without a second thought.

For what he deemed as RZIM's inability to hold Ravi Zacharias responsible prompted Vines to warn ICOM missionaries and clergy to avoid making the same error in their organizations.

"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."

CT noted that Zacharias was slated to appear at the International Conference on Mission (ICOM) in 2019. He was forced to cancel his appearance at the conference because of sickness.

Meanwhile, a new apologetics ministry was launched by Ravi Zacharias' daughter, Sarah Davis, who left RZIM last month.

A Georgia incorporation documents cited by CT revealed that a new ministry would be named "Encounter" that aims to deliver the Gospel to "individuals and engaging in their questions so that they may encounter the love of Christ and enter relationship with Him."