Normally, when we use the word “opportunity,” we think of “possibilities.” In most cases, opportunity is a good thing and we want more. But there’s a dark side to opportunity when it comes to the chance to make a serious mistake. In a recent program called the “Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation (SHIFT), researchers wanted to find out what causes college students to engage in sexual activity – particularly when it leads to sexual assault. The research will be published soon in a book called “The Sexual Project,” and outlines what they call “the often hidden forces of campus ecosystems that determine how and when assault happens.”
What is almost comical (and another reason to lament vast amounts of money going into these research projects) is that after thousands of hours of interviewing college students, they discovered that hanging out in student bedrooms leads to sex. (Shocking I know.) So now, after decades of mixed gender dormitories, colleges are scrambling to find other places for students to hang out – hopefully places that won’t lead to sex and sexual assault.
While that realization isn’t shocking at all, it did make me think of all the moments of “opportunity” that have led to sexual encounters in churches and ministries across this country. After years of helping churches navigate the aftermath of moral failures, I can tell you that the vast majority begin behind closed office doors.
In other words, if churches and ministry organizations simply installed glass doors, windows, or glass walls, it would be one concrete step to help eliminate the “opportunity” for sexual encounters. In so many cases, once you follow the trail of how full blown affairs began, they so often started in an office behind closed doors.
Many would counter that if an affair is going to happen, it will happen, no matter what. I get that, but looking back at so many incidents, it’s surprising how many began simply because they were able to close an office door. Pastors, leaders, employees, and even youth – so many “opportunities”could be eliminated by simply making offices, meeting rooms, and other facilities open and visible.
The question is – are church leaders serious enough to spend the money to make those changes? Trust me – the tragic impact of a pastor or leader’s moral failure and the devastated lives that result is far more damaging than the financial expense of installing glass doors or windows.