New policy established Oct. 15, 2020 – voted on and approved by the Cornerstone board of elders.
Note: This policy addresses cases of suspected dishonesty, misconduct or fraud by a Cornerstone leader or church member. For general complaints and concerns—such as personal grievances, issues of theology, a church decision or practice, or a leader’s character—see the Complaint Resolution Policy. For claims of sexual abuse or harassment, see the “Love Listens” Policy.
This policy addresses cases of suspected misconduct, dishonesty or fraud by elders, leaders, employees, or members of Cornerstone Community Church and gives guidance on the appropriate response.
Two commitments are foundational to the Whistleblower policy:
First, Cornerstone is committed to maintaining honesty and integrity in all of its dealings, both within the church and externally. As a church we are committed to remain above reproach, and we expect our leaders and members to have the same commitment.
Second, Cornerstone is committed to deterring, detecting, and correcting all instances of dishonesty or misconduct. We purpose to protect innocent parties and take disciplinary action against offenders. Disciplinary measures could include exposure and reproof before the church, referral to law enforcement officials, recovery of assets, and dismissal, among other measures.
This policy applies to all manner of dishonesty, misconduct or fraud involving leaders or members of the church. This would include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Actions in violation of church policy
- Theft or misappropriation of church property or assets
- Intentional misstatements or other irregularities in church records
- Incorrect financial reporting
- Misuse of church resources
- Violation of any federal, state, or local law, rule or regulation
- Immoral or unbiblical activities
Cornerstone explicitly prohibits these and any other dishonest, fraudulent or illegal behavior by its elders, church staff, volunteer staff, and others bearing responsibility for ministry or administrative functions in the church.
1. Reporting a concern. Every Cornerstone member has the responsibility of reporting suspected misconduct, dishonesty, or fraud within the church. Concerns should be set forth in writing, specifying details of names, times, places, and actions. The written report should be directed to one of the Cornerstone pastors, who will normally share it with the other pastors.
2. Investigating the concern. The pastors will develop a plan for investigating the complaint, typically including an interview with the accused, along with appropriate witnesses and any relevant evidence. The investigative team will make reasonable efforts to protect the confidentiality of the complainant.
3. Report to complainant. The investigative team will inform the complainant of the plan and time frame for investigating the complaint.
4. Disciplinary action. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Cornerstone pastors will determine what corrective or disciplinary action is appropriate.
The following safeguards are designed to protect any individual who reports a violation:
No retaliation. Any member of the church who in good faith reports a violation shall be protected from harassment or retaliation of any kind. A leader, employee, or member who retaliates will be subject to disciplinary action. This safeguard is meant to encourage a victim or witness to raise concerns within the church before seeking resolution outside the church.
Confidentiality. Violations or suspected violations may be reported either in confidence or anonymously. Reports of violations, including the complainant’s identity, will be kept confidential to the extent consistent with the need for an adequate investigation. Documentation related to a reported violation and its investigation will be maintained in confidential files, with access allowed only on a need-to-know basis or as required by law.
Anonymous allegations. As a rule, complainants are expected to put their names to allegations to allow for adequate investigation. Concerns submitted anonymously will be investigated if warranted by the seriousness of the issue raised, its credibility, and the likelihood of confirming the allegation through other sources or witnesses.
Nothing in this document should be construed as an attempt by Cornerstone Community Church or its leaders to engage in the practice of law. The information contained in this document is for general guidance on matters of interest only. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal or other competent advisers.