After Guidepost Solutions released a scathing report about the leadership of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, including how board members turned a blind eye to Zacharias’ misdeeds for years and spent nearly $1 million defending him against sexual misconduct allegations, the board of RZIM has said while they do “not agree with everything in it,” they hope to still “repent and learn from our mistakes.”The board of RZIM to a report from Guidepost Solutions that looked into Zacharias’ actions, as well as oversights by the organization’s board and ministry leadership.
“Although we are releasing this report, we do not agree with everything in it,” the board of directors wrote in a statement. “We believe there are inaccurate accounts or pieces of information that were either overlooked or omitted by Guidepost and we disagree with some characterizations therein. Regardless, we believe this report provides an important assessment of our organization’s actions to investigate Zacharias and the steps we sadly failed to take.”
RZIM initially reached out to Guidepost back in February 2021 to independently investigate the organization’s structure, culture, policies, practices and more, including how leadership handled any former abuse allegations against Zacharias, the founder who died in 2020.
After months of investigating, the report revealed that the organization had used nearly $1 million of ministry fund to pay for Zacharias’ legal bills after sexual misconduct allegations in 2017. This conclusion shows that “Zacharias himself did not pay a single penny, even though RZIM was not a party to the legal action.” The board had previously said no ministry funds were used for Zacharias’ legal actions. The report also found that leaders had been aware of allegations against Zacharias’ inappropriate behavior since at least 2008.
Overall, Guidepost concluded that RZIM leadership exhibited “near-complete loyalty” to Zacharias even among his “inconsistent and incomplete explanations, evidence undercutting those explanations, and an ever-evolving storyline that played out in the Christian and mainstream media.”
In its report, Guidepost suggested recommendations for the board to help amend the situation, including advising the organization to periodically train staff about sexual harassment, abuse and misconduct and to better “demonstrate the ministry’s commitment to prevent this improper and illegal behavior.”
It also recommended changes to RZIM leadership, expressing concern about the organization moving forward given many of the current leaders and directors are the same individuals who were in charge during the time of Zacharias’ allegations.
“It will be difficult for the current RZIM leaders and the board to rebuild trust with the ministry’s employees and members and to reestablish their credibility as leaders, because of their previous failings,” Guidepost suggested.
In response to this, RZIM stated even thought the last year and a half has “brought to light painful and sinful realities which have impacted so many lives,” they still believe they can change and move forward.
Following the allegations in 2020, RZIM restructured itself into a grant-making organization. In March 2021, the new CEO Garth Morrison announced that RZIM would change its name and remove all content featuring Zacharias from the organization’s website.
“We at RZIM sincerely apologize for the enormous pain caused by Ravi Zacharias’ sin and our failure to uncover it sooner,” the board concluded in its statement. “Regretfully, we trusted and defended a man of whose integrity we were firmly convinced.”