Megachurch pastor John Ortberg kept a family member’s attraction to children secret. Then his son blew the whistle.

Published: July 6, 2020  Updated: July 6, 2020 at 8:00 pm EST

(RNS) — In the summer of 2018, a volunteer at Menlo Church came to the Rev. John Ortberg seeking help.

The congregation member, who volunteered with youth and children at the Bay area megachurch and in the community, had been experiencing “an unwanted thought pattern of attraction to minors” and needed the pastor’s support.

After hearing this admission, Ortberg asked if the volunteer had ever acted on that attraction.

The volunteer said no.

Once Ortberg was convinced the volunteer was telling the truth and was not a danger to others, he prayed for the person and offered a referral for counseling and then allowed the volunteer to continue working with children.

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