Boz Tchividjian, the founder of G.R.A.C.E.—a leading organization that equips religious groups to deal with sexual abuse—today announced that he will be resigning as executive director of the organization in May. During an interview on The Roys Report, Tchividjian also said he will be leaving his teaching position at Liberty University School of Law and will return to practicing law, focusing on helping victims of sexual abuse.
Tchividjian, who’s the grandson of famed evangelist, Billy Graham, started G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) in 2004, and says he has mixed feelings about leaving the organization. But he added that G.R.A.C.E. has grown more in the last 18 to 24 months than it’s grown in the last 10 years. And he thinks now is the time to hand over leadership to someone with a different skill set.
“G.R.A.C.E. has never been about me,” Tchividjian said. “It’s always been about serving and advocating for the wounded and educating and equipping Christ’s Church. And so, I think it’s time that somebody come after me, who has maybe different gifts than me, to take the organization and move it forward.”[pullquote]“G.R.A.C.E. has never been about me. It’s always been about serving and advocating for the wounded and educating and equipping Christ’s Church.”[/pullquote]Tchividjian added that there’s dearth of lawyers equipped to represent sex abuse victims. So he believes investing the next 20-25 years trying to fill this void is a good use of his training and experience.
“Many of them (lawyers) should not be doing this,” he said. “They don’t understand victimization. They don’t understand the church . . . And they end up re-victimizing their own clients. I’ve encountered so many of these survivors who’ve been actually re-victimized by the very lawyers who are supposed to be advocating for them.”
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Prior to founding G.R.A.C.E., Tchividjian served as a state attorney in the 7th Judicial Circuit of Florida. While there, he created the first Sex Crimes Division at the Office of the State Attorney, and personally prosecuted hundreds of sexual victimization cases.
While at G.R.A.C.E., Tchividjian oversaw a number of high-profile abuse investigations, including one involving abuse at a boarding school run by New Tribes Mission, and the alleged mishandling of sex abuse allegations at Bob Jones University.
Even though Tchividjian will no longer serve as executive director of G.R.A.C.E., he says he hopes to remain on G.R.A.C.E.’s board. He emphasized that the organization will continue to advocate for sex abuse victims.
“G.R.A.C.E. is not going anywhere,” Tchividjian said. “We are here to stay. I long for the day where the world doesn’t need our organization, but we’re a long way from that. And so . . . as long as there is this horror inside of the church, G.R.A.C.E. is going to be there.”
Tchividjian has already begun taking clients at his new law firm, Landis Graham French.
To hear the full podcast of my interview with Tchividjian, which explores how churches and Christian organizations should respond to allegations of sex abuse, click here. Tchividjian talks about stepping down from G.R.A.C.E. from 23:00-27:10.