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February 11, 2024
February 13, 2024

Partner Message Concerning Aaron Ivey's Dismissal

Last updated on Monday, February 12, 2024, 1:14pm CST

In an effort and desire for complete transparency, we must make you aware of a disqualifying situation regarding one of our former pastors, Aaron Ivey.

On Monday, February 5th, Aaron Ivey was fired from staff after it came to light that he engaged in inappropriate and explicit ongoing text messages with an adult male. Several elders were made aware of this situation on the evening of Sunday, February 4th and after reviewing the explicit nature of these messages, it was clear that termination of Aaron’s eldership and employment was necessary in accordance with the clear biblical standards outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and 1 Timothy 5:19-20.

Since then, we have uncovered multiple similar instances with different individuals dating back to 2011 that show a very clear pattern of predatory manipulation, sexual exploitation, and abuse of influence. Three of the known instances involved adult male individuals. However, one known instance, in 2011, involved a minor male outside our formal programming.

Due to these abhorrent instances, we feel it necessary to share the timeline as we currently understand it, though we will not be surprised if more is uncovered:

  • 2011: the first known instance, which took place with a teenage male victim and continued over time, involved inappropriate and explicit communications, indecent exposure, and the use of alcohol and illegal substances
  • 2020: involved inappropriate and explicit ongoing texts with an adult male
  • 2021: involved inappropriate and explicit behavior with an adult male
  • February 2024: involved inappropriate and explicit ongoing texts with an adult male (this was the cause for discovery of the pattern of inappropriate behavior)

As elders, we are heartbroken for the victims and their families. Knowing the Lord’s sheep are worth our protection and our love, we are committed to loving this body and rooting out evil. We know this may affect your trust because we know it certainly has rattled ours. As you likely know, we rigorously train all our staff and leaders to prevent this with our partners at MinistrySafe. We are devastated to learn that those measures have been circumvented. MinistrySafe has been informed and will walk with us to ensure that we do everything possible to serve the victims and those who have been sinned against. We are committed to doing our very best, and we need your help, as we care for those affected by this terrible situation. We covet your prayers for the individuals affected, our leaders, and our church as a whole.

We know this news is devastating, and that you may have questions about this or want to process with someone. That is normal and expected and right. In addition, if this has brought to mind something from your own story, we invite you to speak with someone who can help you. Our elders, staff, and leaders are available to spend time with you and pray with you. If you don’t know who to connect with or where to go, you can start by emailing our Care Team at care@austinstone.org and we’ll make sure you are connected to the right person.

Though we are deeply grieved by all that has happened, we are confident that even in the darkest valleys, we do not need to fear because our Good Shepherd is with us. Jesus is still King, He will build His church and we can trust Him to bring good even through the hardest days. This will inevitably change many of our immediate plans, but it doesn’t change the call or the sure and certain victory of Jesus’ church. As we sit in a posture of humble hurt, we also want to grab hold of any strands of gospel hope that we can.

We lift our weeping eyes to Jesus, the author and protector of our faith. He alone is worthy of our hope and our lives.

Reporting

We have contacted the following appropriate authorities:

  • For the instance involving a minor, we have reported to The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
  • For the instances involving adults, the Austin Police Department has instructed that we cannot make a report on their behalf, rather each adult must cooperate with APD in making their report, which we are encouraging.

Resources

We want to provide you with multiple resources, including contact information and our established policies for ministry staff and volunteers.

Contact Information
Established Policies for Ministry Staff and Volunteers

We continue to follow and improve upon all of our established policies and practices under the programs and guidance of MinistrySafe. If you have any additional questions regarding the practices or policies, please reach out to your congregation’s Family Ministry Leaders or email info@austinstone.org

Read More about MinistrySafe

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Elders of The Austin Stone
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