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January 19, 2011

Small Groups, Confidentiality, and the Law

What are the legal parameters for confidentiality in church small groups?

One of the benefits of working on the team at Christianity Today International is that I sometimes get "insider information" from some of the other resources in our corporate family.

For example, the following question was recently sent to the editors over at TheYourChurchBlog.com:

"An issue has come up in our church about peoples' legal obligations regarding confidential matters discussed in small group meetings. We strive to maintain strict confidentiality on things discussed in our small group settings. We want them to be a 'safe place' where people can share their troubles and not have to worry about group members spreading gossip or the information somehow ending up in a courtroom.

One woman we heard from was in a small group in another church and group members were called in to testify against her in court. Before joining one of our small groups she wanted to be assured that sort of thing would not happen.

So my question is, how private are small groups really? We typically get information second-hand and are not usually witnesses to things that happen in people's homes or in their personal relationships."

To continue reading this post on the SmallGroups.com blog, click here.

Sam O'Neal is managing editor of SmallGroups.com.

Related Tags: community, confidentiality, Law, small groups

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