Guard Your Heart Course Description:
GUARD YOUR HEART is an online training program designed to prevent sexual misconduct among Christian leaders. Developed by the Rev. Dr. Marty O’Rourke, the training is used by the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. Its primary purpose is to empower clergy and leaders to finish their race well by understanding the unique problems that they and their families face in a culture where sexual temptation abounds.
Guard Your Heart effectively accomplishes three primary goals: 1) Convincing people that they are vulnerable to sexual misconduct; 2) Considering the potential consequences of yielding to sexual temptation; and 3) Understanding the 10 conditions that must be monitored in order to Guard Your Heart. The training involves watching 14 videos (a total of five hours).
Introduction to Guard Your Heart:
You may find it disappointing that there are not many resources to prevent a leader from yielding to sexual temptation—more resources exist for leaders who have already fallen. I read a great metaphor about this. There are two ways to address the danger of falling off a cliff. One is to position ambulances and paramedics at the bottom. Another is to post warning signs and build a railing at the top. GYH is intended as a warning sign and a railing, then fewer ambulances will be needed at the bottom. I appreciate Archbishop Foley Beach, Bishop John, and Rick Wright who see the need to put up warning signs and guard rails to prevent leaders from going off the cliff.
The Rev. Dr. Marty O'Rourke has served as a local church pastor for over 35 years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Medina, Ohio; and Chesapeake,Virginia. He is passionate about equipping Christian leaders to finish well. While researching sexual misconduct in the church for his Doctor of Ministry dissertation, he discovered that prevention training of leaders reduces the likelihood of moral failure. Most prevention training has primarily a psychological approach, whereas the "Guard Your Heart" prevention training that Pastor Marty developed is grounded in the Scriptures and the social sciences.
Many Christian leaders do not finish well. Paul, who finished well, writes to his spiritual son, Timothy: "Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity" (1Timothy 4:12). The primary purpose of this training is to empower pastors and Christian leaders to finish their race well, by understanding the unique temptations leaders and their families face in a culture where temptation, especially sexual, abounds.
Marty has presented the Guard Your Heart training numerous times to the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA); M.Div and D.Min. classes at Regent University; chaplains at Portsmouth Naval Hospital; the Falls Church staff in Falls Church, VA; Mid-Atlantic Christian University, and hundreds of pastors ahd church planters in Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.