Vibrant Church lead pastor Jason Delgado has resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.
In Delgado’s letter, he acknowledges his “inappropriate behavior” and said he reached his decision to step down after eight weeks of professional counseling.
“Through this process, I have concluded that the best decision for me and my family is to resign as Lead Pastor of Vibrant Church,” Delgado’s letter reads. “Please understand, this is my decision. I wholeheartedly believe that what is best for us is for me to step away from ministry for now and focus on myself, my marriage, and my family. I sincerely apologize for inappropriate behavior that violated the pastoral trust you have given me. I am deeply sorry for any pain, hurt, or disappointment that I have caused you, and I humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
The church’s announcement comes three days after The Dispatch reported allegations from two female former church employees who said Delgado propositioned them for sex. One of those employees hired an attorney and has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming other church leaders knew about the pastor’s behavior and did nothing. Vibrant had previously posted on its website that Delgado had taken a voluntary leave of absence due to “inappropriate behavior.”
The board of trustees, in its letter, said Delgado spent 60 days on leave while trustees investigated the misconduct allegations and that the pastor submitted his resignation April 1. The letter also defends the church from allegations its leaders did not properly handle the harassment claims when they became aware of them.
“As you may be aware, there have been allegations made and rumors have circulated in the past weeks regarding the conduct of Pastor Jason and Vibrant Church,” the letter reads. “As recently as Sunday, an article was published in the local paper accusing Pastor Jason of sexual harassment while also alleging the church had knowledge of such sexual harassment and failed to address it appropriately. The same article asserts that legal action has been taken against the church in an effort to prevent such conduct from occurring in the future. While the Board of Trustees would very much like to point out the inaccuracies that exist in the allegations made and the story detailing the allegations, we have been advised by our attorneys not to litigate this matter in the press or through social media.
“… Until these allegations were recently brought to the attention of the Board of Trustees and Overseers, we were not aware of the alleged misconduct,” the letter continues. “Vibrant Church’s Board of Trustees and Overseers took the allegations seriously and have diligently reviewed and thoroughly investigated the allegations. The church took appropriate action when it was made aware of the allegations and the church has since determined that Pastor Jason’s conduct, while not violative of the law, did not meet the standards established and expected by the church.”
Mike Stephens is acting as interim lead pastor with trustees actively assisting in day-to-day operations, the board’s letter reads.
“Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:18, ‘On this rock I will build my church and the GATES of HELL shall not prevail against my Church,’” the letter reads.