“for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.”
I don’t know about you, but my church is largely oblivious to the comings and goings of our national convention. They only know about SBC stuff when I tell them. So, when the results of the Sexual Abuse Task force were revealed, I was not sure what to do. I was tempted to let them remain blissful in their ignorance.
On the other hand, if the statistics on abuse are true, there are victims in my church even though their abuse is not from within my church. Within every church are silent sufferers whose history is horrific. That horror created within my team a resolve to help victims and prevent abuse. My team and I are committed to making Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church a place safe for children and unsafe for future abusers.
As a result, we are doing three things. First, we are addressing prevention. Next, we are clarifying reporting. Last, we will be caring for victims better.
Let me take a moment and share our plan in hopes that you will create one of your own for your church. Our plan certainly contains elements of building the bridge as we cross it. Rather than sharing a completed plan, I’m sharing our work in progress to encourage you to create your own.
My encouragement to you
is to establish a process of
prevention, reporting, and care
within your church family for
victims of sexual abuse.
In the past at MABC, prevention was limited to background checks and making sure volunteers were not alone with kids or students. We have engaged the services of Ministry Safe for improved background checks. Included in our partnership with Ministry Safe are training videos that leaders are required to watch with a comprehension test at the end.
Second, our reporting is simple. We are empowering every leader and every volunteer with the authority to call the police if they have reason to believe a child is in danger. Each leader has been given the non-emergency number for our local Police Department and, through the Ministry Safe videos, are better aware of the signs of a groomer and the evidences of abuse.
Last, we are forming partnerships with local Christian counselors. We are reviewing their Statements of Faith to make sure that they line up with our own. Also, we are investigating where they earned their degrees to ensure that their Christian counseling is actually Christian.
In addition to these partnerships, we have set up a designated fund for victims of abuse. This fund is for people within our church and it is reserved for our counselor partners. However, it is not limited to those who have been abused while at our church (which we hope will be no one!).
Friends, the sexual revolution has been a destructive force within our country. Sadly, society is running as quickly as possible towards theft, death, and destruction. My encouragement to you is to establish a process of prevention, reporting, and care within your church family for victims of sexual abuse.