‘Abuse of Faith:’ One year later

February 7, 2020

Southern Baptists were shocked and dismayed one year ago this month after the Houston Chronicle printed a series of articles titled “Abuse of Faith.”

These articles reported that numerous sexual abuse cases with teens and children had occurred in Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) churches. In some instances, these heinous acts were repeated over the course of several years. Sometimes, abusers moved to different ministry contexts, often unchecked, allowing their patterns of sexual abuse to continue.

Even though some people may question the reality or even doubt the extent of this reported abuse, I am convinced that we need to ask how must we address and respond to this issue?

It is a reality.
If we have learned anything this past year, it should be that thinking this kind of sexual abuse could never happen in your church is just not true. Sexual abuse can happen during numerous church-related activities at any sized church when you least expect it to occur. It can happen by individuals you would never expect to behave like that. Those who think otherwise are uninformed or not taking this issue seriously.

It must be exposed.
We should take every allegation of abuse seriously. Pastors and church leaders should not be the ones determining whether or not allegations of abuse are credible, nor should they be the ones conducting investigations into those claims. Those matters should be left to the local authorities.

It can be prevented.
We should also do everything in our power to prevent abuse from happening in the first place. This includes having documented policies and procedures in place regarding children and volunteers that fit your ministry context. At the very least, all volunteers should be screened with a background check.

As a state convention, we have responded to the abuse crisis over the past year by providing resources and training events for pastors, church leaders and laity, and we will continue to so. The issue of abuse may be out of the headlines, but it should never be out of our consciousness. Our churches should be safe places from abuse and safe places for those who have been abused.

As part of our ongoing efforts to assist and equip the local church, we are providing a new series of trainings that will take place across our state beginning later this month. These events, titled “Safety and Security in Your Ministry Context,” are scheduled for 11 locations throughout the state from Feb. 27 to Dec. 11.

Several state convention ministries have come together to offer this training, and it will address topics like preventing sexual abuse, recognizing the grooming process, creating and enforcing policies, and much more.

Each location will offer two training times to accommodate as many people as possible. Registration is just $10 per person and includes lunch or dinner, depending on the training time you choose. You can learn more and register at ncbaptist.org/safetyandsecurity.

I hope you will make plans to attend the training nearest you. Creating safe and secure ministry environments for our children and the vulnerable is a responsibility we all share.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6 (NASB)


by Milton A. Hollifield Jr.  
/  Executive Director-Treasurer  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Will you ‘Fill the Tank’ on Sept. 12?

One of the things I like to do when I visit churches is peek at their baptistries. I often see baptistries that are full, but they are full of Christmas and Easter decorations. Through the years, I’ve seen some baptistries that don’t look like they’ve been used in years. In every...

Top 5 resources for August 2021

Every month, we spotlight five helpful resources for you as you seek to walk closely with the Lord and make disciples. Many of these resources are created by the staff of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) to help meet the ministry needs of pastors and lay...

Listening — a road map for evangelism

In my first year of ministry, I spent a week in the summer at Caswell with a group of youth from Riverside Baptist Church, the church I pastored in Bertie County. There, I met Mark, a volunteer youth leader who brought three teens from the church he served. The afternoon of our...

What happened when 1 pastor designed a service around baptism

Phil Goble Jr. didn’t like how baptism was often tacked onto the end of a worship service, so he decided to do something different. “Baptism is more than just being dunked and sat on a pew,” said Goble, pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Hayesville. “It is a public...

Resolution submission deadline is Sept. 10

The deadline to submit resolutions for consideration by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Committee on Resolutions and Memorials is quickly approaching. In accordance with state convention bylaws, proposed resolutions must be submitted to the committee in...

How to make baptism services memorable

Baptism is a major celebration in the Baptist church. The Baptist Faith and Message describes baptism this way: “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s...

NCMO provides for vital health screening ministry

NCMO provides for vital health screening ministry Your gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) provide for vital health screenings to underserved individuals which, in turn, opens the door for gospel proclamation across North Carolina. This ministry, operated by...

3 questions to ask when parenting based on strengths

3 questions to ask when parenting based on strengths Working with families who have teenagers at home is always a novel and often difficult experience. As one youth leader said after returning home from summer camp, “We are dealing with very hard situations, such as homosexually,...

Join us to learn how to create a safe and secure environment for your ministry. 

Email [email protected] or call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5646

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!