Many church-goers assume that a safety bubble exists at their church and is the one place where their children will always be safe. Unfortunately, a quick perusal of the evening news tells a different story of abuse happening in both large and small church settings.

Many church-goers assume that a safety bubble exists at their church and is the one place where their children will always be safe. Unfortunately, a quick perusal of the evening news tells a different story of abuse happening in both large and small church settings. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), child protective services substantiates, or finds evidence for, a claim of child sexual abuse every 9 minutes.

Where allegations of sexual misconduct were once covered up or not believed to be serious, they are now coming to the light of day with a vengeance. Awana reports that 33% of all girls and 20% of all boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18. RAINN reports that ninety-three percent of victims know their abuser — 34% are family members, 59% are acquaintances and only 7% are strangers. RAINN also reports that 23% of sexuall assaults are reported to police and out of that number only 5% results in a felony conviction.

Child protective services substantiates, or finds evidence for, a claim of child sexual abuse every 9 minutes (rainn.org).

So, what can a church do to protect its children, youth, leadership and its own reputation?

A crucial first step is to develop safety and security protocols. Ministry Safe, a nationally known legal and consultative organization located in Texas, is coming to North Carolina to share a five-step sexual abuse prevention process, including awareness training, screening, policies and procedures, background checks, and monitoring and oversight.

Because the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is strongly committed to protecting children and youth and assisting churches in this process, the cost of this training is only $10.00 per person, which includes lunch. Consider bringing your church staff, security team, weekday teachers and other leaders who are involved with the children and youth at your church to this important training.

Ministry Safe training is a one-day training that will be held at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church, south of Greensboro, on September 20 and again on September 21. To learn more about Ministry Safe training and to register your church, go to ncbaptist.org/event-ministrysafe-church-safety-workshop or contact Janet Packard at [email protected].