Highlighted by a panel discussion hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), more than a dozen church and ministry leaders will address the sexual abuse crisis in the church during a series of breakout sessions at the 2019 Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Annual Meeting in Greensboro.
Seven breakout sessions addressing various aspects of preventing and responding to sexual abuse are scheduled from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11, at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The ERLC panel discussion will follow the breakout sessions from 4:45-5:30 p.m.
All sessions are free and open to the public.
ERLC staff members Dan Darling, vice president of communications, and Josh Wester, director of strategic initiatives, will facilitate the discussion titled, “Caring Well: The Abuse Crisis and the Caring Well Challenge.” The panel will focus on the “Caring Well Challenge,” a unified call to action for churches to confront the abuse crisis. A local North Carolina pastor who is leading his church through the “Caring Well Challenge” will also be part of the discussion.
The first 180 people who attend the ERLC “Caring Well” panel may receive a $10 meal voucher so they can eat at the hotel following the panel before the first session of the Annual Meeting begins at 6:15 p.m. Attendees may request the vouchers at the panel discussion.
The sessions that precede the “Caring Well” panel will feature representatives from the Baptist state convention, the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina and the CareNet counseling network, who will address a variety of topics related to abuse and the local church. Topics will include preventing, identifying and responding to sexual assault, protecting children in missions and camp settings, safety and security procedures in children’s and youth ministry, helping female survivors and more.
The panel discussion and breakout sessions addressing sexual abuse undergird efforts across the SBC to prevent sexual abuse and care for abuse survivors. Earlier this year, the Baptist state convention’s executive committee endorsed the “Statement of Principles” presented by SBC President J.D. Greear that called for efforts to educate, equip and support churches and ministries to understand and prevent abuse and care for abuse survivors.
In June, LifeWay Christian Resources, the ERLC and the SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Study released a resource titled “Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused.” The resources is a free, comprehensive training curriculum that combines a handbook with 12 video lessons designed for church staff members, lay leaders and volunteers. The resource is available at churchcares.com.
More information on the “Caring Well Challenge” is available at caringwell.com.
This fall, the North Carolina and South Carolina Baptist state conventions worked in partnership to release a resource to help women’s ministry leaders minister to victims of sexual abuse. This resource is available as a free download at respondingwell.org.
The breakout sessions addressing sexual abuse are among the more than 40 total sessions being offering during this year’s Annual Meeting. The sessions will be led by pastors, ministry leaders, church practitioners and convention staff members. They are designed to provide biblical and practical equipping in a variety of ministry areas.
In addition to Monday afternoon, breakout sessions will also be offered Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 11 a.m. to noon and from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
A complete list of breakout session titles, descriptions, times and locations is available at ncannualmeeting.org/breakouts.
The theme of the 2019 N.C. Baptist Annual Meeting is “God’s Great Work,” which will focus on the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. The meeting will include a special church planting commissioning service during the evening session on Monday, Nov. 11 and will conclude on Tuesday, Nov. 12, with an evening worship service related to the SBC’s “Who’s Your One?” evangelism initiative that will feature a message by Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the SBC’s executive committee.
The two-day meeting will also include ministry reports and other convention business, including officer elections and the adoption of a Cooperative Program missions and ministry budget for 2020.
More information about this year’s Annual Meeting is available at ncannualmeeting.org.