Executive Committee addresses sexual abuse issues

March 26, 2019

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Executive Committee took action on two separate measures aimed at helping N.C. Baptist churches prevent sexual abuse and care for abuse survivors during a regularly scheduled meeting held Friday, March 22 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.

The Executive Committee endorsed a “Statement of Principles on Abuse” that was one of several calls to action made by Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President J.D. Greear when he addressed the SBC Executive Committee on Feb. 18 in the aftermath of a three-part investigative report by the Houston Chronicle on sexual abuse cases across the Southern Baptist Convention.

The statement outlines three overarching principles to help “churches and ministries in our states to become safe for survivors and safe from abuse.” The principles are:

  • To educate affiliate churches and ministries to understand abuse.

  • To equip churches and ministries to care for abuse survivors.

  • To support churches and ministries to prepare to prevent abuse.

“What J.D. is trying to do is work with state conventions that are working with churches in their particular conventions,” said Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSCNC executive director-treasurer. “Our efforts are to educate churches and try to help them know how to prevent things like this from happening, help them know what they need to do when it is discovered and help them know how to deal with the situation.”

“A key thing is we cannot forget the victims.”

State convention leaders are calling on pastors and ministry leaders to recognize, report and respond to cases of sexual abuse.

Morality motion
In addition to endorsing the Statement of Principles, the BSCNC Executive Committee voted to have the state convention’s Articles and Bylaws Committee draft a proposed amendment to the BSCNC’s articles and bylaws, as well as an accompanying policy that would allow for the removal of individuals serving in leadership positions with the state convention for a moral failure.

In January, the BSCNC’s Board of Directors approved a motion to have the Executive Committee develop a policy by which board members could be removed on moral grounds. Currently the bylaws define three circumstances in which a board member may be removed from service — failure to attend the minimum number of meetings required, moving out of one’s geographic region or moving out of state.

State convention legal counsel John Small recommended that the Executive Committee refer the matter to the Articles and Bylaws Committee since the articles and bylaws address how individuals are selected for various leadership roles with the convention and how they can be removed. Small also recommended that any proposed bylaw amendment or policy not only address board members, but also other leadership positions such as convention officers, committee members and others.

“If we’re going to tackle this issue, my recommendation is to look at it from all of these different areas and do what’s appropriate in all of those areas,” Small said.

In referring the matter to the Articles and Bylaws Committee, the Executive Committee requested that a report and recommendation be sent back to them by the summer for consideration with the goal of having a final proposal presented to the BSCNC’s full Board of Directors in September during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting. Any measure adopted by the board would then be presented to messengers attending the BSCNC’s Annual Meeting in November for final consideration.

Abuse-related resources available
Brian Davis, BSCNC associate executive director-treasurer, informed Executive Committee members that the state convention has a variety of resources available to help pastors, churches and ministry leaders address the issue of sexual abuse. The BSCNC is also working with other state conventions to help them develop their own resources.

Davis said convention leaders are calling on pastors and ministry leaders to take a three-pronged approach when dealing with cases of sexual abuse that includes recognition, reporting and responding.

“We want them to recognize when sexual abuse has taken place, make sure that it is reported accurately, correctly and in a timely fashion, and respond in a way that ensures that abuse does not continue, and victims and survivors are ministered to in a Christ-honoring way,” Davis said.

Other business
In other business, the Executive Committee:

  • Authorized the transfer of $250,000 from state convention reserve funds to the N.C. Baptist scholarship fund that is administered by the N.C. Baptist foundation.
  • Approved the appointment of Heath Lloyd, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Reidsville, to the BSCNC’s Committee on Nominations to fill the unexpired term of Ben Curfman, a bivocational minister in western North Carolina.

Next meeting
The next scheduled meeting of the BSCNC Executive Committee is Thursday, April 11.

The next scheduled meeting of the BSCNC Board of Directors is May 20-21.


by Chad Austin  
/  Communications  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

EDT search team ‘moving closer’ to recommending candidate

The search committee charged with finding the next leader of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is “moving closer” to recommending a final candidate to North Carolina Baptists as the next executive director-treasurer. Search committee chairman Noah Crowe provided an...

‘The mission moves forward’

North America is a mission field of complex cultures and diverse religious practices. Missionaries here face challenges from secularism to language barriers to a historic health crisis. Yet, in spite of the obstacles, God’s mission always moves forward. Your partnership helps make...

Deadline extended to recommend individuals to serve

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Committee on Nominations has voted to extend the deadline to submit recommendations for individuals to serve in various leadership roles with the state convention and its related entities.Recommendations will now be accepted...

8 strengths of plural leadership

Several years ago a pastor friend from a nearby Baptist church invited me to share with his congregation some biblical teaching on plural elder leadership. As I waited for the service to begin that evening, a display in the church’s foyer caught my attention. It was the original...

6 questions to reframe your ministry vision after COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us all into new rhythms. Stay-at-home orders for all but the most essential of professionals, caregivers and service providers have dramatically impacted families, businesses and government. Churches are not immune from this impact. Social...

Top 5 resources for March 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...

Seeking sending churches

One of the biggest obstacles to planting effective new churches is a lack of qualified, prepared planters. In recent times, before COVID-19, I sat in a room with evangelical church planting leaders from across the nation. In presentation after presentation these national leaders...

‘Reimagine’ resource addresses today’s realities, tomorrow’s possibilities

How does your church see this COVID moment? On a recent webcast by the Barna Group titled “Caring for Souls in a New Reality,” panelists posed the question, “Is this an interruption or a disruption?” An interruption means that this is only a temporary interference in our lives,...

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!