What can my church do to prevent sexual abuse?

February 13, 2020

It’s been one year since the Houston Chronicle broke the news about allegations of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) churches and the response of many churches and organizations to hide or minimize these criminals. The question we must ask ourselves is, what can my church do to prevent sexual abuse in our ministry setting?

Unfortunately, too many churches feel abuse cannot or will not happen at their church. Faulty thinking that “we know everyone here,” “we are a church out in the middle of nowhere,” or “that only happens at big churches” is still prevalent.

The assumption that the church must be a safe place because it is a church leads members to let down their guard. That can be the time when the enemy strikes and devastates the lives of children and teens and the witness of the church to the community through allegations of sexual abuse.

A bright spot is the dawning of a new sense of urgency in some churches to proactively acknowledge that they have a responsibility to provide safe and secure environments for their children and teens.

More associational missions strategists are hosting training conferences in their associations. Both the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) and the Southern Baptist Convention are creating resources to assist churches with policy development as well as offering training on how to prevent abuse.

The assumption that the church must be a safe place because it is a church leads members to let down their guard.

The SBC has created the Caring Well Initiative, and the BSCNC’s Embrace women’s ministry has produced a resource titled Responding Well, to help churches as they respond to those who have been abused. There is now discussion about accountability within the SBC for churches that hide or harbor abusers.

The Baptist state convention is continuing to move forward in assisting churches in this important task. One opportunity for learning more about sexual abuse prevention in your church is a series of trainings titled “Safety and Security in Your Ministry Context” that will be offered throughout the state this year. These trainings will be offered twice a day, morning and evening, so that it will be accessible to as many people as possible. Visit ncbaptist.org/safetyandsecurity for the dates and locations near you.

The BSCNC is also bringing MinistrySafe back to North Carolina on Sept. 18-19, 2020, at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church. MinistrySafe is recognized as a leading authority on sexual abuse prevention training and resources. Kimberly Norris will speak on recognizing signs of abuse in your church as well as steps you can take to vet potential staff, employees and volunteers. More details about this event will be available soon.

Another step BSCNC is taking is to provide a one-stop information and resource page that will soon appear on the state convention’s website.

With the availability of these resources and training every church in North Carolina can become a champion of protecting the children and teens in their church. Are you ready to join us?

For more information about safety and security in your ministry setting, contact Cheryl Markland, [email protected].


by Cheryl Markland  
/  Childhood Evangelism and Discipleship  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Why generosity matters, especially during a pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more people in need around the world. Health concerns, scarcity of goods, job losses, decreased wages and more have stoked fear, hoarding and other concerns. In these days, even the church isn’t immune. On the other hand, the pandemic...

Pastors need prayers, patience amid pandemic

Two recent articles related to the comfort levels of people returning to in-person worship highlight the ongoing challenges that pastors and churches continue to wrestle with amid the COVID-19 pandemic.One survey conducted by the American Enterprise Institute reported that nearly...

Leading from online engagement to in-person gatherings

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, every church leader had to make a decision regarding the use of online-broadcasting for their weekly worship services. Some churches chose not to broadcast their services. Others, like ours, decided to utilize technology as a means to continue...

25 ways to make your service ‘family friendly’ as you regather

By now, your church has probably regathered in some format, either outside the building in cars or lawn chairs or inside the worship center with modifications for social distancing. Many churches will wait until fall to reopen children’s ministry areas. If your church is...

Top 5 resources for July 2020

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...

Getty, Redman headline virtual worship conference

Some of today’s most renowned and influential worship leaders and artists are coming together for a first-of-its-kind virtual training event designed for anyone involved in worship ministry in the local church. The Resourcing Worship Virtual Conference, scheduled for Aug. 1, 2020,...

Guidance for churches on NC’s face covering mandate

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday, June 24, that face coverings must be worn in public places in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Cooper also announced that North Carolina will remain in the “Safer at Home Phase 2” until Friday, July 17.The Baptist State...

Ongoing concerns over SBC declines

Like many of you, I missed gathering with friends for this year’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. As you know, the meeting was canceled in late March due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Canceling this year’s annual meeting was a...

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 *

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the Childhood Ministry newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!