We can strengthen our churches by addressing misconduct prevention through resources like Ministry Safe. This training is important because many lack understanding of the issue and have created procedures that only guard a small portion of misconduct that takes place such as:
In terms of supporting abuse survivors, the SBC Presidential Task Force led to the launch of the Caring Well Challenge beginning at last year’s SBC Annual Meeting. The goal is to provide churches with a simple, adaptable, and usable pathway to enhance efforts to prevent abuse and to care for abuse survivors. The 8-step pathway of the Caring Well initiative includes:
The focus of this year’s national ERLC Conference was the Caring Well Challenge. The Dallas training conference included keynote speakers, survivor testimonies as well as breakouts. All of the main sessions from the conference are now posted and available at www.erlc.com/caringwell.
Recently released is a new Caring Well resource, The Introductory Guide to Caring Well. Whether a church is reviewing existing care policies or creating them for the first time, this free guide will provide assistance to church leaders who are working to implement effective policies and procedures in their congregations. This practical guide aims to present a foundation of topics to consider, sample language and policies provided by leading sexual abuse prevention advocates, and links to further resources to help dive deeper into each area of prevention and care.
This guide was created as a resource for the Caring Well Challenge (CWC). The CWC is a unified call to action on the abuse crisis in the Southern Baptist Convention. The challenge provides churches with an adaptable and attainable pathway to immediately enhance their efforts to prevent abuse and care for abuse survivors. This resource will help churches walk through step six of the challenge which is to prepare by reviewing and enhancing prevention practices, policies, and procedures.
Please note that this guide is just a starting point designed to raise questions and direct you to issues you should be thinking about. This guide is not comprehensive legal advice for every church. The reality is that caring well for those in your care means working through these issues for your church, your context, and your ministries. Copying and pasting information from a guide or from the internet won’t make your church a safer place.
Furthermore, Caring Well is important because of the huge number of abuse survivors who attend our churches and live in the communities surrounding our churches. Kimberlee Norris of Ministry Safe put it well, “We will never be accidentally excellent in addressing abuse and those who have suffered this.”