You may have heard that this past week the report of an independent investigation was released concerning sexual abuse by clergy in the Southern Baptist Convention, including inappropriate behavior by some convention leaders, and how the issue has been handled or addressed by some prominent leaders in the SBC. This investigation was ordered by the messengers at the SBC annual meeting in 2021. This report is available (and linked here) to read in full if you wish.
This report documents how reports of sexual abuse were handled at the Executive Committee of the SBC and by some prominent leaders of the Convention, including some former presidents of the Convention (most frequently by suppressing reports of abuse, failing to support victims, and failing to take any steps to ensure that abusers could not move to another church and repeat their abusive behavior). The individuals identified as failing to take action or worse, being involved in abusive behavior or threatening or punishing the victims of abuse, are no longer employed by the Executive Committee and no longer hold any leadership positions in the Convention. The report includes recommendations for changing the culture of coverup that seems to have pervaded the upper echelons of the Executive Committee.
Our church endeavors to protect all members from abuse, not only from staff and church leaders but from church members. Anyone who works with children and youth must first have a background check done. If you have any concern about any questionable or inappropriate behavior, please report it to the pastor, the deacons, or the deacons’ wives. This can then be investigated confidentially. If you have questions about this process, please talk to the deacons.
You may ask why our church would remain part of the Southern Baptist Convention in light of this report. The Southern Baptist Convention is more than these fallible leaders; it is the many churches who work together to carry out God’s Great Commission to share the gospel with our country and the world. Working together we can be a part of ministries we cannot accomplish on our own.
Likewise, you may ask why we would continue to support the Cooperative Program. Of the funds we send to our state convention designated for the Cooperative Program, 70% of those funds remain in our convention. 30% is forwarded to the national convention. Of that amount, 50% is allocated to the International Missions Board, and almost 23% to the North American Missions Board, so 73% is going directly for missions activities. Another 22% goes to theological education at our seminaries. Only 3% goes to the Executive Committee for administrative and operating costs. So for every $100.00 we forward to the Cooperative Program, $.90 go for administrative and operating costs (less than 1%). Cutting off Cooperative Program funds would make very little difference to the administrative costs, but would have a much bigger impact in our state convention and our missions entities.
Please join us as we pray for the safety of our church, and that the necessary changes will be made in our denomination. Please also feel free to reach out to us with questions you may have, or for help if you have been the victim of abuse in the past. We want to help people find God’s healing from the wounds of abuse. We pray that we will be part of the solution to the problem of abuse.