LEBANON – Sexual abuse in the church is a topic no one wants to discuss, but it’s one the people of God must address in a sinful world, said David Burch, church engagement strategist for Missouri Baptist Children’s Home.
Stewards of Children is an abuse-prevention training offered by MBCH. It’s a comprehensive awareness training that not only teaches people what signs and symptoms they need to be looking for, but it also helps them see as a church where the threats really are coming from. It gives them five steps to make a personal prevention plan and also to know how to respond if abuse is discovered, disclosed or suspected.
“Although some of the information is shocking,” Burch said, “it’s very compelling training. You leave with some good, practical awareness and action steps.”
John Pulley, pastor of Union Southern Baptist Church here, attended a recent Stewards of Children training for Laclede Baptist Association churches.
“It’s an awareness thing,” he said. “I’ve been aware of the issue, but the training revived my senses to be aware of what could happen in our society today. It’s something every church needs to be aware of, not just certain people in certain churches in certain places.”
Engaging with the community
Recently in Diamond, the Stewards of Children curriculum also presented an opportunity for the church to engage with their community.
“If you look at any school’s website, you can find a list of their teacher in-service days,” Burch said. “I go with the pastor or the leadership team at the church and we offer to bring this training to your teachers during the day as an in-service training at no cost to the school. It lets the church interact with those teachers, and then we ask that the school would help us communicate to all the parents in that school system that in two weeks we’re doing this same training at the church and we would love for them to come and get the same training that your child’s teacher got. It tells the community, ‘Our church cares about kids.’”
Churches interested in the Stewards of Children training can contact Burch at 417-380-1082 or firstname.lastname@example.org.