EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated, Nov. 5.
BRANSON – Missouri Baptist messengers at their annual meeting, Oct. 25-26, voted down a motion that would have created a sexual abuse task force in the state convention.
Scott Gordon, a messenger from Claycomo Baptist Church, brought the motion. The motion reads as follows:
“I move that the newly elected President of the Missouri Baptist Convention appoint a task force to examine the issue of sexual abuse for the purpose of developing and recommending a plan to the Missouri Baptist Convention to facilitate the ministries of MBC churches and MBC entities. The task force shall examine the Convention’s history relating to sexual abuse prevention and caring for sexual abuse survivors and whether there are any patterns of intimidation of victims or advocates or resistance to sexual abuse reform initiatives. Furthermore, this task force should recommend avenues for education and better understanding of this issue for the Convention and develop a plan with concrete action steps for more faithful ministry regarding sexual abuse prevention and survivor care in the Convention going forward.
“This task force shall be comprised of nine individuals who are active members of MBC churches, including but not limited to at least one individual from each of the following categories: Sexual Abuse Survivor – if willing to serve, MBC Executive Director, MBC Executive Board Member, Metropolitan Area Pastor, Rural Area Pastor, and a Female Layperson.
“This task force must provide an initial report to the messengers gathered for the 2022 MBC Annual Meeting with a view to a final report to the messengers gathered for the 2023 MBC Annual Meeting.”
The motion failed with a 507-266 vote.
Melissa Wilbanks, a messenger of Parkway Baptist Church, St. Louis, called for a missionary task force to help Missouri Baptists find avenues for mission endeavors. Her motion was referred to the MBC Executive Board.
Josh Andrews, a messenger from Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Edgerton, made a motion proposing new assignments for the Credentials Committee. His motion was referred to the MBC Executive Board under bylaw 5.A.3.a