JEFFERSON CITY – Being good stewards of your local church involves more than caring for spiritual needs, maintaining property, and budgeting wisely. While these are vital ministries, they often require so much attention that we fail to see serious threats lurking in the shadows.
For example, is your church equipped to be a safe place for survivors of abuse, and safe from abuse? Do you have a church security plan? Are you doing all you can to ensure that paid staff and volunteers are vetted properly? Do you have a policy that clearly states the circumstances under which your property may be used for ceremonies such as weddings?
These are challenging issues. Negligence in any of these areas could result in harm to the very people God has placed in our care. Fortunately, there are excellent resources to help your church address these issues.
The Caring Well Challenge. Churches should be a refuge for those who have experienced abuse. But, too often, survivors haven’t found the protection they deserve and the care they need from the church. Are you ready to join other Southern Baptists in changing that? This is an initiative of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the Sexual Abuse Advisory Group. More information is available online at caringwell.com.
Stewards of Children. The Missouri Baptist Children’s Home offers this two-hour training developed by Darkness to Light. The training features video of survivors of sexual abuse and prevention experts, and also includes an interactive workbook. The prevention training covers signs and symptoms of sexual abuse, and offers five practical steps for prevention and response. MBCH also offers additional trainings focusing on assisting the church to ensure safe environments for children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
The MBCH also offers Being Intentional About Safety in Ministry. This training is designed to help churches be intentional about keeping children, youth, and vulnerable adults safe. The training focuses on understanding risks and how to intentionally develop policy and procedures to create a safe ministry environment.
For more information contact David Burch at the MBCH (David.email@example.com).
Ministry Safe. This five-part safety system focuses on protecting our children from the devastating consequences of sexual abuse. It includes: sexual abuse awareness training; skillful screening; appropriate criminal background checks; tailored policies and procedures; and monitoring and oversight. Learn more at ministrysafe.com.
Church Security. Strategos International has more than a dozen training programs to help equip and prepare your congregation against the threat of an armed or unarmed intruder. Visit strategosintl.com.
Background Checks. Choice Screening is the exclusive partner of the Missouri Baptist Convention. Choice specializes in church administration and creates personalized screening packages that focus on your specific needs and budget. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Church Bylaws and Policies. The Whitehead Law Firm partners with the MBC to provide free downloadable model church bylaws and policies on human sexuality and marriage. Visit thewhiteheadfirm.com. (Note: This is not legal advice and does not substitute for an attorney.)
For more information on all the ways the MBC connects you with church-protection programs, visit mobaptist.org/church-benefits/church-protection.