Hey Church Family,
I hope you’re having a good weekend. This Sunday is Memorial Day Weekend at Broadview as well as Senior Graduation Recognition and so it should be a really special day of worship. I hope you’ll make plans to join us.
The originally planned 5th Sunday Singing for this Sunday at 5PM has been cancelled. The next 5th Sunday Singing will be July 31st.
There are several folks in our church who’ve come down with COVID this past week so please be praying for them. So far, none of them have been hospitalized and for that I’m very thankful. The majority of the spread seems to be from a few of our adult small groups or potentially our traditional worship choir. It’s a good reminder to keep your hands washed and practice other wise prevention measures.
In this week’s update I wanted to respond to the report that was released by the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force. Last year, the messengers attending the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly to appoint a sexual abuse task force who would engage an independent firm to investigate the Executive Committee of the SBC on charges of improperly handling reports of sexual abuse as well as mistreatment of sexual abuse survivors within the SBC
I was at that Annual Meeting. I voted for that motion and I’ve been following their work closely, awaiting the report. The report was published this past week. The report totals close to 400 pages including appendixes. I’ll provide links to the documents below. I encourage you to read them and if nothing else expose yourself to the executive summary in the first few pages of the full report.
Click here for Guidepost Full Report
Click here for Appendices to Guidepost Report pt. #1
Click here for Appendices to Guidepost Report pt. #2
My initial reaction, after reading the report, was one of anger, grief and disillusionment. My heart breaks for the survivors and the trauma they experienced. I admire their courage and tenacity. While some of the accusations in the report are contested, the facts and evidence presented should compel lament, repentance and a desire for change.
The goal of the investigation was to bring to light every reported instance of sexual abuse that may have occurred at any of the 47,000+ SBC churches over the last two decades. The Task Force investigated several hundred reported cases.
As part of that investigation, they found a list of convicted sex offenders that had been compiled and documented. This list was then sent to the president of the Executive Committee but never published for other SBC churches to see. Had they been reported then, (as they are now) churches would’ve been able to see a master listing of credibly accused offenders so as to protect themselves and their vulnerable populations from repeat offenses.
These findings are shocking, sobering and expose an organizational rot that needs to be addressed. I’m hopeful that this upcoming Annual Meeting will afford messengers an opportunity to act on the recommendations of the sexual abuse task force and begin the process of making improvements in this area. Thankfully, some steps have already been taken to improve our prevention efforts. Moreover, it is now much easier to report those convicted of sexual abuse as well as churches/organizations who improperly handle such things.
Abuse Prevention at Broadview
This report raises the question of our own sexual abuse reporting/prevention practices at Broadview.
I want to say without equivocation that we find any form of sexual abuse to be both criminal and sinful. Abusers will find no safe haven at Broadview. We will gladly cooperate with authorities when and if these types of allegations ever surface. We will forever remain vigilant to protect the vulnerable populations entrusted to our care.
Here are some of the ways we try and prevent abuse in our church right now:
- Broadview has a Children’s Ministry Policy Manual that covers enlistment of leaders, training, and protocols to insure all children are safe and protected. This manual lays out a step by step process for reporting abuse and how accusations are handled.
- Broadview requires all leaders and volunteers to be background checked, with a required training module in sexual abuse awareness training through Ministry Safe. These are renewed every two years.
- Broadview has a safety team that is certified and trained who monitor all building entrances and corridors. Our building is under 24 hour video surveillance for the protection of our volunteers and our vulnerable populations.
A few years ago we revised our ministry policies and volunteer onboarding process for vulnerable populations. We have a clear cut process for handling accusations of sexual abuse. We are committed to protecting our vulnerable populations and those who are potential victims of sexual abuse.
Our local church should be a place of safety and healing. If you’ve ever experienced abuse (whether on our campus or at any other time) we are committed to seeing justice take place and your soul being properly cared for. Please join me in praying for those affected by these unspeakable acts.
Let us also pray for our family churches in this difficult season and the continued protection of every member at Broadview Baptist Church.