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CBC Response to Sexual Abuse in Baptist Churches
Hi, church family. You probably have read in the news or seen on social media that the Houston Chronicle has dropped a 3 part story about sexual assault/abuse in SBC churches. The articles particularly point out how there is no database within the SBC system that keeps track of sexual abusers who are ministers or lay leaders. The articles are particularly harsh about churches that dismiss ministers or lay leaders, only for that fired minister to pop up into leadership at another church a little while later. Part of that is due to our polity of local church autonomy. Our system is much different than that of the Roman Catholic Church or Anglican Church, both of which have a clear hierarchy. Baptist churches rely on churches that cooperate together for theology, missions, education, and works of compassion. While denominational entities such as the TBC or SBC can be major influencers within a particular Baptist congregation, the decision-making process is up to the local church itself.
Therefore since each individual church is responsible for the safety and well-being of the children in their care, I wanted to lay out clearly our process. While I do not think any process is fool-proof, I do believe ours goes above and beyond that which is required.
- Each person who works with children must be part of us for 6 months, unless there is a waiver signed by the Associate Pastor.
- Each adult must have a background check. We keep this confidential and on file.
- Each person must submit references. Our office staff calls to check out the reference with appropriate questions.
- Each person must submit a written application to work with children.
- We have a 2 adult rule in all our class rooms with minors. This means that no adult can be alone with a child anywhere in the church or on a bus. We also have a camera installed on our biggest bus where we are able to retrieve footage.
- If any abuse is accused, we immediately call DCS (Department of Child Services) and fully cooperate with the investigation.
These steps are just a summary of our child protection policies. We take children’s safety seriously here, as Jesus did as well (Matthew 18:6-9). For us to accomplish our mission of seeing every life changed by Christ, we must first create a safe environment. We have long had good practices in place, although we formally adopted our current policy in 2010 and recently updated them as a church in October 2017. This policy is in place because we care about every child who walks through our doors. Our ultimate hope is to point kids to Jesus as Lord and allow them to experience Jesus’ presence at CBC. Join me in praying for the victims of sexual assault in any setting, but especially in a church. Let’s make sure that it never happens here.