“I move that the Southern Baptist Convention requests the Executive Committee to conduct a feasibility study concerning the development of a database of Southern Baptist ministers who have been credibly accused of, personally confessed to, or legally been convicted of sexual harrassment or abuse, and that such a database be accessible to Southern Baptist churches in order to assist in preventing any future sexual abuse or harrassment.”
The issue of preventing child abuse must be dealt with by all Christians, including the Southern Baptist Convention. I don't have all the answers, but I know that we must do all we can to stop the victimization of our children, and we cannot turn a blind eye toward those who commit such crimes.
Recently, Lane Aspinwall, the national marketing coordinator for the 501C-3 non-profit organization called Darkness to Light, contacted me to ask our church staff to participate in their online training. This organization is committed to help train adults to "prevent, recognize, and react responsibilty to child sexual abuse."
Our children's directer, Paula Minx, and my personal secretary, Barbara Ebert, both took the on-line course. The cost is $15.00 and both ladies told me it was very helpful in learning how to prevent child abuse.
Paula says of the The Stewards of Children Course:
The Darkness to Light truly brings to light the epidemic of child sexual abuse through the Stewards of Children training. The interactive training engages the participant through video testimonies of victims, child advocacy workers, pediatricians and other professionals. The program also incorporates an interactive workbook that contains the full program curriculum for further reference. The format of the program is well done, but the content is life changing.
Darkness to Light opened my eyes to many startling statistics, such as experts estimate that one in six boys and one in four girls will be sexually abused by their eighteenth birthday. That is an epidemic. But, less than one in ten will tell about the abuse. That is heart breaking. Darkness to Light provides insightful training on how adults can help in the battle against childhood sexual abuse through the 7 steps to protecting children. These include learning the facts, minimizing opportunity, talking about it, staying alert, making a plan, acting on suspicions, and getting involved.
The Stewards of Children program has personally led me to assess programs within my church, to determine questions that I should be asking my own children, and to discover how I can be proactive in the fight. Remember, we are the adults. We are the people responsible for the safety of our children. This training helps us to know how to keep the children in our lives safe. I would encourage everyone to join the fight against child sexual abuse, and the Stewards of Children training is a great first step.
Director of Children’s Ministries
Emmanuel Baptist Church
Barbara Ebert writes . . .
I just finished taking the course and want to say that I would highly recommend it to parents, teachers, children’s workers, youth workers, grandparents, or anyone involved in the stewardship of children.
The training is thorough and easy to follow, although it was somewhat confusing at first to get logged in and get started.
Anyone completing this course will be better informed and equipped to protect children from child sexual abuse. If abuse has already occurred, this program outlines step-by-step procedures to follow; but especially teaches an adult how to sensitively deal with a child who becomes a victim of such abuse.
This course would be especially important to our children’s workers here at Emmanuel, even to Sunday school teachers.
One thing that stood out to me is that the more informed children and adults are, the less sexual abuse is likely to occur. Even those who would abuse children are put off if they know the child is informed of potentially dangerous situations and empowered to say ‘no’.
Darkness to Light has trained over five hundred facilitators in forty three states, and has to date seen over sixty thousand people in five countries trained on-line.
Our own Paula Minx plans to be trained as a facilitor of this ministry, and if you would like to join her to be certified to help people in your community to prevent, recognize and responsibly react to child abuse, we hope to be offering in Oklahoma a regional certified facilitator seminar in the near future. The Charleston Association of the Southern Baptist Convetnion in South Carolina is already a step ahead of us in this, but we hope to catch up soon.
Preventing child abuse is something the Southern Baptist Convention should be proud to be able to set the standard.
In His Grace,
I will post beginning Sunday night from San Antonio and will have daily updates from the SBC all next week.