As more stories of sexual abuse involving evangelical churches and pastors — including the Southern Baptist Convention — come to light, SBC leaders have recognized the need to be responsive and educated in caring for those within their ministries who disclose abuse experiences.
LifeWay Christian Resources, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and those working with the SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Study have collaborated to do both — respond and educate — to produce “Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused,” a free multimedia resource geared toward church staff members, lay leaders and volunteers.
Now available at ChurchCares.com, the new resource is a comprehensive training curriculum that combines a handbook with 12 video lessons from experts in the areas of social work, law enforcement, trauma counseling, abuse counseling, legal services and pastoral care.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the release of this crucial resource,” said SBC President J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area.
“I’m so proud of the work our [Sexual Abuse Advisory Study] group has done in an effort to make our churches a safer place. We need to learn from their expertise in this area, and this material is a fantastic place to start,” Greear said. “We have commitments from national entities, all six seminaries, all state conventions and our associational leadership fellowship that they will integrate these teachings. While education is not the answer to this problem, we want to eliminate ignorance as an excuse.”
LifeWay’s B&H Publishing Group developed the handbook, which is intended for participants to use in tandem with the training videos. The handbook is offered as a free download or can be ordered as a printed copy.
“We’re honored to partner with the SBC Executive Committee, The Summit Church, the [Sexual Abuse Advisory Study] group and the ERLC to help develop the video curriculum, website and book for ‘Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused,’” said Jennifer Lyell, LifeWay’s director and publisher for the books ministry area.
“We look forward with prayerful expectancy to how God is going to use these resources to help churches fulfill their crucial restorative responsibility to biblically address sexual abuse and represent the heart of God to care for those who have been victimized,” she noted.
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Source: Baptist Press