Indiana Baptists Address Sexual Abuse at Annual Meeting

Officers for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana for the coming year are (from left) Josh Goepfrich, second vice president; Steve Taylor, recording secretary; Bobby Pell, president; and Randy Forsythe, first vice president. Steve McNeil, executive director of the convention, is at right. SCBI photo

A budget increase — and added support for Southern Baptist missions and ministries — were approved by the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana during their Oct. 28-29 annual meeting.

Messengers also addressed the SBC-wide issue of sexual abuse through a motion and two resolutions.

The 2020 SCBI budget of $3,924,424 is an increase of 1.17 percent from the current budget. Meanwhile, the convention raised its Cooperative Program percentage to support SBC causes to 36 percent from the current 35 percent.

A total of 188 messengers from 94 of the SCBI’s 445 cooperating churches and 51 guests attended the two-day meeting at Highland Lakes Baptist Camp in Martinsville with the theme “Encourage Pastors” drawn from Hebrews 3:13.

The SCBI Executive Board’s affirmation of an Indiana Send Network church planting partnership with the North American Mission Board was relayed to messengers, and the convention celebrated the first year of its Mile Markers 2025 initiative by seeing a growing response to evangelism and revitalization in 2019, which will carry into 2020 with an emphasis on equipping churches and giving through the Cooperative Program.

Regarding sexual abuse, messengers adopted a motion requesting that the convention’s president and Executive Board “continue to seek ways to encourage Indiana Baptist churches (1) to address the issue of sexual abuse, (2) to utilize the training and conference materials on sexual abuse provided by the ERLC, and (3) to accept the Caring Well challenge set forth by the SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Group.”

In noting the ERLC, the motion by Todd Benkert, pastor and lead elder of Oak Creek Community Church in Mishawaka, was referencing the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The Caring Well Challenge, at, is an initiative of the ERLC within the SBC to call churches to a commitment to prevent sexual abuse and to care for abuse survivors.

In a resolution titled “On Church Cooperation in Dealing with Sexual and Physical Abuse,” messengers voted to implore churches to be proactive in preventing abuse and to raise up advocates both to walk alongside victims and to guide churches through the process of dealing with abuse should it arise.

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Source: Baptist Press

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