ARITF Update | EC Report September 18, 2023
This update serves as a representation of the collective efforts of the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF) in our commitment to enhance safety within Southern Baptist Churches. We aim to create environments that are secure, both from abuse and for survivors, guided by our shared responsibility as followers of Jesus.
As Mike Keahbone said in his report tonight to the trustees of the Executive Committee:
Our main goal is to help SBC churches become safer places for everyone—places that are safe from abuse and safe for survivors. We have a strong biblical mandate to do this and do it right. I hope this update will show you that this task force is committed to doing everything we can to further that goal.
An Overview of Ministry Check
A significant development in our ongoing efforts is the creation of Ministry Check. This initiative, which we introduced several weeks ago, is not merely a tool or a website but a comprehensive platform designed to enable Southern Baptist Churches to prevent abuse by sharing crucial information.
- Our intention is to assist churches in helping one another prevent abuse, acknowledging that they often rely on reference checks when hiring candidates for ministry positions.
- However, this process is limited by the information available.
- Ministry Check will address this limitation by facilitating access to information about individuals who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse, beginning with those who have been criminally convicted or found liable in civil court for sexual abuse.
- We are well underway in the process of launching Ministry Check, and we anticipate announcing the official launch date soon.
Apart from Ministry Check, our efforts extend to providing churches with essential tools and resources to prevent and respond to abuse effectively.
- Our team has recently collaborated with national entities, state convention partners, local associations, and pastors to develop a comprehensive Ministry Toolkit.
- These resources will be readily accessible on our website, SBCabuseprevention.com, which we envision as the central hub for abuse reform within Southern Baptist Churches and entities.
- We are pleased to highlight the commendable progress achieved by many of our state conventions in the field of abuse reform.
- The ARITF has initiated communication with all 41 state conventions to explore opportunities for strengthening and supporting their ongoing initiatives in this critical area.
Lastly, in response to the directives from the Messengers in Anaheim, the ARITF is actively formulating plans to recommend a long-term option to assist with abuse prevention and reform across all Southern Baptist churches and entities.
- Given the gravity of our responsibility and the current needs of our convention, we intend to recommend a proposal that will resource and assist churches in preventing and responding to abuse and provide the necessary oversight for the Ministry Check process.
- We look forward to sharing further details about this recommendation as it takes shape in the coming months.
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