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FAQ on the ARITF’s 2024 Report & Recommendations

These FAQs help explain some of the things mentioned in the ARITF 2024 Report & Recommendations and they may be updated periodically until Tuesday, June 11.

1. What is the purpose of the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF)?

The ARITF was created by the messengers in 2022 to implement meaningful and lasting abuse reform within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It aims to provide assistance, produce resources, and create systems to help SBC churches prevent and respond to sexual abuse effectively.

2. What are the ARITF’s key priorities?

The ARITF has focused on three key priorities over the last year:

  1. Expansion of the Ministry Toolkit.
  2. Establishment of the Ministry Check website.
  3. Creation of a permanent home for abuse prevention and response.

3. What is the Ministry Toolkit?

The Ministry Toolkit is a set of resources designed to help local churches prevent and respond to sexual abuse. It includes data, resources, and other tools to equip churches with practical steps for abuse prevention and care. Beginning next week, the Ministry Toolkit will also include the Essentials curriculum.

4. What is the Essentials curriculum?

The Essentials: Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Training curriculum is designed to assist local churches of all sizes (with particular benefit for small and medium-sized churches which represent the overwhelming majority of the SBC) to walk step-by-step through five sessions that will help them establish or evaluate their abuse prevention and response plan.

5. How can local churches access the Essentials curriculum?

The Essentials curriculum will be available in multiple formats (print and USB drive) at the annual SBC meeting and online at as a free resource via the Ministry Toolkit.

6. What is the Ministry Check website?

The Ministry Check website will be an online database of known sexual offenders associated with Southern Baptist churches or entities. Its purpose is to help keep dangerous individuals away from vulnerable people in churches by providing a centralized reference point to assist churches in screening potential staff and volunteers who have access to children and vulnerable adults.

7. What will be on the Ministry Check website?

The initial version of the Ministry Check website will include individuals who have been:

  • Convicted of sexual abuse in criminal court.
  • Found liable for sexual abuse in civil court.

While these two categories are based upon publicly available information from cases previously adjudicated through the legal system, it is important to note that Ministry Check will include information about sexual offenders not found on the national sex offender registry and many background checks.

8. Why can’t Ministry Check exist within the SBC?

For the time being, it is necessary for Ministry Check to utilize insurance and liability coverage that is fully independent of the SBC. To satisfy this need, Ministry Check will be operated by the newly established Abuse Response Commission (ARC).

9. What is the role of the Abuse Response Commission (ARC) and why was it started?

In early January 2024, the ARITF was informed there was no longer a viable pathway for robust abuse reform within the SBC due to pressing insurance concerns. In response (and in consultation with the SBC Executive Committee’s interim president, chairman of the board, legal counsel, and the president of the SBC), the ARITF acted to establish an independent nonprofit as a last resort rather than halting our efforts to serve Southern Baptists.

In February of 2024, the task force announced plans for ARC to lead the SBC’s efforts in abuse reform. However, since assuming his role as EC President in March of 2024, Dr. Jeff Iorg has worked aggressively to re-open multiple avenues to advance meaningful and robust abuse reform within the SBC–a goal the task force has always shared.

In light of this, the ARITF’s report and recommendations are asking the messengers to approve that the EC, under Dr. Iorg’s leadership, act to create a permanent home for abuse reform within the SBC. Should the messengers approve, all abuse prevention and response efforts apart from Ministry Check will reside within the SBC.

10. Why does the ARITF recommend a permanent home for abuse prevention and response within the SBC?

The SBC is the largest Protestant body in the United States and has no meaningful plan to help its churches prevent or respond to abuse. As a result of numerous meetings, listening sessions, and feedback from pastors, local association and state convention leaders, and survivors, it’s clear the SBC needs a permanent home for abuse prevention and response to ensure any church of any size has access to the tools, resources, and expert assistance needed to protect and care for people. Simply put, the demands of the SBC regarding abuse reform require more assistance than a volunteer task force can provide.

11. What does the ARITF recommend the permanent home for abuse prevention and response within the SBC do?

Most importantly, it will be staffed with experts who provide assistance to pastors and churches addressing instances of sexual abuse. It will also develop and provide tools and resources for churches to actively prevent and appropriately respond to sexual abuse. Additionally, it will ensure survivors have access to trauma care, provide assistance to the Credentials Committee, and coordinate and assist with abuse reform efforts among state conventions and local associations.

12. How much will it cost to create a permanent home for abuse prevention and response within the SBC?

The answer largely depends on the specific steps the Executive Committee recommends.

However, Send Relief pledged a total of $4,000,000 for the SBC’s abuse reform efforts in 2022. Of that total amount, nearly $3,000,000 remains available for future reform efforts.

Send Relief has clearly stated these funds may only be used for abuse reform efforts within the SBC. We believe these funds can likely underwrite the cost of a permanent home for abuse prevention and response within the SBC for up to 5 years or more.

13. What are the next steps recommended by the ARITF?

The ARITF recommends that the messengers of the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention:

  • Affirm the three key priorities outlined in the 2024 Report
  • Urge the Executive Committee to complete the implementation of these priorities

To read the full report and recommendations, click here.

14. Why does the report recommend that these initiatives go to the Executive Committee (EC)?

The EC, under the leadership of Jeff Iorg, is uniquely positioned to implement the next phase of abuse reform. With its authority to coordinate ministry assignments and oversee the convention’s finances, the EC is able to:

  • Recommend the appropriate structure to support abuse reform initiatives
  • Allocate necessary funds to ensure effective implementation
  • Coordinate the work of various SBC entities and ensure accountability
  • Report back to the messengers on actions taken to fulfill the recommendations

15. Do ARITF members benefit financially from any of this?

No. No member of the ARITF has ever received any compensation for their work. Every member of the ARITF involved with ARC has agreed never to receive compensation from ARC. Furthermore, ARC will offer 990-level financial disclosure regarding compensation for future ARC staff.

16. What steps are left to launch Ministry Check?

ARC has secured multiple affordable insurance bids and completed the vetting of nearly 100 names for inclusion on the Ministry Check website. ARC is currently working with the EC to resolve any outstanding concerns before launching Ministry Check.

17. Where has the funding for ARC come from? What did the report mean when it said “at our own expense?”

So far ARC has raised nearly $75,000 from independent donors to allow work toward the Ministry Check website to move forward. To date, the SBC has contributed zero dollars to the vetting of names for Ministry Check.