A Southern Baptist task force is asking that the denomination create a “Ministry Check” website to track abusive pastors, church employees and volunteers.
The SBC’s sexual abuse task force also asked that the denomination prepare to spend millions on reforms to prevent abuse and provide care for survivors.
According to Religion News Service, the recommendations, which are voluntary for the denomination, include suggestions to:
- Hire someone to the national staff to receive abuse reports and pass them on to church leaders for a response
- Increase sexual abuse training in churches
- Perform background checks on trustees who oversee SBC institutions
- Compel state conventions to hire staff to respond to abuse allegations.
The recommendations came after the completion of an investigation into how SBC leaders have responded to reports of abuse in the church. According to the report, leaders of the SBC’s Executive Committee sometimes ignored or demonized those who made abuse allegations.
The investigation from Guidepost Solutions also included its own recommendations, including creating a fund to care for survivors.
But Christa Brown, an abuse survivor and activist, said she was disappointed in the recommendations.
“I don’t give much credence to suggestions and requests because they are toothless,” she said.
“They are kicking the can down the road. I am gutted.”
Indiana pastor Todd Benkert, who helped push through the approval for the investigation, said the recommendations were a “good first step.”
He added, however, that the next SBC president will also dictate how successful new initiatives are for the organization.
“It won’t make any difference to vote for a new task force if we don’t also vote for a president that is willing to appoint people that support reform,” he said.
If a new task force is approved, its members would be appointed by whoever wins the 2022 SBC presidential race.
The SBC Executive Committee is expected to meet this week.
Photo courtesy: ©Glenn Carstens Peters/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.