The Sexual Abuse Task Force, chaired by North Carolina pastor Bruce Frank, has proposed five recommendations to be considered by Southern Baptist messengers attending the upcoming SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim. They will be rephrased into official motions and the wording of those motions will be shared prior to the meeting.
The recommendations appeared in the summary statement leading into the Guidepost Solutions report released May 22. They are as follows:
- We recommend that an Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force be appointed by the next SBC president to assist with the implementation of reform initiatives in our convention for a period of three years. This Task Force will evaluate all recommendations by Guidepost and bring a report at next year’s convention on recommended reforms. This Task Force will also work with the Executive Committee to create and maintain a process that will work within our Baptist polity for alerting the community to the presence and activity of credibly accused offenders, including the establishment of a “ministry check” website. Additionally, this Task Force will work with and resource the Credentials Committee to help them function more effectively, including formalizing and improving their processes, procedures, and standard principles of cooperation. The Task Force and Executive Committee will take steps to establish a relationship with an independent firm to assist the Credentials Committee in their work.
- We recommend that the Executive Committee hire a subject matter expert(s) to receive calls, provide initial guidance for reports of sexual abuse, and work with state conventions for training and educational opportunities.
- We recommend that all entity boards and standing committees have training regarding sexual abuse prevention and survivor care, as well as background checks as part of their orientation and selection.
- We recommend that IMB, NAMB, and our six SBC seminaries require formal preparation for their denominational workers and students in regard to prevention, training, and survivor care.
- We recommend that the Executive Committee set aside a budget and hire a salaried staff person for the Credentials Committee.
How to fund the recommendations will require further discussion.
The Baptist Paper will provide continued coverage of the report and recommendations as Southern Baptists prepare for the June 14–15 annual meeting in Anaheim. To read a complete wrap of the Guidepost report, check out this Baptist Press article by Brandon Porter and this Religion News Service article by Bob Smietana.