The Guidepost Solutions Sexual Abuse Task Force Report released Sunday afternoon was heartbreaking and shocking, to say the least. The abuse perpetrated against fellow image-bearers — the fact that those involved in abuse held positions of leadership in Christian ministry, and the fact that the abuse was covered up — speaks to the level of spiritual darkness that was allowed to reign in some Southern Baptist churches and entities. After reading the report, the Lord led me to pray for sexual abuse survivors in a way I never had before. Romans 12:15 reminds us to “weep with those who weep,” and this is a time to grieve with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
In November 2021, former KBC President Dr. Wes Fowler brought a motion to the messengers of the Kentucky Baptist Convention meeting in Elizabethtown to establish a Kentucky Baptist Sexual Abuse Task Force (SATF). That task force was approved unanimously by the messengers and has been actively at work since that time.
Below are four priorities of KBC’s Task Force, and an update on each:
1. Review internal KBC documents related to sexual abuse: The KBC SATF was designed to be preventative rather than investigatory. Guidepost Solutions has requested many of our internal policies and will help us discover if there are gaps where we can better guard against sexual abuse. The review by Guidepost Solutions has begun and will be wrapped up in the coming weeks.
2. Training KBC staff members: We wanted to assure that KBC staff members are appropriately trained in the prevention of, response to, and care after instances of sexual abuse, in order to help Kentucky Baptist churches. That training has been scheduled for the early fall of this year, with Guidepost Solutions personnel providing the training.
3. Production of a Sexual Abuse Prevention Handbook: Guidepost Solutions is helping us with a handbook that will be distributed to Kentucky Baptist church leaders and will address prevention, response and care as it relates to sexual abuse. This handbook should be finished by early fall and made available to Kentucky Baptist churches and their leaders.
4. Training Kentucky Baptist church leaders: This October, we will host sexual abuse training experts in the state to provide equipping opportunities at four separate locations for Kentucky Baptist church leaders. Again, this training will be aimed at helping churches with prevention, response and care as it relates to sexual abuse.
If you read the report (click here to read in its entirety), you noticed that there was one Kentucky church mentioned as having a sexual abuse allegation made against it. After further investigation, we discovered that church is not affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Kentucky Baptists, please join me in praying for survivors of sexual abuse. Let’s work together to assure that sexual abuse will not happen in connection with Kentucky Baptist churches.
May the Lord give us wisdom and compassion as we work together to prevent sexual abuse, respond to allegations and instances of sexual abuse, and care well for survivors.
Todd Gray, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention