Response to the SBC Sexual Abuse Report

To our members,

This past Sunday the Houston Chronicle published an exhaustive investigative report detailing 20 years of sexual misconduct and abuse within SBC churches. If you haven't read the report, I would encourage you to do so.

I was deeply saddened and disappointed by the report. First and foremost, I am saddened for the 700 victims and their families; for the lives that have been harmed and changed forever. I am also saddened by the way churches and denominational leaders have responded in the past, which has been woefully misguided. 

Our current SBC President JD Greear wrote a post addressing the issue and ERLC President Russell Moore released a statement that I wholeheartedly affirm and agree with. I would encourage you to read both of these as well.

Moving Forward

So how do we now proceed? First, I am glad to see our denominational leaders addressing the issue seriously and calling for real, substantive changes. Seeing as Baptists (rightly) guard the autonomy of each local church so fiercely, it will take time to think through what the convention can actually do. 

That said, changes are already in the works. President JD Greear assigned a Taskforce last summer to investigate this very issue. They are expected to report their findings at the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting in June and I look forward to hearing their recommendations. 

With respect to our own church, last fall we began implementing changes that we hope will protect our children and members both now and in the future. In addition to our standard Sojourn Kids policies, such as background checks for all volunteers and two adults per room at all times, we have been in the process of requiring all of our Kids volunteers go through a child sexual abuse training course through Ministry Safe. I know at times it seems like our policies and procedures can be a bit burdensome in a church as small as ours, but this report should only further our resolve to do everything we can to prevent these kinds of attacks from ever taking place at Sojourn.

In JD Greear's post he strongly encourages other victims to come forward and to seek help and counseling through appropriate channels. I simply want to echo his sentiments here and say to anyone who has experienced sexual abuse as part of your story, that my desire for Sojourn is that we would be place where the light of Christ would shine on the darkness, exposing sin and helping to bring healing and relief to the afflicted.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss these matters further, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or to Pastor Daniel. We would love the opportunity to speak with you.

In Christ,

Pastor Josh