Human Dignity  Marriage and Family  Press Release  Sexual Abuse

2019 National Conference Theme Changes to Confront Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 30, 2019—The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention has changed the planned focus of its 2019 National Conference. The new theme of the event is titled, “Caring Well: Equipping the Church to Confront the Abuse Crisis.” The conference will be presented in partnership with the SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Group at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas, Oct. 3–5 featuring sessions with abuse survivors, experts, pastors and abuse prevention advocates.

The ERLC had already fully planned its 2019 National Conference on the theme, “Gospel Courage: Truth and Justice in a Divided World,” but recently decided to shift the theme to focus on the crisis of abuse in the church, given the current crisis within the SBC. 

ERLC President, Russell Moore, commented on the national conference:

“In planning our conference around the theme of gospel courage, we came to a realization. That is, the scourge of sexual abuse in churches is the very embodiment of the need for gospel courage. Combating abuse takes clear eyes, resolute focus and a willingness to engage in painful, complicated questions. This is a critical season for churches seeking to address this crisis. As we thought about this, we realized if we want to talk about courage, then we owed it to our churches and the world around us to talk about courage in light of this area of great need. So that’s what we’re going to do. As we do, I’m so very thankful to get to work with a team at the ERLC that is sensitive to the needs of churches and passionate about providing the best resources and events possible. I look forward to this event with the hope that it will be one more step toward combating the satanic evil of sexual abuse."

Through speakers, panels and breakout sessions, event attendees will gain clarity on how to talk about abuse, care for the abused and prevent abuse in the church.

Members of the national press are invited to attend the event. Please email Elizabeth Bristow at [email protected] for registration details and press credentials.

2019 National Conference speakers include:

  • Russell Moore, president, ERLC;
  • Beth Moore, author, Bible teacher, founder of Living Proof Ministries;
  • J.D. Greear, president, Southern Baptist Convention and pastor, Summit Church;
  • Rachael Denhollander, attorney, advocate and educator;
  • Gary Haugen, CEO and founder, International Justice Mission;
  • Diane Langberg, psychologist and international speaker;
  • Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, speaker and author of “Not Forsaken;” and
  • Jackie Hill Perry, writer, poet and artist with Humble Beast Records.

The conference will address a variety of topics, including:

  • Sexual abuse and the Southern Baptist Convention,
  • Listening to survivors,
  • Lament,
  • Becoming a church that cares well for the abused,
  • Key partners in response (law enforcement, social services, legal, etc.),
  • Church practices,
  • Response protocols,
  • Awareness of related issues,
  • Mental health, and
  • Theological and church polity issues.

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