Article

ERLC hosts conference to equip churches to confront sexual abuse

Oct 4, 2019

Churches should be a refuge for those who have experienced abuse. But, too often, survivors haven't found the protection they deserve and the care they need from the church. 

Although a strong and responsive church community can and should be a source of healing and comfort for a survivor of sexual violence, when churches fail, the effects are devastating. When abuse has been mixed with twisted theology or survivors have been met with skepticism or shame within their church community, the effects on their faith can be devastating.

The sexual abuse crisis in American society and in the church—represented by the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements—prompted SBC President J. D. Greear to commission a Sexual Abuse Advisory Group within the denomination. The group was tasked with “considering how Southern Baptists at every level can take discernible action to respond swiftly and compassionately to incidents of abuse, as well as to foster safe environments within churches and institutions.”

This summer the ERLC and the SBC’s Sexual Abuse Advisory Group launched a new initiative called Caring Well designed to confront church sexual abuse. Caring Well provides churches with a simple, adaptable, and attainable pathway to immediately enhance their efforts to prevent abuse and care for abuse survivors. In addition, the initiative published a curriculum to equip churches called Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused.

As part of the Caring Well initiative, the 2019 ERLC National Conference is presenting Caring Well: Equipping the Church to Confront the Abuse Crisis at the Gaylord Texan on October 3-5. This event features survivors, experts, pastors, and advocates who will seek to equip Christians on the subject of abuse and related issues to empower their churches in the process of becoming safe for survivors and safe from abuse. Some of the speakers include Beth Moore, Rachael Denhollander, Jackie Hill Perry, J.D. Greear, Kay Warren, and many more. 

You can watch a free simulcast of the conference at Live.ERLC.com. A schedule of the sessions that will be shown on the simulcast is posted below.

Friday Sessions

8:30-9:30 a.m. Breakout Session 1

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Morning Session

1:30-2:30 p.m. Breakout Session 2

3:00-4:00 p.m. Breakout Session 3

4:30-5:30 p.m. Breakout Session 4

7:00-9:25 p.m. Evening Session

Saturday Sessions

9:00-11:45 a.m. Morning Session

Note: The simulcast of the event is provided by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.