Statement on the Guidepost Report Regarding the SBC’s Executive Committee

Earlier this week a report was released summarizing the work of Guidepost’s independent investigation of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, and their handling of sexual abuse during the years 2000 through 2021. You can access the full 288-page report here.

Like all of you who have seen this report, or the related news reports describing the report’s contents, we are grieving the actions of those in leadership positions within the Executive Committee (EC), and other related SBC entities, who have severely mishandled sexual abuse situations for decades. It seems clear, based on this report, that the pattern has been to prioritize the legal protection of the denomination over the needs of hurting victims, and the protection of potential future victims. This is reprehensible, and completely opposed to what the Lord would have us do for those who have been so mistreated.  

Our hearts break for the survivors of abuse, some of whose stories are detailed in the report, and we pray for their healing. We also grieve over the many unbelievers, who, upon seeing this news, will further distance themselves from the church, and from the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we pray for our denomination of churches, and for our own local church in the days ahead, here are few items to bear in mind:

  • This independent investigation was conducted because of an overwhelming vote made by the more than 15,000 messengers of SBC churches gathered at last year’s Annual Meeting. Several of our pastors, along with other FBCMel members, were messengers at last year’s meeting and voted for this investigation to be done, because we wanted full transparency, and the light of truth to shine on whatever evil had been done.
  • Those unfamiliar with the way the SBC is organized may not know, but our denomination is not hierarchical like many others. Baptists believe in the autonomy of every local church. While we voluntarily partner together with the 40,000+ other Southern Baptist churches around the country for the purposes of church planting, missions, and theological education, we are not bound as a local church by decisions made at the national or state level.
  • In our own local church, we have numerous policies in place, including policies regarding our pastors’ interactions with the opposite sex, background checks and screenings for all who work with our children and students, and policies regarding mandatory reporting of any alleged incidents of abuse. Furthermore, we have been working for some time on a comprehensive sexual abuse response plan, which is currently under review by our personnel committee, and will be brought to the church for approval before the year’s end. Our heart’s desire is that our church would always be a safe place for everyone, including all of our women and children. 

While our denomination of churches cannot change what some in leadership have done in the past, we must pray that in the future, we will take every step necessary to ensure that we respond to abuse, and to survivors of abuse, in a way that would please our Lord. Please join us in praying that the first healthy steps in the right direction would be taken this summer, as our convention gathers for its annual meeting in Anaheim, CA (June 14-15).

If you have any further questions regarding the Guidepost report, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our pastors.