LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) is excited to announce the next MinistrySafe training event on May 4, 2020 at First Baptist Church of Rogers. This event, MinistrySafe Skillful Screening, features attorney Kimberlee Norris. This event is different from the basic MinistrySafe seminar as it provides a much deeper look into effective screening. MinistrySafe is a law firm that trains churches and organizations in child abuse prevention.
For five years, the ABSC has provided training for prevention of child abuse and best practices for child protection in partnership with MinistrySafe. In addition to these statewide events, ABSC staff has also provided this training through associations and local churches. Since the ABSC began this emphasis, more than 350 churches have participated in these events. More than 1,000 church leaders have been trained in the importance of providing safe environments for children and students, the requirements for mandatory reporting, and best practices for churches.
The emphasis on child safety has been a high priority for Dr. Sonny Tucker since becoming the ABSC Executive Director in 2014. Dr. Tucker said, “Children and student ministries are top priorities. As stewards of the Gospel, we must create a safe and caring environment for children so they can learn how much God values them. We are continuing our work to help churches understand the risks and serve children with excellence.”
The ABSC strongly urges churches to meet the obligations of mandatory reporting. The ABSC staff models mandatory reporting any time required by Arkansas law. Since 2017, the ABSC has contracted with attorneys who focus on church legal matters to provide a free consultation for churches when these issues arise. Churches and individuals are referred to these independent lawyers for guidance on when and how to report instances of potential abuse.
In addition to training events, the ABSC has partnered with MinistrySafe to provide inexpensive access to all of their policies and training. From the beginning of our partnership, Dr. Tucker has committed to cover MinistrySafe costs for any church, if needed, so that money is not a hindrance. MinistrySafe has even created a website for Arkansas Baptist churches where they can access the basic MinistrySafe seminar for free: www.ministrysafe.com/absc.
It is vital that Arkansas Baptist churches work diligently to develop the best possible practices for protecting their children and student ministries. The ABSC is continuing to partner with our churches in every way possible to provide multiple avenues for training that helps every church create best practices for fostering safe, loving environments. Join Arkansas Baptists on Monday, May 4, at First Baptist Church, Rogers for this vital training.
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