Thoughts from the President
By: Russ Martin
Sexual Abuse and Mandated Reporting--What is Your Responsibility (posted 02/14/2019)
The Houston Chronicle recently printed part 1 of a 3 part series on sexual misconduct by Southern Baptist pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and volunteers. It is a sobering and extremely concerning report that the very spiritual leaders one should be able to trust instead are perpetrators of abuse. It is also alarming that apparently some church leaders did not intervene to protect those who were abused.
The legal definition of abuse is any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means by those responsible for the child's care, custody, and control (except that discipline including spanking, administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse). Neglect is the failure to provide, by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child, the proper or necessary support, education as required by law, nutrition or medical, surgical, or any other care necessary for the child's well-being.
Anyone involved in church ministry is required by law to report abuse or suspected abuse. In the Missouri statute, ministers are defined as "any person practicing as a minister of the Gospel," (which would include youth and children's workers and Sunday school teachers), and day care workers, child care workers, mental health professionals, and other people with the responsbility for the care of children are also mandated reporters of suspected abuse or neglect. The bottom line is that it is everyone's Christian duty to immediately report any knowledge or suspicion of abuse/neglect, whether one falls in the legal category of a mandated reporter or not.
Missouri has a child abuse and neglect hotline you can call 24/7 at 1-800-392-3738 to make a report. The identify of callers to the child abuse and neglect hotline is kept confidential. You do not need to be certain that abuse is taking place; you only need to suspect the abuse. By calling the hotline, you allow trained professionals to make the determination.
Child sexual abuse is a very serious problem in society as a whole, not just Southern Baptist churches. One in ten children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.
Missouri Baptist Children's Home is available to help train your church to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child abuse through the "Stewards of Children" TM training. This training is available in nearly every part of Missouri and is provided at no cost, except for a minimal charge for participant workbooks. Please contact my executive assistant, Kristi McCormick, at 314-739-6811 or 1-800-264-6224 if you would like to take advantage of this training. You can also email her at Kristi.Mccormick@MBCH.org.
Let's do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of children, youth, and families.
A Life Changed (posted 02/12/2019)
One of the staff at the Byrne Campus shared the following story:
Today the Byrne Campus staff received news from the parent of a recent placement that shared that the youth was doing very well. He is staying in school, making A's and B's, and is needing the extra supports of his IEP less often. He is also doing "fantastic at home with minimal blowups and those are not severe." The parent thanked the staff sharing, "he's the happy kid we had lost for that short period of time. We thank you so much for everything you did to help our family."
What a positive and encouraging piece of news to hear. While we thank our staff who worked with this youth, we also want to thank you who pray for us and those who support us so we can minister to children, youth, and families.
Together we are making a difference!
A Foster Child's Wants in a Family (02/08/2019)
Each of our board meetings begins with a devotional thought usually brought by a board member or a staff member. In our most recent board meeting, board member Rev. David Stephenson, pastor of First Baptist Church Tipton, brought the devotion and concluded with the following list of things that were identified by a foster child when asked what he wanted in a family. Here is that list:
Things I want in my family:
1. I want food and water
2. Don't hit on me
3. A house with running water and lights
4. I want love
5. Mom and dad don't fight
6. I want no drugs
7. Don't kill my pets
8. Help with school
9. Nice clean clothes
10. No lice; no bugs in home
11. A clean house
12. A clean bed with covers
13. Don't sell my toys
14. Treated fair
15. Don't get drunk
16. TV in house
17. Let me keep my games
18. School stuff
19. Nice house and safe
20. AC and heat
21. Coat and toothbrush
These are all items that most of us take for granted; yet these are the things this foster child identified as what he wanted. It reminds me of the awesome responsibility God has given us to minister to Him by ministering to the least of these (Matthew 25).
Thank you for partnering with us as serve God by responding to the needs of children, youth, and families to make a lasting difference in their lives.
Sanctity of Life (posted 01/17/2019)
National Sanctity of Life Day is an observance declared by several United States Presidents typically proclaimed on or near the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade. The day this year is Tuesday, January 22. Many churches will observe Sanctity of Life Sunday on January 20. Of course, every day should be a sanctity of life day.
Life is a precious gift from our God. He knew us before we were even born. He created us to be His child and He formed us to do good things.
Humans reflect the image of God (Genesis 1:27)
The punishment of death was applied to those who take another's life because God values human life (Genesis 9:6)
God gives life before birth and cares for the unborn (Psalm 139:13-16)
God has a purpose and calling for individuals even before we are born (Jeremiah 1:5 and Luke 1:15)
God gave us life and has a plan and purpose for every life. But not everyone has the same respect and dignity for life that God desires. We live in a broken and fallen world and too often we let that world dictate our actions and infringe on our moral code as to what is right and what is wrong. Rather than using God's Word as our authority, we have instead allowed others to force their sense of morality and their interpretation of fairness on society.
You might be interested to know that last year we were priviliged to serve 194 mothers and 118 babies in the pregnancy services of MBCH Children and Family Ministries and The LIGHT House across the state. Thank you for joining hands with us as we make a difference in the lives of these precious children of our God.
Making a Difference (posted 12/03/2018)
Do you ever wonder if you are making a positive difference in the world? Do you ever ask yourself why did God put me here? I expect most of us go through a time or two in our lives when we ask ourselves one or both of these questions. Let me assure you that you are making a difference. As you pray for the ministries of MBCH and as you provide financial support, you are touching the lives of many for the cause of Christ. Let me illustrate.
Following are some statistics on the lives that were being touched at the end of November through the various ministries of MBCH and The LIGHT House:
Number of children in residential beds: 81
Number of children in treatment foster homes: 82
Number of children being served in family foster care: 251
Number of pregnancy services in-home clients: 97
Number of clients enrolled in outreach program (not counting those in residential services): 42
Number of licensed foster homes being maintained (including relative homes): 308
Number of home studies in process: 290
Total number: 1,151
And this does not include the family members of the clients whose lives were also being touched.
As we enter this Christmas season, let each one thank our God for the gift of His Son and for the opportunity He has given us to minister to the least of these in His name. Thank you for making a difference!