SBC DIGEST: Greenway addresses young leaders; Sex abuse motion planned for Alabama Baptists

SBC Pipeline event features conversation with Adam Greenway

By BP Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) – The SBC Young Leaders Pipeline hosted a video conversation Monday (Nov.1) between the pipeline’s leadership team and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Adam W. Greenway titled “learning, listening and looking forward.”

The pipeline was created earlier this year by Jordan Easley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Cleveland, Tenn., as a way to raise up and give a voice to younger leaders in the convention aged 20-49.

Hundreds of young leaders have registered for the four online conversations held so far, and the group will host another one at the end of January.

“Since the inception of the SBC, young leaders have had a vote, but we haven’t always had a voice,” Easley said. “Our hope is that through this network of young leaders, people like you (attendees of the conversation) will rise to the surface that want to serve and contribute as we move forward together.”

Monday’s conversation featured members of the pipeline’s leadership team asking Greenway questions related to his work with Southwestern as well as his perspective on the state of the Southern Baptist Convention.

He said events of the past year in the SBC are “like a super-storm has hit us,” adding that all of it is happening at the same time as a generational shift in which younger Southern Baptists are trying to understand basic things about the convention as a whole.

“You’ve got a lot of things that are sort of all coming together at the same time, along with a more fundamental question of what is the SBC, and what does it mean to be SBC?” he said.

It is the job of not only Southwestern, but all older Southern Baptists to raise up the next generation of SBC leaders to serve the true purpose of the convention, Greenway said.

“We’ve lost a lot of the ways we used to pass along the denominational DNA as generations and times as changed,” he said. “We’ve got an emerging generation asking questions that previous generations just assumed in terms of what it means to be SBC and how the system works and the buy-in. That falls on all of us.”

For more information about the pipeline, to view conversation replays or to register for future events, visit sbcpipeline.com.


Motion planned for review of sex abuse policies of Alabama Baptist entities, auxiliaries

By TAB Media Staff

Retired attorney Melissa Bowen, a member of First Baptist Church Prattville, Ala., plans to propose a motion calling for a Sexual Abuse Task Force during the upcoming annual meeting of Alabama Baptists. The task force’s purpose will be to review policies and practices, not to investigate any alleged cases, she said.

Bowen, who spent a decade representing domestic violence victims through Legal Services Alabama before she retired in 2017, said she sees the motion as an opportunity to help in an area she cares deeply about.

“Domestic violence isn’t always about childhood sexual abuse, but it came up very often,” Bowen told The Alabama Baptist. “Victims of domestic violence who were sexually abused as children said they felt like they were worthless, so when they ended up in situations where there was physical violence, emotional abuse or ongoing sexual abuse, they would put up with it because they felt they deserved it because of feeling worthless.”

Now that more and more groups across the nation are working to improve their policies and practices, “I see this as an opportunity to help Alabama Baptist churches with their own reviews,” she said.

When FBC Prattville did a thorough review of its policies and procedures in 2019, Bowen served on the committee along with other professionals who work with children.

“We found we were doing a lot of things right,” she said. “We had some good policies and practices … but we also learned about some things we had not thought of and were able to implement those.

“And we realized that this should be an ongoing concern and we should stay diligent about these reviews in an ongoing way. I think we are all aware of our need for our churches to be pro-active.”

Because there’s always a need for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions to assist churches with resources, especially related to policies and practices, Bowen said, “That’s the reason for the motion.”

“In its role, the State Board resources, assists, trains and does all the things to help churches do a good job, so we want to ensure its policies and practices are carefully reviewed,” she said. “And we want to do the same for all partner entities and auxiliaries which are funded by the Cooperative Program.”

The CP-funded entities and auxiliaries which partner with the State Board of Missions include: Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries, Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, Alabama Baptist Retirement Centers, Alabama Citizens Action Program, Alabama WMU, Shocco Springs Conference Center, The Alabama Baptist, The Baptist Foundation of Alabama and University of Mobile.

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