Did you know that one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused before age 18? Further, two out of three victims will not tell until adulthood, if ever.

The church should be the safest place on earth for a child, but sometimes it is not. Richard Hammar, nationally-known CPA, and attorney reports that for almost a decade, sexual abuse is the number one reason churches end up in court.

Most are victimized not by a stranger but by someone they know and trust. That perpetrator also works to build trust with adult leaders of the church. The abuser can be an adult, an adolescent or even an older child.

There is no physical profile of an abuser; we must observe behavior. The “Is Your Ministry Safe?” workshop will teach church leaders, teachers and others involved in preschool, children and youth ministries how to be aware of dangers in the church and the behaviors that could lead to an incident.

The workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 19, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Canaan Baptist Church, 2543 Morgan Rd., Bessemer. Registration and fellowship will begin at 9 a.m.

The cost is $25 for the first person and $20 for each additional person in a group.

Our speakers will be attorneys Greg Love and Kimberlee Norris who are recognized experts in legal standards of care related to child sexual abuse, providing crisis response to ministries and churches nationwide. They litigate sexual abuse cases across the United States and have a unique perspective, providing valuable counsel to churches.

What’s different about this conference?
Greg and Kim will train participants in how a predator selects and grooms victims:
1. so that all will be aware of the potential for inappropriate behavior.
2. so that we can adopt standards of appropriate behavior.
3. so that a potential predator will realize that this church knows how the game is played and will opt out from serving with minors.

Greg and Kim will train churches how to better screen volunteers:
1. so that some will opt out (who should opt out).
2. so that we may know the right questions to ask and items to look for while conducting background checks.

For registration information, go online to alsbom.org/ministrysafe or contact Ministry Assistant Nancy Cornett at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 208, or (334) 613-2208, ncornett@alsbom.org. For other information, please contact State Missionary Lee Wright at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 241, or (334) 613-2241, lwright@alsbom.org

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