Following his admission of improper conduct with a teenage girl many years ago, a missions leader for a Baptist organization in central Missouri has resigned from his post.
Mark Carter, the Crossroads Baptist Association's director of missions in central Missouri, recently resigned, the Christian Post (CP) reports.
According to the Missouri Baptist Convention's official statement, Carter "engaged in inappropriate behavior toward a young person - specifically, texting, emails, and inappropriate touching."
When faced with the consequences of his actions, Carter reportedly confessed guilt and accepted responsibility by stepping down from his post. CP noted that he had worked with Crossroads Baptist Association since 2017.
Although the teenager's age at the time is unknown, the association's official statement said that they're grateful that she decided to come forward.
"We also stand with the churches of the association in stating clearly that inappropriate behavior of any kind is not tolerated and will be addressed immediately, including the immediate reporting to all appropriate authorities," it said.
In an email sent to CP, the association confirmed that "there have been no legal charges" filed against Carter.
Despite the fact that all "parties" acknowledged that Carter's "texting and touching" was improper for a minister, the email indicated that the "misconduct fell far short of sex or sexual abuse," and that the "legal authorities do not believe there was a crime, and so legal charges were not filed and are not expected."
It further claimed that volunteers are presently "assisting with the associational operations until a decision about a replacement for director of the association is made."
In a separate email to CP, Rob Phillips, the Missouri Baptist Convention's director of ministry support and apologetics, stated that while the convention cannot impose training, it has "long encouraged our affiliated churches to train their members in matters of church security and sexual abuse prevention."
This covers the Missouri Baptist Children's Home's "Stewards of Children" program and the Southern Baptist Convention's "Caring Well" campaign.
This covers the Missouri Baptist Children's Home's "Stewards of Children" program as well as the Southern Baptist Convention's "Caring Well" campaign.
The Stewards of Children's website includes films depicting the struggles of sexual assault survivors and how they ultimately recovered.
SBC's Caring Well, on the other hand, offers churches with tools to help them strengthen their efforts to prevent child sexual abuse.
Concerning accountability, Phillips said that the convention cannot "answer for every church" since Southern Baptist congregations are "independent and affiliate voluntarily."
He did, however, acknowledge that their congregations are seeing more awareness with regard to sexual assault cases and that they are making efforts to address the issue.
Furthermore, he said that many of their churches go above and beyond normal "background checks" in order to guarantee that their houses of worship are the safest for people to congregate. He also mentioned involvement in churchwide training programs offered by the MBC and the SBC as among the steps they're advocating.
"The body of Christ always suffers when God's people sin," he said. "And as we address these sins, we need to keep our focus on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2)."