Southern Baptist Mission Board to Screen Those Going Abroad

Winston-Salem Journal

October 25, 2008

The Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board has requested that participants in its short-term mission trips pass background checks before leaving for the field.

The new child-protection policy, which is not mandatory and would not apply to missions trips taken independently of the mission board, was approved at a September meeting of trustees. It will become effective Jan. 1, the board announced.

The process will include references, a criminal background check and an interview by local churches.

The Southern Baptist Convention has come under scrutiny by abuse victims' advocates who have said that their efforts to prevent sexual abuse have been insufficient. Last year, the Baptists passed a resolution expressing their "moral outrage" about child sexual abuse. Earlier this year, the SBC Executive Committee chose not to pursue a proposed database that would track clergy who have been convicted or accused of sexual abuse. The decision was based in part on the autonomy of local churches.


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