By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
MONROE, La. (LBM) – Louisiana Baptist Executive Director Steve Horn in his report at the 2021 Louisiana Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, Nov. 16 at North Monroe Baptist Church, issued a challenge for revival and outlined a plan to be more engaged in the prevention of sexual abuse in the church.
Horn encouraged messengers to participate in ‘Change Me,’ a 28-day personal revival guide he authored based on Psalm 139:23-24.
“I believe our churches and our nation have no problems that humility before God and His Word would not fix immediately,” Horn said.
Horn said revival is needed because, like the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness, today’s Christ followers are stiff necked, impatient, tempted to follow people rather than God, filled with pride and desperately need God’s blessing.
“During the COVID quarantine, the Lord put on my heart this message: ‘Change me,’” Horn said. “I can’t change anyone else. I can’t change our circumstances. I can’t change much, but I can ask the Lord to change me.
“What came from that was a 28-day resource,” he continued. “I want to invite you to join me. I want to ask you to spend 28 days as this year ends or perhaps as 2022 begins, asking, ‘Lord, change me.’”
Horn asked messengers to come forward and pick up a ‘Change Me’ booklet, adding that state missions services personnel and some Executive Board members completed the challenge earlier this year.
“Would you be willing to pray, ‘Lord, change me. Search me. Know my heart. Test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.’?”
ADDRESSING PERSONNEL POLICIES
Horn said the state missions and ministry staff will meet in January to address existing personnel policies, best practices and to develop helpful resources for how to handle matters related to sexual abuse. He pledged that the LBC Executive Board staff will continue to work throughout the year on this issue, offering other action steps for 2022:
— review and make necessary changes to Executive Board personnel policies;
— conduct a review of procedures and staff training for Louisiana Baptist-sponsored camps and events;
— explore how to help churches implement best practices to avoid sexual abuse;
— train staff as resource providers to aid churches in sexual abuse response;
— review best practices for equipping churches to honor, care for and minister to those harmed by sexual abuse; and
— work with Louisiana Baptist entities to review their policies and training on sexual abuse prevention and reporting.
“Whereas churches only choose to cooperate with us, we do exist in part to serve the local church,” he said. “We also have cooperative ministries in disaster relief, BCMs and camps. In light of this I want to offer my personal commitment before we meet in annual meeting this time next year.