(RNS) — When leaders of a Southern Baptist task force chose an LBGTQ-friendly firm to set up a database to track abusive pastors, they tried their best to head off any opposition.The work on a “Ministry Check” website that will track abusers, according to leaders of the SBC abuse reform implementation task force, would be overseen by Faith-Based Solutions, a division of the consulting firm Guidepost Solutions that works with religious groups.
That division is headed up by a Southern Baptist — which task force leaders hoped would help their fellow Southern Baptists trust their decision.
That hope failed.
In recent weeks, Baptist leaders in Florida urged the task force to cease working with Guidepost and “engage only providers that share a solidly biblical worldview to develop and maintain the ‘Ministry Check’ website database.” Leaders in Ohio did the same.
Several megachurch pastors, including Willy Rice, a failed SBC presidential candidate, criticized the decision to work with Guidepost and warned it might lead to their church rethinking its giving to the denomination. Rice dropped out of the presidential race last year after news became public that his church had a deacon with an abusive past.
On Tuesday (April 4), the abuse reform task force announced it will “consider alternative pathways” to set up the Ministry Check website. Those pathways include “dividing the work among smaller firms that share our values,” according to a task force statement.
“It is our prayer that leaders in our Convention will choose to work together as we move forward in a manner that is both unifying and effective,” the task force said in a statement.
Task force leaders have tried over the past year to talk a fine line between finding the best …