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Breakout Session #1 • 1:30 PM


Creating a Ministry of Protection | Melodie Bissell

Abuse prevention is not about us not trusting each other, it is about our community trusting us. Beginning with a biblical basis of protection, Melodie Bissell, the President and CEO of Plan to Protect®, will provide a foundation of protection and identify the seven pillars to fulfill our calling of care. Abuse prevention is not something that we do in order to do ministry, it is a ministry in itself.

It Starts at Home | Julie Lowe

How do we help families when abuse happens within the home? Abuse can occur in a variety of ways: physical, sexual, verbal, domestic violence or neglect, and it can be committed by various family members. This workshop will discuss principles and practical strategies for providing help to families who are experiencing abuse within their own family.

Managing the Crisis of a Misconduct Allegation | Theresa Sidebotham

A serious allegation of misconduct—such as sexual harassment, child abuse, or financial misconduct—usually triggers a crisis for a ministry or business. Consequences can be spiritual, legal, financial, and reputational. When you get that allegation, what do you do next? This interactive seminar will cover when investigations are needed, various ways to structure an investigation, “red flags” to consider, who should conduct an investigation, and when and to what extent legal counsel or other experts may be needed. Through lecture and practical decision-making with story vignettes, you’ll learn tools to manage a crisis.

Background Screening | Thomas Hampson

On overview of the various ways that records of civil and criminal case files are maintained, accessed, and often, limited. This workshop will also look at making the most of your budget to check the records of staff and volunteers- when to use fingerprint checks, how and when to use court checkers, how to access the federal court records, how to check the national and state sex offender records, the pros and cons of background investigation services, what to ask in applications, and how to properly interview references.

Staying on Mission: Board Governance for Effective Abuse Prevention | Sally Wagenmaker

What do responsible church and other ministry leaders need to know about fiduciary responsibilities involved in governing their nonprofits?  The word “fiduciary” means entrusted with a relationship, just as ministry leaders are entrusted with caring for children.  This workshop will address legal responsibilities and related stewardship aspects, potential personal liability and how best to eliminate it, effective board oversight versus appropriate management, and effective strategies for optimal governance vitality to promote organizational health – all within the child protection and abuse prevention context.

Introduction to Wolf Thinking | David Fletcher

Sexual predators are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They don’t announce themselves with a lapel pin that says “I’m a predator.” Senior Pastors, Executive Pastors, and other church leaders must know how the predator thinks and operates. As Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a person thinks, so they are.” This workshop will walk through the 8 Elements of Wolf Thinking from Dr. Fletcher’s book. There will be plenty of interactive discussion to help you bring The Elements to your church.

Responding to a victim of child sexual abuse and their family in the wake of an allegation | Scott Beard & Carol Hogue

Faith communities have a long history of prison ministry and serving those who have fallen. But what about the victims? This workshop explores how faith communities can serve victims of child sexual abuse and their families from the spiritual to the practical. It will examine how a faith community should prepare and what a pastoral care ministry might look like for victims and their families.

Abuse doesn’t follow a text book! – Mandated reporting in the gray areas | Dee Dee Mayer

Understanding mandated reporting is often confusing. Teachers, youth pastors, and workers commit their lives to building trust and rapport with students. Mandated reporting brings tension that impacts our clarity. Do I report a parent who spanked a child? Do I report when a minor discloses consensual sex with her boyfriend who happens to be 18, but still in high school? What constitutes emotional abuse? How can we, the mandated reporters, discern how to protect our students when the details are unclear? This session is designed to help you know how to navigate the gray.

When Faith Hurts: Recognizing and Responding to the Spiritual Impact of Child Abuse | Victor Vieth*

Many maltreated children are not only impacted physically and emotionally but also spiritually. This may happen when an offender incorporates religion into the abuse of a child or simply because the child has spiritual questions. In this workshop, students receive an overview of the research on the spiritual impact of trauma as well as concrete suggestions for addressing the spiritual needs of maltreated children and adult survivors.
*This session will not be recorded or broadcast for live stream.

Sex Offender Integration into the Church | Rob Showers

Assimilation of Sex Offenders will be a fast paced and interactive seminar on do’s and don’t on assimilation of sex offenders into churches and ministries. Further, it will give practical and legal advice on when to and when not to attempt integration and how best to be successful in that endeavor.

Staying on Course: Self Care for Child Safety Workers | Phil Morrison

When child safety workers respond to a report of abuse, they begin a journey to bring hope, healing and justice into the situation. Often the road traveled is hard and long and responders need help to deal with the pain and pressure that comes with the necessary ministry of helping those who have been victimized and abused. This seminar will look at ways for child safety workers to engage in the process of spiritual and emotional replenishment through practical steps of self-care and to stay on
course before and during the intensity of the response process.

The ABCs of Child Abuse Prevention in Schools | Kyle Johnson

A review of a holistic screening approach to staffing, appropriate supervision procedures, and what to do in the event of suspicious activity or an allegation of inappropriate behavior.

Breakout Session #2 • 3 PM


Caring For Survivors of Abuse | Melodie Bissell

If one in three women and one in six males are sexually abused before their 18th birthday, what can we do within our churches to care for childhood victims of sexual abuse? Melodie Bissell is currently working on her DMin on helping survivors find spiritual healing and will discuss commonalities experienced by the trauma of abuse, how to respond appropriately with sensitivity, and how to create healing environments for the victims. Discussion will include appropriate and caring response, recognizing triggers, and helping to find healthy coping strategies. This workshop is designed to equip and educate church leaders with the tools, training, and momentum to work effectively with survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Let’s raise the bar on protection!

Identifying the Vulnerable in Your Ministry | Julie Lowe

Although children tend to me the most identified population vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, there are many populations whose vulnerability can and often is exploited. The elderly, physically or emotionally disabled, disadvantaged, refugees, the list goes on. This seminar will identify what makes certain groups of people more vulnerable, what the principles are  for protecting any vulnerable person and how to proactive in protecting them.

Spotting Predators | Thomas Hampson

Research shows that 98% of child predators have never been convicted of a sex crime, yet criminal record checks are the primary screening method to vet staff and volunteers.  Since only a tiny fraction of active child sexual predators will ever show up in record checks, using such checks to screen them out, while still important, are largely ineffective. This workshop will teach you how to distinguish between safe people and predators, the characteristics and character qualities of all predators, how to identify the four varieties of child sexual predators, what the volunteer and staff applications should include, what to ask references, and a warning about the increasing threats posed by teens and preteens and what to do about it.

Avoid #YouToo—Preventing and Addressing Sexual Harassment | Theresa Sidebotham

Sexual harassment is another form of sexual abuse. In this presentation, Theresa will cover the Scriptural view on sexual harassment, what the law says about harassment, how to identify sexual harassment, important reasons to prevent it, how to prevent sexual harassment, and how to respond properly to allegations.

Steps Church Leaders Can Take to Prevent Abuse | David Fletcher

Policy always sounds so dry and dull, until a sexual abuse crisis emerges. Then, Senior Pastors, Executive Pastors, and other church leaders learn the necessity of having and implementing good prevention and training policies. This workshop will give an overview of what you need and how to get started in sexual abuse prevention in your church. All through the presentation, there will be interactive discussion to help fit the material to your church.

Faith Communities and Victim Assistance: A collaboration whose time has come! | Scott Beard & Carol Hogue

The statistics are staggering: 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be a victim of sexual abuse before they reach adulthood. These numbers translate into the fact that every faith community has victims and survivors as part of its staff, volunteers and membership. Sexual abuse as a child has been tied to a litany of problems in later life from depression and suicide to substance abuse and acting out, among other negative lifelong indicators. So why doesn’t every faith community have a ministry or an outreach set up to address these hurting members of Christ’s body? This workshop will address these questions along with examples of victim assistance ministries and collaborations with victim assistance agencies in other communities.

Time to Contact the Lawyer? | Sally Wagenmaker

Why – and when – do ministries need attorneys?  Legal counsel can prove critical for crisis management such as when child abuse allegations surface, when board conflict develops or for high intensity employment problems.  Other times, attorneys should be consulted for planning purposes, such as for significant contracts, real estate transactions, facility usage, religious liberty protections, clarity about creative works’ ownership and usage, and staffing-related legal compliance. Come learn about the joys of proactively addressing legal issues, along with how to best identify and address “red flags” ministry legal problems.

Why schools need to do child protection well? | Dee Dee Mayer

The impact of abuse on the spiritual formation of students is far reaching. Not only does abuse cause life long emotional trauma, it often distorts one’s view of the church, and ultimately of God.  The effects of abuse that occur within the church carry through the trajectory of a child’s life, impacting relationships and faith. This session seeks to help you as school leaders bring awareness to the importance of child protection and empower your teachers and staff to engage this issue well. This session will include discussion regarding the formation of narrative identities in adolescence and the impact of negligence in our handling of abuse issues: including victim support, reporting, hiring practices, and safety standards.

When Child Abuse Hits Home: Understanding the intersection between Corporal Punishment and Child Physical Abuse | Victor Vieth*

Although corporal punishment is not supported by research and often plays a significant role in substantiated cases of child physical abuse, many Christians continue to hit their children as a means of discipline because they believe the Bible requires, or at least authorizes the practice. In this workshop, students receive an overview of the research on corporal punishment as well as the role it plays in child physical abuse. Students will also receive an overview of how various Christian theologians and denominations are responding to this issue.
*This session will not be recorded or broadcast for live stream.

Crash Course for Schools – Avoiding Legal Pitfalls | Kyle Johnson

Navigating mandatory reporting laws, disqualifying offenses, changes in statute of limitations, and documentation and records retention requirements.

Helping Sending Churches Assess Child Safety Risk and Protective Factors for Missionaries | Philip E. Morrison

There are many child safety risk factors that missionaries face on the field. This interactive seminar will examine a scenario to help the sending church’s pastor and mission committee to be aware of various contextual issues and safety vulnerabilities in order to work alongside of the mission organization in providing protective factors for their personnel.


You will select your breakout session during registration.