As of this fall, Dallas Theological Seminary is requiring ministry students to take an entry-level certification course on preventing and addressing child sexual abuse.
The course, required for graduation, is being offered through MinistrySafe, a program developed by a husband and wife team of lawyers,Kimberlee Norris and Gregory Love, to teach church and ministry officials how to recognize potential sexual predators and prevent child sexual abuse from occurring within the church setting.
In order to receive certification, Dallas students must watch a series of videos, running about an hour in total, and pass a 25-question quiz on the material. Mark Yarbrough, vice president for academic affairs at the seminary, acknowledges that this course is neither exhaustive nor is it the solution to child sexual abuse by itself. Nevertheless, he feels that by requiring the course, the seminary is taking a step in the right direction.
Dallas Theological Seminary and MinistrySafe are expanding their offerings in Spring 2017 in the form of a for-credit elective course that will give future ministers tools they need for preventing child sexual abuse within the church. Both the 40-hour course and the shorter certification course are available to the public at MinistrySafe. In addition, the seminary plans to provide their alumni with the course for free to use.
Mark Bailey, the seminary president, says the goal of the partnership with MinistrySafe is “to equip our students to protect those who are most vulnerable.”
Have you heard of other schools taking similar measures to address this serious issue? If so, we’d love to hear about these efforts.
To read more about Dallas Theological Seminary's program, click the articles here and here.
To learn more about MinistrySafe, click here.