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Pathways: Prevention and Protection

April 30, 2022@10:00 am-1:30 pm


April 30, 2022
10:00 am-1:30 pm
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Rosalie Chesley


Cresthill Baptist Church
6510 Laurel Bowie Rd.
Bowie, MD 20715 United States
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(301) 262-4141
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Abuse is a serious issue, and there are many ways that we can respond to it. As leaders and members of the church, we need to be prepared for this reality.

We all know that physical, sexual, and emotional abuse occurs regularly and the church is not immune to this sin. Most of us don’t know how to handle it when it happens, and many churches aren’t equipped with policies or resources to deal with sexual assault or other kinds of abuse. This training session will help equip you with knowledge about how abuse occurs among vulnerable people groups who may be more susceptible to harm from others inside their communities.

Join us at Pathways! This training session will cover three areas:Prevention – what you can do as an individual member or leader.Protection – what your church should already have in place.Response – what steps you should take if someone comes forward about being abused by a fellow member or leader.

This training will equip church leaders and workers, including those who may serve in counseling, administrative, and children’s and youth ministries, as well as other areas, with comprehensive insight into creating safety in multiple areas of church life.

Space is limited for this these events, so be sure and register early!

Event Leaders

Kris Buckman serves as the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware’s (BCM/D) children’s & youth ministry consultant and also in the communications department of BCM/D.

A Maryland native, she has been a member of Tri-County Baptist Church in Damascus, Maryland, for over 19 years. She has taught Sunday school for children of all ages, directed and written VBS, planned and coordinated special events, served as AWANA Commander, traveled with kids to summer camp, and, as she says, “cleaned up lots of glitter and Goldfish crumbs over the years!” She has also led coaching sessions at major children’s ministry conferences as well as breakout sessions on a variety of topics. She is one semester away from completing her master’s degree in children’s and family ministry from Bethel Seminary.

One of Kris’ passions is creating and maintaining a safe ministry environment where families can bring their kids. For the last two years, Kris has completed extensive training on creating policies, setting up comprehensive safety systems, screening volunteers, and implementing best practices in children’s and youth ministry. She enjoys the opportunity to educate and assist churches as they create safe spaces for the most vulnerable.

She and Todd, her husband of 23 years, have two sons, Ben, 19, and Jake, 14. In her spare time, she can be found with a good book, an iced tea, or browsing the aisles of T.J.Maxx or HomeGoods!

Mark Dooley assumed the role of State Director of Evangelism (SDOE) in 2019. Since September 2021, he has also led the BCM/D as the interim executive director.   

As SDOE, he leads the efforts of BCM/D’s church services team and encourage evangelistic fruitfulness among more than 500 congregations.

Dooley brings over 37 years of ministerial and pastoral experience to the position. While serving as Pastor of Leonardtown Baptist Church (2007-2018), he served on the BCM/D General Mission Board (GMB) and is a past GMB president. Recently, Dooley served on the Southern Baptist Convention’s Committee on Nominations. On the associational level, he served on several committees with the Potomac Baptist Association.

He is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity. He and his wife, Karen, have four adult children, one grandchild, and two more grandchildren due to arrive in March 2022. 

Eliza is a biblical counselor, speaker, and author. She is a contributing writer for the Biblical Counseling Coalition, The Journal of Biblical Counseling, and is the author of Raising Teens in a Hyper-Sexualized WorldandRaising Kids in a Screen-Saturated World. She holds a master’s degree in counseling from Biblical Theological Seminary, has completed the Advance Certificate in Counseling from the Christian Counseling Education Foundation and is a member of the Association of Biblical Counselors. Eliza serves as the director of counseling at McLean Bible Church and is the dean of biblical counseling for Metro Baltimore Seminary.

Bergina Isbell, MD is a board-certified Johns Hopkins- and Mayo Clinic-trained psychiatrist, podcast host, speaker, and best-selling author of multiple books. She believes there is a cure for cancer of the soul and has been recognized for her treatment of patients as well as training for organizations on being trauma informed. She is co-host of The Hope Infusion podcast and founder of Led Life, LLC, a mental health consulting and corporate wellness practice that specializes in working with entrepreneurs and executives. She has been recognized as an influencer who combines the sacred with the scientific and has been described as a combination of Dr. Oz and Dr. Caroline Leaf. She can be reached on Instagram at @berginaisbellmd.

Keith Myer serves as the pastor of Harvest Baptist Church in Salisbury, Maryland and as the director of the Eastern Baptist Association. In 2003 he graduated from Columbia International University with a Master of Divinity degree. He has been actively involved in church ministry for over 20 years. Additionally, he taught and served in churches in Honduras, Belize, Ecuador, and Zambia.  

Keith is a one of the authors of the In Support of Sexual Abuse Survivors and The Task Force presented at the BCM/D 2021 Annual Meeting. 

He has a passion for connecting people to Jesus, using his enthusiasm for normal activities in life, like Dunkin Donuts coffee, Darth Vader, and the Green Bay Packers, and connecting them to spiritual things like scripture, a relationship with Christ, and the writings of great Christian men like Thomas Watson, William Ames and Charles Spurgeon. 

Keith and his wife, Nancy, have four sons — Sam, Jack, Max, and Hank.  

Brad O’Brien is the pastor of Jesus Our Redeemer (JOR), located in Federal Hill  in south Baltimore. JOR was established in 2014 after the merger of Redeemer City Church and the historic Lee Street Memorial Baptist Church which was established in 1855. Brad and his wife, Jena-Marie, have been married for fourteen years and have four children. In 2013, they moved from Durham, North Carolina, to Baltimore as church planters following ten years of ministry at The Summit Church. Brad is, for many reasons, passionate about Pathways. His passion goes beyond caring for his own children and his own church. HIs desire is to see all churches affiliated with the BCM/D actively engaged in pathways to both prevent abuse and protect our most vulnerable members.

Tom serves as the BCM/D’s associate executive director. A licensed CPA in the state of Maryland, Tom directs, supervises, and coordinates the finance, accounting, and budgeting operations of the BCM/D. He also serves the staff as human resource director and manages corporate insurance coverage. Tom leads the Baptist Foundation of Maryland/Delaware as director, also serving as treasurer, managing its church loan program.  

He has a passion for the church and routinely provides various types of training to local churches about ministers’ taxes, budgeting, establishing effective internal financial controls, and various other financial issues.  

Tom and his wife, Shelley, have been married for over 31 years and have three sons, JT, Jake, and Jimmy. Jimmy is a young man with autism. This journey has sparked a passion within Tom to assist our churches in the area of effective special needs ministry, serving as the BCM/D special needs ministry director.  

In his spare time, Tom enjoys watching sports, especially pro football, college football, and pro basketball. Tom is a cycling enthusiast and enjoys both outdoor riding and indoor spinning. He also enjoys participating in events that raise awareness for special needs causes. And every once in a while, he will fire up his Xbox and take a little time to himself to play a video game! 

Tom is available to consult with pastors and church leaders regarding finances, investing, and stewardship. 


10-11 a.m. Main Session
“Why Does Caring For the Vulnerable Matter?” (Mark Dooley)
Churches should be a safe haven for all, but too often they can be the very place where abuse occurs. Together, we not only can, but must, work together to ensure that the vulnerable are protected and that those who have suffered abuse can receive the compassion, protection, and care they deserve.

11-11:15 a.m. Break/Refreshments

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions
“Developing a Safety System for Children’s and Youth Ministry” (Kris Buckman)
More than 90% of sexual abusers have no record to find in a background check. And they know it. While background checks are a useful tool, they must not be the only thing we use to claim protection of those in our ministries. Creating a multi-layered protection system that includes not only background checks, but policies and procedures, reference checks, written applications, adequate training, screening and monitoring will best serve and care for the most vulnerable in your church. In this breakout session, BCM/D Children’s & Youth Ministry Consultant Kris Buckman will guide you through the process of creating and transitioning to a comprehensive safety system for your ministry. 

“How Trauma Hides” (Eliza Huie)
Trauma is in the church, yet it is often hard to see and can look like other things. A man’s seemingly unforgiving or distant disposition could be a self-protective traumatic response. A woman’s chronic illness might be directly connected to living through an emotionally distressing situation. A church member’s resistance to being involved in the life of the church may be connected to a disturbing past betrayal. Trauma burrows deep and can be hard to identify. 

A lack of understanding about the hidden realities of trauma can lead to further harm or re-traumatization. But what can you do if you don’t know what to look for? Pastors and ministry leaders often feel out of their league. Referral to professional counseling is not the only option for trauma-inflicted members of your church. Healing starts with an informed understanding of what traumatization looks like, how it can be misunderstood, and why the gospel is a relevant response.   

In this breakout session, licensed clinical and biblical counselor Eliza Huie will help you learn how to recognize the often missed or hidden signs of traumatization and equip you with a compassionate response that is anchored in eternal hope. 

“Creating Cultures of Concern” (Dr. Bergina Isbell)
Our world is dealing with a universal trauma right now in the wake of COVID-19. People who were already hurting with previous trauma, both in and out of the four walls of the physical church, are now joined by millions dealing with the impact of a global mental health crisis. The church is being asked to stand up in unity as the body of Christ.  

In this session we start at the foot of the cross, the place synonymous with both unspeakable trauma and unprecedented healing. We learn from our Savior how to identify with those who are hurting and create a culture of care. As we take the lead from our Savior, we learn how to help not only the wounded but also those who do the wounding. 

12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch and Panel Discussion/Q&A
Eliza Huie
Mark Dooley
BCM/D Sexual Abuse Task Force (Kris Buckman, Dr. Bergina Isbell, Keith Myer, Brad O’Brien, Tom Stolle)

For event questions, contact Mark Dooley ([email protected]) or Kris. Buckman ([email protected]).

For registration questions, contact Demetra Bennett ([email protected]).