The Director of Missions for Missouri’s Crossroads Baptist Association has resigned after he was confronted with and confessed to an “inappropriate” relationship with a then-teenage girl several years ago.
Mark Carter has stepped down after it was discovered that he exchanged texts, emails, and “touching” with the teen.
It is not clear how old the young person was when Carter was engaged in this intimacy, and Crossroads Baptist Association, a network of 29 churches associated with the Missouri Baptist Association, clarified that it was determined none of his actions were criminal.
“It grieves us to learn that a Baptist director of missions in central Missouri has engaged in inappropriate behavior toward a young person – specifically, texting, emails, and inappropriate touching. When confronted with his actions, he admitted the accusations were true and resigned,” the association said in a statement.
“Leaders of the Crossroads Baptist Association continue to love and minister to the young person and others impacted by this sin. Further, we join the association in reminding all churches to report any troubling or offensive conduct by anyone at church or related activities. This includes notifying appropriate local and state authorities immediately,” they also said.
In an email to The Christian Post, Crossroads emphasized that while the relationship Carter confessed to having engaged in with the youth, there will be no legal charges filed.
“The parties have agreed that the conduct of texting and touching was inappropriate, especially for a minister, but, the misconduct fell far short of sex or sexual abuse,” the email explained. “Legal authorities do not believe there was a crime, and so legal charges were not filed and are not expected.”
The Missouri Baptist Convention’s director of ministry support and apologetics, Rob Phillips, also told the Post that while the convention cannot mandate churches conduct sexual abuse prevention training, that they have “long encouraged” their church affiliates to ensure their members receive such guidance.
He pointed to two such training programs within the Southern Baptist Convention, “Stewards of Children” and “Caring Well.”
Phillips added that while the convention is unable to “answer for every church” as SBC churches operate independently, “we know that our churches are experiencing a heightened sense of awareness with respect to sexual abuse and are taking positive steps to address this.”
“Many of our churches tell us they are going beyond standard background checks to ensure they are taking the greatest care to make our churches the safest possible places for people to gather and worship,” he also said.
We have reported a number of troubling stories involving alleged abuse at the hands of church leaders including one pastor who was arrested and charged after being accused of giving teenage girl methamphetamine at church and sexually abusing her — at his church, no less.
There can indeed be no measure too severe taken to ensure that churches are kept safe from predators.
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