Pastor’s recent arrest reminder for churches to ‘protect the vulnerable’

[The Alabama Baptist] Pastor’s recent arrest reminder for churches to ‘protect the vulnerable’

Longtime Alabama Baptist pastor Ken Daniel’s arrest Oct. 19 shocked the congregation and many across the state. It especially captured the attention of those serving on the state convention’s Sexual Abuse Task Force.

“I was heartbroken to hear the news,” said task force chair Craig Carlisle. “It hit so close to home because everything is fresh in our mind as a task force. To see something happen right ahead of the report (which will be presented Nov. 15 at the upcoming state convention annual meeting) is a reminder of why we did what we did and are doing what we are doing.”

Daniel, pastor of First Baptist Church Chalkville, has been charged with “facilitating solicitation of unlawful sexual conduct with a child” and will remain in the Blount County Jail until his early November hearing date.

Alleged abuse of 7 year old

According to multiple media reports, the alleged victim is 7 years old and was inappropriately touched by Daniel, 64, on several occasions since January 2020. The girl reportedly said the incidents happened on church property as well as at Daniel’s home and during a pool party.

The Alabama Baptist is attempting to obtain the incident offense report from the Blount County Sheriff’s office to verify the specifics of the case.

Media reports indicate Daniel’s arrest came after the girl told her grandfather, who both live in Blount County, what had been happening.

Daniel’s ministry service

Daniel, who lives in Alabaster, has served full-time as pastor of FBC Chalkville since Jan. 7, 2018.

He previously served as bivocational pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Clanton from Nov. 3, 2011, through May 11, 2017, and Lake Highland Baptist Church in Birmingham from Jan. 7, 2005, through May 10, 2011. He also has served other churches in Alabama and South Carolina.

Daniel is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his wife, Susan, have two children.

Following the release of the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force report in May, Daniel posted on social media: “I have served on staff in churches within the SBC over 38 years. I agree … this is tragic to victims and heartbreaking. Cases needed to be investigated. My question is about … releasing more information than necessary. … There is sexual misconduct in every profession, even churches. How do churches benefit from over exposure of poor leadership? Churches are struggling to keep doors open. How are we to evangelize and bring people to Christ?”

‘Prayers with victim and congregation’

FBC Chalkville has an average worship attendance of fewer than 50 people and is a member of Birmingham Metro Baptist Association, where Chris Crain serves as executive director.

“In cases where there are allegations of abuse, our churches must be ready to support any alleged victim and also to report and comply with the authorities,” Crain said. “Our prayers are always with any victim and with the congregation.”

Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, echoed sentiments of concern and prayer.

“This is both a sad and terrible situation,” he said. “It saddens all of us to hear about someone who has been hurt in this way, especially a child.”

Helping churches be prepared

“This situation is a reminder that all churches need to be as prepared as possible to protect people and prevent incidents such as this. The State Board of Missions partners with MinistrySafe to help churches with training as to how to protect people and prevent incidents of predatory activity,” Lance said, noting SBOM has scholarships available for the first 1,000 churches to sign up for MinistrySafe training. The $200 scholarship reduces the first year’s membership fee to $50.

Carlisle added, “A big part of our emphasis as a task force will be church prevention and preparation. We are very concerned about our churches taking this seriously.

“We desire so much for our pastors to listen and heed and do all they can to make sure their churches are protected,” he said. “There’s too much assumption that we know everybody … but those days are gone. We have to take every precaution no matter what — no matter what community we are in and no matter how long we’ve known someone.”

Associational leaders ‘on front lines’

The associational leaders (directors of missions and associational mission strategists) are the ones to lead the way, said Carlisle, who serves as DOM for Etowah Baptist Association in the northeastern side of the state.

“We are the guys who are going to be on the front lines of this. If our churches are going to take it seriously, then we are going to have to be the ones who do so,” he contends. “While we can’t make them, we can strongly encourage them. … The DOMs are the closest to the churches.”

The current news “is just another reminder what we are up against,” Carlisle added. “Alabama Baptists are trying to do all we can to help protect the vulnerable as well as the churches in our communities.”

To sign up, go to ministrysafe.com/alsbom. Click on the Sign Up Now button and use the coupon code “alsbom.” For more information about MinistrySafe’s work with Alabama Baptist churches, call 334-613-2241.