"> Southern Baptist Pastor, Church Planter, and Author Arrested for Child Porn – Ministry Watch

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Southern Baptist Pastor, Church Planter, and Author Arrested for Child Porn

Steve Rabey

T. Elliott Welch, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Stanleyville, North Carolina, was arrested April 27 after local law enforcement officials received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that he uploaded a video showing a young girl being raped by an adult.

Three days later, he resigned from the church he had served for more than six years. 

“We are shocked and saddened by the criminal charges brought against T. Elliott Welch, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Stanleyville,” said the church in a statement posted on the home page of its website. “We in no way condone the behavior for which Pastor Welch has been accused.”

Welch, 34, was charged with one count of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor for uploading a copy of a video showing a nude girl approximately 10-12 years old being raped by an adult male.

The married father of four was a graduate of Liberty University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary who had served six years as associate and youth pastor before becoming First Baptist’s senior pastor last year. He worked with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board in church planting and was the author of books, including a self-published Christmas devotional he co-authored with his wife that was released in late 2020.

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A 2014 Liberty article described Welch “working as a chaplain at the local Baptist Medical Center” in Ghana, Africa. “Welch and his family serve primarily the Mamprusi people, praying with the patients, counseling the terminally ill, helping grieving families, and staying in contact with patients once they have returned to their villages,” said the article.

His latest book, The Local Church: God’s Plan to Reach the World, was released in March 2021. The book argues that “active involvement in your church is crucial to your life as a follower of Christ.”

The Christian Post reported that Welch was released on bond of $50,000 and is scheduled for a court hearing May 13.

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Steve Rabey
Steve Rabey

Steve Rabey is a veteran author and journalist who has published more than 50 books and 2,000 articles about religion, spirituality, and culture. He was an instructor at Fuller and Denver seminaries and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He and his wife Lois live in Colorado.

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