The first reason is to protect the children God has placed in your care. Not too concerned? Go to www.familywatchdog.us and put in your church address. You'll change your mind very quickly.
Secondly, to protect the ministry of your church. The evil one would love to hurt the cause of Christ and see the reputation of your children's ministry destroyed in the community.
Thirdly, is for parents to feel safe leaving their kids in your care. If parents don't feel their children are safe, they will not return. Your children's ministry will not grow because of this.
Here's 7 keys to making your children's ministry a safe place.
Key #1 - Background checks on everyone before they are approved to serve. Please, please, please don't skip this step. You can't afford not to.
Key #2 - Personal interview with everyone before they start serving. Sit down with each person and have a list of questions you ask them. This includes questions like, "Is there anything in your past that we need to know about that would make it questionable for you to serve with kids?"
Key #3 - Never allow anyone to be alone with a child. Do not open rooms until you have at least 2 volunteers present. This must be a non-negotiable.
Key #4 - Have a window so you can see in every room. There should be a window in the door or wall so people can see in the room at all times. (if possible also put a camera in every room that records the activities - there will be times when you will need to go back and watch the tape to see what happened in an incident)
Key #5 - Have "kid-only" restrooms. Adults should not be allowed in the bathrooms the kids use.
Key #6 - Have a check-in system that provides matching security tags for kids and their parents. Parents must have the matching tag to pick up their child. No exceptions. This is another non-negotiable.
Key # 7 - Only approved volunteers are allowed in the children's rooms. They should wear a name tag, shirt or badge that identifies them as an approved volunteers
One of these keys alone is not enough. The more you have in place, the safer your children's ministry will be. When you have all 7 in place, it creates a solid wall of protection.
What are some other steps you take to keep the kids in your ministry safe? Share with us in the comment section below.