Jun 29, 2017

The One Rule That Will Save Your Children's Ministry

Recently, a high-profile children's ministry leader was accused of abusing several children in the ministry he was part of.  Some of the abuse allegedly happened at the church.  He is currently sitting in jail awaiting trial. 

When something like this happens, it is heartbreaking on so many levels.  First and foremost, for the children themselves.  And then for the parents and church.  An incident like this can bring great shame to the cause of Christ and to the local church where the abuse happened.  The place where children should be the safest becomes the place where they were betrayed.

In this case, there were rules and precautions in place.  The alleged perpetrator had no history of abusing children and background checks had been done.  But there was one rule that was not followed that could have prevented this from happening.  Here it is.

NEVER BE ALONE WITH A CHILD.

Let me say it again.  NEVER BE ALONE WITH A CHILD.  NO ONE.  NO EXCEPTIONS.  UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES.

This means you don't open a classroom until there are two volunteers present. 

This means you don't ride in a car alone with a child or even a teenage volunteer.

This means you have both volunteers stay in the room until all the children have been picked up.

This means you are not alone with a child in the church office or facilities during the week.

This means you don't allow small group leaders to have a party at their house with kids unless parents or staff are present.

This means you aren't alone with a child during an outing, camp or other special event.

Each preventative measure you put in place helps build a wall of protection around children.  These include background checks, reference calls and personal interviews.  But without the "never alone with a child" rule in place, you still have a glaring hole in your wall of protection.  This rule should be non-negotiable.

This rule also protects your staff and volunteers.  In the case of a false accusation, it is the child's word versus the adult's word.  And the child's world will hold more weight...as it should.  Never put yourself or your volunteers in this situation by being alone with a child.

Our prayers are with everyone involved in this case.  The sad part of it, it could have been avoided if this simple rule had been followed.

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