Jan 30, 2018

4 Keys to Keeping Your Ministry Safe for Kids and Families

Is your ministry safe for kids and families?

If someone tried to pick up a child who wasn't theirs during dismissal, would they succeed?

If a sexual predator tried to start serving in your ministry, would he be able to sneak in?

If a shooter suddenly opened fire, would you know what to do?

Do first-time guests feel safe leaving their children in your ministry?

If an unapproved person tried walking into your children's area, would he or she be stopped?

If a volunteer was accused of hurting a child during class by yanking their arm, would you have the ability to know what happened?

If a mother frantically approached one of your volunteers and said she couldn't find her child, would the volunteer know what to do next?

These are real-life situations that can happen.  And ministries must be prepared.  In each of these scenarios, just reacting on the spur of the moment won't cut it.  You've got to act ahead of time to stop it from happening in the first place.  And then if it does happen, despite all your precautionary measures, know what steps to take to resolve the issue.

Let's look at 4 keys you can put in place to help make your ministry a safe place for kids and families.

Key #1 - Have a thorough on-boarding process for new volunteers.  The process should include...
  • background check
  • orientation where safety and security guidelines are clearly explained and expectations are set
  • hands-on training with a veteran volunteer
Key #2 - Never allow anyone to be alone with a child.  No one key stands alone in keeping kids safe.  You need to have them all in place.  But if I had to pick the one that helps keep kids safe above all others, it would be this one.

No one should ever....ever...ever be alone with a child.  This means you don't open a classroom until 2 approved volunteers are there.  This means you never drive a child or teenage volunteer home alone.  This means no one walks a child to the bathroom alone.  This means no one meets with a child alone. 

Key #3 - Have a check-in and check-out process.  Every ministry should have a check-in process in place.  Don't listen to "you know me" or "I've been coming forever" or "we're a rural community, nothing would ever happen here" or "we can't afford it."

You can't afford NOT to have a check-in and check-out process.  I recommend KidCheck.

Key #4 -  Only allow approved people in your children's ministry areas.  The days of allowing anyone who wants to enter the children's ministry area is over.  Your entire children's ministry area, including the hallways, should be an area that is off-limits to anyone who isn't pre-approved to be there.

Set up checkpoints, where you check parent security tags, volunteer badges, etc. before the person is allowed to enter the children's ministry area.

Like never before, it is critical that churches are prepared to make their ministries a safe place for kids and families.

If you'd like more steps to put in place to make your ministry a safe place, you can get the Safety and Security online seminar at this link.  It includes 2 hours of teaching about...
  • Why Children's Ministry Safety & Security Must Be a Priority for Churches
  • Predator Proofing Your Ministry 
  • Safeguarding Your Ministry

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