Today I want to talk about a very real danger - one which we MUST be on guard for, but prayerfully, one which we will never actually see in our children's ministries . . . the danger of child abuse. As I've said before, "While our top mission is to reach children for Jesus and then disciple them so they know how to walk with Him their entire lives; our top priority must be safety. If we do not provide the safest environment possible for the children we are entrusted with, then we do not deserve the opportunity to share the news of Jesus with these children. We must be absolutely committed to doing all we possibly can to make our children's ministry a safe place for children." We owe the children, parents, church and community that our children's ministries are safe places for children to be.
So, let's consider some basic "points" in regards to child safety . . .
- The first "step" when considering safety is to make a commitment to be alert. We can not afford to think we have safety "covered" . . . we must take the time and do the hard work needed to know our ministries are as safe as possible. Do not assume your ministry is safe.
- Secondly, bring others "on-board". Communicate with the pastors, elders and other church leaders so everyone knows where you stand as far as safety is concerned and most importantly, what you need to do to make your ministry safe.
- Get your safety policy in writing. Post your safety policies in the appropriate places and include it in your children's ministry brochures.
- Train your volunteers so they know your safety policies, including your abuse prevention policy, fire safety, sick/well child policy, first aid/communicable disease policy, severe weather policy, child drop off/pick up procedures and staffing policies.
- Remain alert and watchful. Don't take it for granted everyone knows . . . and follows your policies. Watch. Watch. Watch!
It matters if our ministries are safe places for children. We can not afford to have a casual attitude when it comes to safety. We are responsible for the children in our care so we must be absolutely committed to doing everything we possibly can to make our ministries safe so we are able to share the good news of Jesus with the children and families in our church and community.
There are some excellent resources for your church on how to have a safe children's ministry - take a look at these . . .