You don't have to talk to very many people to hear a "horror" story of a ministry where the children were not safe. Just look at the Catholic church for one example of what can happen when safety is not a priority. Sadly, in far too many churches child safety has not been a priority and the resulting damage has been devastating to children, families, the church and the community as a whole. Parents need to know we take our responsibility seriously and we will do everything we possibly can to keep their child safe when they are in our care.
Today we will consider some basic "points" in regards to child safety and then in coming posts we will focus on specific areas where we need to be alert and watchful.
- 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; 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 . . .