When it comes to Children’s Ministry, there are so many things to think about, but one essential, absolutely important thing we must keep in mind, is the safety of the children in our ministry. This means we are resolute about running safety checks, background checks and following up with references for each and every person working/serving in the Children’s Ministry as well as for each and every person who volunteers to serve.
It also means we keep an appropriate child/adult ratio in our classes, we do not let married couples serve together without another unrelated adult present and we have child safety policies we train all our volunteers on each and every year.
However; there is another very important thing we must do to keep the children safe . . . something you may not have considered. Pretty much every adult and teen – and even some children – in your church have phones . . . which they carry with them everywhere they go. This means pretty much every adult, teen – and even some children – in your church have cameras which they carry with them everywhere they go.
Why does this matter? Because it means they have these phones – and cameras – with them when they are in the restrooms and other places where the children in your ministry may be as well. How does this impact your Children’s Ministry and being certain it is a safe place for children? Consider the following . . .
1. If your church has bathrooms in your children’s area which are for the children – keep a volunteer posted outside them at all times when children are in the building to be certain only children are in them – do not allow adults or teens to use these bathrooms. Period. This will mean you will have unhappy parents to deal with from time to time, but if no adults are in there – ever – then the children are likely to be safer in the bathroom.
2. Be sure your Pastors and Elders are on board with this and have them address it with the adults to let them know you have a policy which says no adults – parents included – are allowed in the bathrooms for the children during any times when children are participating in the Children’s Ministry.
3. Be sure to have an alternative bathroom for those parents who insist on accompanying their children.
4. If your church does not have a bathroom which is exclusively for children to use, be sure to send a volunteer with a child when they use the bathrooms, so they are able to check the bathrooms for any adults before the child uses them and then stand outside to ask adults to wait for the child to finish. Again, you will need to have leaders I your church explain this policy.
It is one of the saddest parts of Children’s Ministry for us to even have to think about bathrooms, camera phones and children, but we do. If you do not have a camera phone/adult/bathroom policy, get one. It is necessary for your Children’s Ministry to be a safe place for children.