Monday, August 27, 2012

Trust . . . Takes Years to Build . . .

A friend posted this on their Facebook the other day . . .
It got me to thinking. Trust is an essential part of children’s ministry . . .
  • parents need to be able to trust us
  • children need to be able to trust us
  • our volunteers need to be able to trust us
  • we need to be able to trust our volunteers
So . . . for the next few days, let’s take a look at trust. Trust takes years to build . . .
How do we build trust with parents?
  • If you have not already done so, sit down and develop a child safety policy. Put in writing what you do to make your children’s ministry a safe place. Be sure to include the following – volunteer screening (background check, interview, application) – student to volunteer ratios (including minimum number of volunteers who must be present at all times when children are in the children’s ministry) – policy regarding married couples serving at the same time in the same classroom (do you require an additional unrelated adult?) – minimum age for volunteers – bathroom policy – sick child policy – sign in/pick up policy – driver policy (who can drive children on church activities, do you check their driving record?) These are just a few to get in writing. Make this information available to parents.
  • Spend time with the parents – get to know them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Pray with them and for them.
  • Do what you say you will do.
  • Provide opportunities for parents and volunteers to build a relationship – plan socials, prayer times and anything you can do to encourage communication.
How do we build trust with children?
  • Learn and remember their names. Encourage volunteers to take the time to get to know the children in their small groups/classes. tell them to take notes and do what they have to so they are able to remember the kids.
  • Pay attention – notice if a child is absent, find out if they are sick, show an interest. Pay attention to what is happening in and with their family – new siblings, parent’s job situation, etc. Pay attention!
  • Do what you say you will do.
  • Involve all children as equally as possible – don’t just have the same children always help, participate in skits, answer questions, etc.
  • Listen. Listen to their questions, concerns, joys, fears and the things which make them sad.
  • Pray with and for them.
  • Always follow your child safety policy – whenever you are interacting with the children in your small group/class be sue there are other adults around.
How do we build trust with the volunteers?
  • Do what you say you will do.
  • Listen to them.
  • Pray with and for them.
  • Spend time with them, building your relationship.
  • Pay attention. Notice when they are going through tough times and rejoice with them in good times.
As we do these things  - especially as we build trust with our volunteers, we will find we are able to trust them, too. These things are not “quick fixes” . . . they take time, because it is true . . . trust takes years to build. Tomorrow I’ll look at since trust can take seconds to break, what can you do to repair it?

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