When it comes to children’s ministry there are so many wonderful things to write about . . . since I love pretty much everything which has anything to do with children’s ministry I do think most everything about it is wonderful! I did however; use the words, “pretty much” and “most everything”, because there is one thing about children’s ministry which I hate. Abuse of children. If you serve very long in children’s ministry, tragically, you will be faced with children how have been, and even worse, who are being abused.
So, first of all, lets take a few moments to talk about prevention of abuse at church. The children’s ministry in your church MUST be a safe place for children. You MUST take this seriously and do all you can possibly do to make your ministry safe. The following are essentials you MUST do to make your ministry a safe place . . .
- Have a child safety policy in writing and stick to it. Period.
- Require ALL people who have access to the children in your church to be screened, interviewed and have a background check on them. Do not make any exceptions.
- Always have at least two unrelated adults in every classroom whenever there are children in the rooms.
- Be sure all classrooms have windows in the doors – if they do not, require doors to be left open.
- Never allow any adults to be alone with children. Ever.
- Establish a child check in and pick up policy so you know who is able to pick up children from your ministry.
These are just a few basics, but make sure you have a child safety policy and procedures in place to do all you can to make your ministry a safe place for children.
Once you have these things covered, make sure you train your volunteers so they know what to watch for and to be sure to pay attention. If they see or hear something which gives them “pause”, be sure your volunteers know what your policy is for reporting suspected child abuse.
When you receive a report of suspected child abuse, follow up on it. Period. If a child is being harmed you must do all you can to protect the child.
Like I said, I love almost everything about children’s ministry and most everything about children’s ministry is wonderful. But, tragically, there are children in your church and community who are being abused. Take steps to make your ministry safe. Be alert. Pay attention. And pray. Pray for the children and families in your church and community and be ready to offer help to those who are wounded by abuse.