Never Bend These 10 Children’s Ministry Guidelines

“here are some guidelines that you should never, ever bend. Most of these are related to the safety of the children and volunteers.” - C.Leaders


I’ve written a children’s ministry policy for my church, and the rule of thumb that I give to anyone who would “bend” a lot of the recommendations is “would you be willing to address why you did this if placed on the witness stand by an aggressive plaintiff’s lawyer representing a victim of child sexual abuse?”

That noted, I’d rephrase and add a few. The first one I’d rephrase as a “two adult rule”—and remind people that the second person is significantly a witness to whatever did, or did not, happen. Some other things our church is trying to implement:

  • Applications and child safety training are required for all childrens’ workers.
  • Required incident reports—really for anything as significant as needing a bandaid or comfort from leaders.
  • Required reporting for actual crimes. I’ve actually been asked whether mandatory reporters should hold off until the church is notified—my response is “no, don’t go to jail for that, since the church will get the information via mandatory discovery anyways!”.
  • Training includes a bit about how the legal system works, and why anything criminal ought to go through it, even if it’s terribly expensive and painful. Police have a good feel for evidence (or at least should), they get the blame if they drop the ball, they’ve got huge resources like collection and analysis of physical/circumstantial evidence, we benefit from legal protections, etc..
  • Men are discouraged/prohibited from certain things like diaper changes. (I’ve seen a lot of tears from men at that one)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.