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

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Bert Perry's picture

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.