Before you take an offering, hold a service, or sign a contract, every church planter or campus pastor needs to take eleven key steps to sleep easier, protect the ministry, and stay out of court. Here’s step number one!
Prioritize Children’s Safety Over Everything Else
Unfortunately, the number one reason churches go to court is the sexual abuse of minors under the church’s care. Consider the following scenario:
Pastor Rob is ready to launch a new congregation in a growing suburb of a major city. As part of that launch process, the church designed a series of events to reach young families in the community. Currently, the church has no screening or training process for volunteers who plan to participate in the outreaches. What steps should the church take to protect children, volunteers, and the church?
Develop a Child, Youth, and Volunteer Protection Policy
Before Pastor Rob holds his first outreach to children, he needs to develop a policy that defines who, when, where, and how volunteers are able to minister to children and youth at the new church. An effective policy is designed to protect children from any form of abuse, protect innocent workers from false accusations, and protect the church’s future ministry in the community.
An effective Child, Youth, and Volunteer Protection Policy will address the following issues:
- Screening for Volunteer and Compensated Workers
- General Policies for Supervision of Volunteers
- The Response of the Church to Allegations of Abuse
- Responsibilities of Church Staff Under the Policy
Train All Children’s and Youth Volunteers Regarding the Policy
A policy that is adopted, but not implemented is useless at best—and, may be detrimental if there is a lawsuit. Therefore, once the policy is adopted, each children’s and youth volunteer should receive a written copy of the policy, receive training regarding the policy, and sign an affirmation form, stating that they have received, read, and will abide by the policy.
Obtain Consent from All Children’s and Youth Volunteers for Background Checks
Every volunteer who works with children or youth must be required to consent to and pass a background screening check, pursuant to the church’s Child, Youth, and Volunteer Protection Policy.
Regularly Review and Update the Policy
Several years ago, no church would have considered an electronic communication policy or a social media policy; however, as times change, the need for new policies to provide a safe environment for ministry grows. The Board should schedule regular reviews of all church policies, including the Child, Youth, and Volunteer Protection Policy.
Keeping Them Safe
Reynolds Law Group, PLLC has developed a turn-key program to assist churches in preventing the sexual abuse of minors called Keeping Them Safe. To purchase the full-kit and gain peace of mind and stay out of court, Click Here. Currently, Keeping Them Safe is currently on sale for $97.00, which is for over 75% off the regular price of $397.00.