Children's Ministry Is Not Childcare!

Oh wait... it might be

by Spencer Click/ May 17, 2016

One of the great mantras of children’s ministry is that we are not childcare. But I think we need to get over that because part of our job in ministry is childcare. 

Creating a safe and secure environment is indicative of a childcare mindset in ministry—we need to take the safety of the children entrusted to us with the same level of seriousness as local preschools, daycares, and Chuck-E-Cheese!  (These are all non-ministry locations that take child security seriously!) Thinking in terms of childcare, safety, and security does not belittle the ministry—it enhances it. 

Frame it this way—you may have the most spectacular ministry on the planet, but if you lose or maim a child due to carelessness or negligence, it won’t matter. Parents won’t trust you regardless of how well you teach the gospel. 

So, what policies and procedures do you have in place to enhance your ministry’s effectiveness through ensuring that kids can be safe and secure while learning about Jesus and having fun? 

Here are some things we have in place to help parents feel at ease with the quality of care their children will receive when they come:

* Every child has a unique security tag, and only an adult with the corresponding tag can pick up the child.

  • We also have a “lost tag” process in place. This is bothersome, so most parents only lose their tag once.

* Two adults in the room with kids

  • Married adults count as one adult.
  • Adults do not use kids’ bathrooms and vice versa.

* Hallway roamers

  • Men from our risk management team walk the hallways to ensure no one from the outside is somewhere they shouldn’t be.

* Eliminate hiding spots.

  • All our classrooms have windows in the doors.
  • Places that can be “out-of-sight” are locked to eliminate opportunity.

* Safety is everyone’s job.

  •  “Why are you here?”
    • Our front desk volunteers, teachers, and hallway roamers ask this question all the time (although maybe a little more politely) to folks that look out of place. They know we are there for the kids, and protecting them is part of that job! 

Why is this all so important? Because we live in an unsafe world. 

Late last year, a church in our area failed to follow the procedures recommended above and the unthinkable happened. A parent who was in a custody fight came to church and picked up the kids and now they’re gone. Gone, due to negligence and failure to ensure the safety of the kids. 

If parents feel that their child is unsafe, they won’t leave them and you won’t have the opportunity to minister to them. Take safety and security seriously—it is a lot like childcare, but it could make a world of difference in your effectiveness in ministry!