by Mandy Groot/ January 15, 2018
Every environment for our children is designed to serve a purpose. It could be that we want to create small groups with adult mentors, or maybe we want to incorporate some interactive, skill-based activities with an adult to lead, based on his or her specialty. Regardless of the purpose of these environments, there is one thing that must never be overlooked: child safety.
The midweek setting may look and feel different than Sunday, but it is not a time to scale back the safety of our children. If there is a distinct difference on Sunday and midweek, parents and kids will notice.
Here is a simple “Safety Environment Checklist” for your midweek groups to get you started:
Screen Your Adults–every one of them. Every adult working in a setting with minors will need a background check. Check with your church leadership on procedures. The article “Screening Children’s Ministry Volunteers” by Dr. Richard Hammar is a great resource on this topic.
Always Have Two—or more. No matter how experienced an adult is with leading children, it should always be a standard to have a minimum of two adults per groups of children. If necessary, combine groups to make it work.
Review Illustrations and Content–practice beforehand. There are many things we can do to keep kids engaged and excited. When doing a special illustration, practice it before you present it. You should also check to ensure content is appropriate for your audience. It can be helpful to give content to a parent or another leader to review.
Know Your Leaders and Presenters. The buck stops with you. You are the one who will get the phone calls and texts if a leader crosses the line. Your trusted leader may endorse someone, but you need to be familiar with a presenter or leader.
Secure Check-In and Check-Out. Ensure that the people dropping off the child are the same as those picking them up. If possible, have one place for parents or guardians to drop off and pick up kids. You don’t need amazing computer software to accomplish this. Simple cards/labels with matching numbers (one for parent and one for child) work well.
This is just a basic checklist, not all inclusive, and you should meet with your lead or executive pastor to see what his or her expectations are to maximize the safety of kids attending the midweek ministry.
We all desire to disciple our kids. In today’s world, a safe environment is just as crucial as a good curriculum or program.