And, by “Your Children” I mean all the children at your church.
There is a good chance you attend church with a sexual predator who is targeting the children who attend church with you. That does not mean you should be suspicious of every man or woman who walks through the door on Sunday morning, but it does mean you should be suspicious of the safety protocol your church has established to protect their youngest congregants. Unless you know for a fact that children’s leaders are diligently upholding a standard of safety, ask some questions and hold your leaders accountable. If they don’t like your questions, get even more suspicious. It’s right for you to care about what is happening within your church. In fact, Galations 6:10 exhorts us to activism on behalf of our church family:
“So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers].”
That is the Amplified Version, and I like it best, but any translation will say the same thing: do good to everyone, but especially your Brothers and Sisters in the Lord! The children in your church count as “everyone,” and as your Brothers and Sisters.
So, what do you ask the leaders? What should they be doing to keep your children safe?
1. Is There A Policy In Place?
- This means that when you bring the first question to the leadership, they are prepared to give you an answer.
- This means there is an information packet or brochure.
2. Is There Transparency And Accountability?
- This means the leadership will tell you of any past offenses that may have occurred under the church’s jurisdiction.
- This means you are assured that anyone in the congregation who is a recovering abusers is in an accountability relationship with the church leadership.
- This means you will feel free to bring your concerns to the leadership.
- This means the leadership will tell you how to hold them accountable.
3. Is There Awareness?
- This means the church talks about abuse.
- This means the abused know there is someone they can trust.
- This means the pastor preaches messages that minister to the hurting.
- This means parents are educated in how to protect their children at church, at home, in school, and in their community.
- This means parents are taught how to recognize signs of abuse, and how to report it.
4. Are Workers Screened?
- This means anyone who is going to work with minors in church, host them at home, or chaperone them at events will have a criminal record screening for every state where they have resided.
- This means prospective workers are thoroughly researched online.
- This means references are required and contacted.
- This means there is a waiting period.
- This means there are no allowances for people of reputation or position. No one is exempt.
5. Do Workers Follow Proper Protocol?
- This means, first and foremost, that there is regular training for workers, so that they know and are reminded of the Safety Protocol.
- This means there are two workers present with minors at all times. (Husband and wife teams don’t count!)
- This means workers never meet with minors privately, or drive them anywhere alone.
- This means workers and minors do not share private emails or texts.
- This means physical contact is restricted. (Not prohibited, but restricted.)
- This means workers dress appropriately and modestly.
6. Are Workers Protecting And Defending?
- This means alter ministry is gender-specific.
- This means minors are escorted to the bathroom, with the worker on guard outside.
- This means minors are signed-in and out of class, and only released to approved guardians.
- This means workers are trained to detect signs of abuse, and given a protocol to follow.
- This means workers are alert and on guard.
- This means charges of abuse are not handled internally, but reported to the proper authorities.
7. Is The Whole Church Working Together?
- This means every worker is screened, not only those working with minors.
- This means every leader knows the reporting protocol.
- This means ushers make the rounds during Sunday School.
- This means the pastor follows smart practices, too. No exemptions.
- This means church computers have porn-filtering safeguards in place.
If you are looking for more information, there are many resources available online. Start by going to your church leaders, though, and getting these questions answered. You may find out that one of the biggest hindrances to your children’s safety is a lack of workers. In that case, I hope you will consider becoming a volunteer yourself. Is there any better way to be sure your children are safe?