Reassuring Parents Our Ministries are Safe Places for Their Kids?

Lynda Freeman —  November 23, 2011

With the news of the past week it is impossible to not have our hearts grieve for children who have been harmed at the hands of an adult they should have been able to trust. When news like this hits the airwaves, it leaves parents understandably shaken and in need of assurance they can trust the adults who have access to their children. So what can you do to help parents know their children are safe with you? Consider the following . . .

  • Transparency. Share your written child safety policy with the parents of the children in your church and community. This is an excellent opportunity to mail a copy of your safety policy to each family in your ministry and schedule a time for parents to sit down with you to walk through your policy and how you implement it. Invite parents to visit their children’s classes and be sure they know their child’s teachers.
  • Collaborate. Along this note, schedule a time for your volunteers to sit down with the parents. Give the volunteers the opportunity to share why they serve and provide time for parents and volunteers to pray together for the children. Help parents and volunteers come together as a team to disciple their children!
  • Vigilance. Pay attention. Watch. Have a plan for safety in all areas of your ministry and stick to it like glue.
  • Prayer. Make the safety of the children an issue which is at, and which remains at, the top of your prayer list.

The price is too high when we do not do everything we possibly can to ensure the safety of the children entrusted to our ministries. Make it your highest commitment.

Lynda Freeman

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Lynda has been married to Dave for 30 years . . . they met on a volcano in Northern California! Lynda took one look at Dave and thought, “We will get married!” And so they did! They have two grown children, Tiffany (26) and Dave (25), a daughter-in-law, Jackie (26) and two grandsons; Josiah (3) and the newly arrived Caleb – they are the delight of her life! Lynda lives in West Michigan and has served in children’s ministry for 40 years . . . she started with a Wednesday night class for four year olds when she was 10 . . . and has led ministries in churches with 100 people, 1600 people and several in-between. Children’s ministry is the passion of Lynda’s heart – she wants volunteers to love serving and children to love being there so they can learn to know and walk with Jesus all their lives! Lynda worked as a consultant for Gospel Light, Group and Zonderkidz/Big Idea/Willow Creek and worked as the Church Resource Consultant for Kregel Bookstores for 13 years providing training and answering questions for churches throughout West Michigan. She has written for Children’s Ministry Magazine and Your Church Magazine, wrote some of the preschool lessons for Big Idea’s VeggieConnections curriculum, was a contributing author for Group’s Humongous Book of Bible Skits for Children’s Ministry and wrote the Connections to Christ portion of the Manners that Matter curriculum from Maralee McKee. Eight years ago Lynda was diagnosed with MS, Lupus and a few other auto-immune illnesses and can no longer work “hands-on” with children . . . the stairs at her church are best avoided. However, Lynda consults with and advises her church and writes their curriculum, kidz Connection. She also writes a blog – About the Children’s Department - and is developing a series of children’s books and a resource on praying the Scripture! For fun, Lynda writes a blog for grandmas- grandma’s cookie jar (www.grandmascookiejar.net ) . . . well, grandpas, moms and dads are welcome to read it, too! You will find her on Twitter, Facebook and CM Connect .

2 responses to Reassuring Parents Our Ministries are Safe Places for Their Kids?

  1. I like the idea of transparency and communication. Having policies available (and telling others that you have them is a great idea).

    But we also thought that being pro-active in communicating policies is important. For example, if you mailing (or have on your website) a 5 or 10 page document detailing your safety policies, and say, “here it is,” most people are not likely to read it.

    But (via your ministry’s blog, Facebook, or email newsletter) if you state one portion of your policy, and then link to the policy as a whole, you’re more likely to get people to check it out.

    For example, you can say, “Due to allergies, please be sure to not bring any peanut-containing snacks in the children’s ministry area. To read about this and other safety policies, click here.”

    Doing this 3-6 times per year will help communicate how important safety is to you and your ministry.