Rule of Three (Volunteer Training Nugget #7)

Jared Massey —  February 24, 2011

Today’s society is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for both children and those that serve them. It is for this reason that a “Rule of Three” should always be enforced. The rule of three simply states that no fewer than three individuals should be alone at any time.

The ideal situation is to have a minimum of two adults present at all times. This not only reduces the risk for the child being abused, but it also limits the appearance of anything inappropriate. However, in many churches limited staffing makes this nearly impossible. In those situations, the rule of three still needs to be practiced, but another child can act as the third person. Even in these situations, every reasonable attempt should be made to find another adult or teenager to help.

NO ADULT SHOULD EVER BE ALONE WITH A CHILD. Never, under any circumstances should any adult be asked to stay alone with a child, take a child to the restroom alone, take a child home without anyone else in the car, etc. The only exception to this rule would be the adult’s son or daughter and even still I recommend caution as a visitor may not know that is their child and it may appear as though they are alone together. This can cause your church to be viewed as unsafe.

In our church, we also attempt to live by this rule even with adults. As a male pastor, I make every attempt to never be alone at the church with a female. This is not so much because I’m afraid of what might happen as much as I am cautious of how it appears to the community. If you live in a small community like I do, you know that rumors are easy to start and are almost never fully stopped.

**Example rule of three: “For the safety of our children and volunteers/staff, there will never be less than three persons present in any situation. This can be two workers and one child, or one worker and two children. This rule will be enforced both on and off church grounds.”

By implementing and enforcing this simple rule, you will make your church a much safer place for the children and reduce your liability risk dramatically.

Jared Massey

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Jared is the associate pastor at Warsaw Assembly of God in Warsaw, IL where his primary responsibilities include children's and youth ministries. He also works full time during the week at local bank. He is married to his high school sweetheart and they have one son.