A quick review of 2019 makes us realize how much the world has changed, and not always for the better. Gone are the days the church was the one safe place in town to bring your kids.
With mass shooters invading schools, movie theaters, malls, and yes, even churches—not to mention child predators—this is the year to resolve to keep your church and ministry safe. Here are the top five safety standards every church needs to have in place for 2020.
#5: Child Check-in Procedure
Having a secure system in place to check kids in and out is now a standard operating procedure in children’s ministry. Be sure to utilize a system for every event and program offered for children and not just for Sunday school.
Does your church have a response plan in place for if a disaster hits? First Presbyterian Church in Waunakee, Wisconsin, has a written plan to cover key concerns such as severe storms, fire, an active shooter, robbery, and threats. All ministry leaders at this church are required to read and sign off on the action plan and attend training annually. An emergency action plan spells out exactly what needs to be done—and who needs to do it.
#3: Triage Team
Recruit paramedics, doctors, and nurses to assist in the event of medical emergencies. Teams can be on call as needed, but make sure someone with medical training is available at every service and program your church conducts. Equip triage teams with access to medical and first-aid supplies.
#2: Churchwide Security System
Jeff Kowell, director of life safety at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, says security teams at his church are trained to look for “DLRs,” meaning “Don’t Look Right.” Trained team members are strategically located throughout the interior and exterior of the church to make sure everyone is safe. To maximize the effectiveness of your security team members, equip them with a communication system—two-way radios, for example.
A comprehensive background check is still the best defense in screening out potential predators. Trends show that annual rechecking is now the norm. Consult your insurance provider, local schools, and area churches to determine how often you’ll rescreen those who work with children and youth.
Churches of every size have the resources to fully protect their people. Activate these standards in 2020 and create a safe, inviting church environment for years to come.
– – Taken from a recent Shepherd’s Watch newsletter. Sign up today for Shepherd’s Watch Background Checks and receive your free monthly newsletter filled with advice and tips on keeping your church safe.
(We love to provide tips to keep your ministry safe. You may also want to consult your local legal advisors to get their perspective on this topic!)