“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
As Paul discussed in his “love chapter,” actions speak louder than words. When it comes to keeping ministry safe, talking is a great place to start, but action is required.
This month, show your volunteers love and affirmation by creating a ministry environment that keeps them safe. Here’s how:
Learn. You champion the efforts to put safety first when you train volunteers about child abuse prevention. Help your team members recognize the signs of abuse and ways to prevent it from happening. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Start planning how you can educate your volunteers, parents, church members, and staff on their part in promoting the physical and social well-being of children. The Department of Health and Human Services offers free resources to get everyone involved.
Live. Don’t be a noisy gong when it comes to safety standards; practice what you preach. Establish and enforce the practices that are necessary for abuse prevention. Background checks are still the best defense, so require them for everyone who has access to children. Once you establish policies and operating procedures for safe ministry, it’s vital that you hold to them.
Love. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians included the reminder that love is patient and kind. Working with people can get messy. Leading safe ministry can also be messy. So determine how you’ll demonstrate love to your volunteers—not just on Valentine’s Day, but all year long. You may want to snatch up some chocolate hearts when they go on sale and save them for later this spring. Give one to each volunteer with a note saying that they’re the heart of keeping ministry to kids safe!
– – 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!)