The first time I helped create a Safe Church Policy (called a Child Protection Policy at that time) I was still in seminary. In the years since, I have been involved in the drafting, implementing, evaluating, and updating of such policies in many congregations.
While I am thankful that nearly every church now has such a policy, I am troubled that the number is less than 100%. I am also concerned by stories of churches that have such policies but don’t follow them or regularly make exceptions to them for certain people.
The importance of screening prospective volunteers cannot be understated. In the March/April 2015 edition of Facts & Trends, it was noted that nearly half of all background checks processed by Life Way’s partnership with backgroundchecks.com (47%) contained some type of criminal offense with more than 1 in 5 background checks (21%) revealing a serious offense.
Whether or not you have children, you should do your part to be certain your local congregation has and follows an up to date Safe Church Policy.
- Does your church have a Safe Church Policy? If not, who is responsible for implementing it? If so, when was it last updated?
- How often does your pastor (or other key leader) communicate to the entire congregation about some of the ways your congregation provides a safe place for children?