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Jun 05
2007
CEN

Five Pillars of Church Safety Series - Protect

Posted by: CEN

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As catastrophic as having a church building blown away in a hurricane or property lost in a fire, nothing compares to the impact of losing people while engaged in ministry.   With regular frequency we read about an automobile accident involving a youth group, or we hear a story of children being violated while in the care of an adult associated with the church.   Nothing can equate to the level of pain, anguish, and disruption of ministry like a child or adult losing their life or their innocence.

Pillar One: PROTECT

As catastrophic as having a church building blown away in a hurricane or property lost in a fire, nothing compares to the impact of losing people while engaged in ministry.   With regular frequency we read about an automobile accident involving a youth group, or we hear a story of children being violated while in the care of an adult associated with the church.   Nothing can equate to the level of pain, anguish, and disruption of ministry like a child or adult losing their life or their innocence.  

While more church leaders are beginning to understand the need to safeguard those entrusted to their care, far too many churches are lagging far behind.   One could make a case that it will be just a matter of time before something tragic happens.

More people would be protected and ministry preserved if we could get more leaders to ask the simple question, “If I could provide a safer environment at my church, without disrupting ministry, would I do it?”

Let’s consider a few of the aspects of protecting the people associated with our ministry.

Members and Visitors

People come to church to worship, serve, socialize and grow deeper in their faith.   They have a notion the church is going to provide a safe place for them.   And many times that is the case.   But to be sure in the church you serve, consider these questions:

  • Is our facility (inside and out) free from slip, trip and fall hazards?
  • Do we provide adequate lighting for evening activities?
  • Do we keep stairways and hallways free from clutter?
  • Do we have a written emergency response plan in place?
  • Do we train staff, ushers and others how to respond to any incident?
  • Are their safety guidelines for activities?
  • Do we have a transportation policy that protects those who travel either in church-owned or private vehicles?
  • Do we follow a written child and youth protection policy?

These questions can help begin discussion as to better ways to protect our members and visitors.

Staff and Workers

In addition, we want to make sure our staff and workers are protected as well.   Here are several initial questions you may want to ask:

  • Do we lock unnecessary doors during the day to limit unwanted access to the building(s)?
  • Are people who enter the office area prevented from having immediate physical contact with the office staff?
  • Is there a plan to deal with unruly or threatening people who come to the church?
  • Do we have a policy to protect workers who work after hours in the church building?
  • Have we asked our staff and workers whether they feel safe and how we might do a better job protecting them?
  • Does the staff have a procedure for traveling on church business?

Once again, these questions are meant to stimulate discussion.   If you can answer “yes” to all of them, then you are well on your way to providing a safe environment.   However, if you answered “no” then it may be time to go deeper in discussions as you seek to protect the people that are so vital to the ministry of your church and are infinitely important to God.  

As church leaders it is up to you to ask the questions and take the initiative on church safety, security and ministry protection issues.   It is your job to put the people, practices and procedures in place to ensure a safe church environment.   You may never know what accident or incident you prevented, but by being pro-active in this area, lives can be saved and ministry protected.


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