~ We're not concerned about that because we have a small church. ~
~ We don’t need to do all that background check stuff. ~
~ Our people wouldn't do that. ~
Sound familiar? Its an all-too-common objection to an uncomfortable topic and also one that no church leader expects to deal with. That's also why it's one of the first questions we ask of a new client - "have you considered creating an official child protection policy?" We do this because we believe it is in the best interest of not only the children, but for their entire organization. This is why.
First, consider the dangerous exposure of risking the safety of children and vulnerable adults, not to mention, the reputation of the ministry. A sexual misconduct allegation can destroy an otherwise thriving ministry, whether the allegations be true or not.
Having an official policy protects the entire staff by outlining a specific set of guidelines that, if followed, will greatly reduce the risk of incident. Additionally, should there be a false allegation, it arms the volunteers and staff with ammunition to contest those false allegations.
Make sure to include these pieces in a solid child protection policy:
Don't re-invent the wheelYour insurance advisor should have child protection plan templates to help guide you. If not, you can download one of our templates here.
Get buy-in from the topIf there is some initial hesitation on the part of the leadership or congregation, consider recruiting a pastor, ministry leader, or nonprofit director be the first to volunteer a background check.
Keep it simpleDon’t write anything in your plan that is difficult to understand or to implement consistently. Every member of your organization should be completely clear on the requirements and limitations outlined.
What about your ministry? What are you willing to do protect your children, volunteers, and your staff?
For questions regarding the content in this post, or any other concerns related to your church's insurance program, please click here to get connected with a member of our team.