News

  • July 07, 2021 7:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Does your church have an Emergency Response Plan or Emergency Action Plan? If the answer is yes, do you address the unique needs of children in your plan? Whether you have a plan or not you must be prepared to respond to emergencies occurring within your children’s ministries. There are many different types of events that can occur as we minister to the children God has blessed is with.  

    There are several elements to our plan that need to have specific responses for those under eighteen years of age. We should have a fire and evacuation plan for all buildings where children may be ministered too. In the event of a fire alarm activation, fire, natural gas leak, power outage, natural disaster, man-made disaster or other phenomenon we must be able to evacuate the children safely. We must have alternative locations we can take those children to, whether it is an unaffected building a safe distance from the event or a specific outdoor area. We need to plan to take our check-in and out system with us. We need to be able to account for every child. We need procedures that designate someone to check restrooms, hallways, and other common areas for those who may not be with their assigned group or class. We need to think about how we are going to reunify families, which we will discuss in another post.

    Do you have a plan for medical emergencies affecting those under eighteen on your property? How do you handle a child having an anaphylactic reaction to an allergen? How do you share children’s allergies while still respecting their privacy? These are additional concerns you need to address in your plan. Children who have Epinephrine Pens or Inhalers should be asked to bring them and keep them with them everywhere they go on campus. Who is first aid, CPR, AED, and Stop-the-Bleed trained in your ministries? Do you have licensed medical providers in the church who are willing to assist when needed for medical emergencies? How will these immediate responders be summoned to provide assistance? These are all questions that must be considered and answered in the best way possible for your specific ministry.

    What actions do you take if a teacher suddenly notices a child missing from the class? How do you handle noncustodial parents who want to remove their child from your care? You must have plans to search the immediate and surrounding areas in the event of a missing child. You need to quickly determine which child is missing and where they were last observed. How do you determine the child was not picked up by a parent or guardian? Who do you call if someone other than an authorized person comes to pick up a child? What do you tell the person insisting you turn over their child?

    These are just some of the questions you need to ask as you develop and update your emergency response plans. Children are our most valuable gift from God and we must be prepared to meet their needs in the event of an emergency.


  • July 05, 2021 2:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Whether you are starting a new safety or security ministry at your church or have a well-established safety team one of the questions we frequently ask is “What is the risk?” What are the incidents most likely to take place at our church? What incidents do we spend most of our time training to respond too? What are our training objectives? Why? How do we create a training plan for our team?

    We need to understand the different types of incidents which may occur at our ministries. There are many ways we can categorize them, but to begin with we are going to examine the frequency of different events.

    When we examine incidents in our houses of worship among the most frequent will be medical emergencies. Our children and youth may be injured on the playground, experience an allergic reaction, or experience medical emergencies resulting from diabetes, asthma, and other conditions. Slips, trips, falls, and other accidents may impact congregants of all ages. Senior adults may suffer cardiac events, strokes, falls, or other medical emergencies. We must be prepared for these frequent medical emergencies when they arise. The frequent nature of these emergencies certainly places them in the category of high frequency incidents.

    Other high frequency incidents we will likely encounter will include theft, vandalism, suspicious activity, trespassing, disturbances, and other offenses. These offenses usually do not occur as often as medical emergencies. Thefts may involve a variety of property from relatively minor thefts of small objects to thefts of vehicles, audio & video equipment, and other technology.

    What about domestic violence, interpersonal conflict, child abductions, robbery, active shooters, and other potential violence? We must be prepared for these types of incidents, but at the same time recognize they will not occur at the same frequency as medical, property, or minor disturbances. These low frequency events require a different level of response, training, and mitigation strategies.

    When we create plans, policies, and procedures for our safety / security ministries we need to consider not only the different types of incidents which may occur, but the potential frequency of the incidents. A common error made in planning for incidents is to focus on low frequency incidents, since they are the ones most people are fearful of experiencing. While this preparation is important it should not come at the expense of ignoring or failing to prepare for the higher frequency incidents.

    While we recognize there are many risks churches must be prepared to address, the frequency of potential incidents can help us to prioritize our preparation and planning efforts. We cannot ever predict with certainty what incidents we may encounter. However, examining the frequency of events can guide us as we prepare for those we are more likely to encounter while also having contingencies in place for low frequency incidents.

  • April 27, 2021 1:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The significance of child protection policies for our churches should be one of our top priorities in ministry. In part one of this series, we are going to explore why we need to focus on protecting the children in our care from a variety of perspectives. There are several questions we should be asking ourselves.

    The first question I am often asked is “why do we need to be concerned?” Our God is sovereign, and He is going to protect the children. I completely agree God is sovereign. However, although we recognize He can do all things in His own power there are many times He chooses to work through His people.  Unfortunately, often the wolf is wearing sheep's clothing. I don’t want us to become paranoid about the safety of our children at church. However, we need to be aware there is a very real threat against them today. We need to be prepared to educate, prevent, and respond to these threats.

    Why do we need to be concerned?

    Let’s start by examining what Jesus teaches us about children. In Matthew 19:13-14 we read “13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.[1]” In a time in history when children were not valued by many people Jesus is emphasizing the importance of ministering to them. In Luke 9 we see Jesus using children to demonstrate an important lesson. “47 But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”[2] There are many other Scriptures pointing to the importance of children. We can surmise from these verses and others Jesus had a high view of children. When we look at the teaching of Christ, we can see we have a spiritual and a moral obligation to protect the children in our care. None of us desire for a child to be physically, spiritually, or emotionally in our ministry.

    The moral and the spiritual impact of children being abused in a ministry setting absolutely impacts the Kingdom of God. Not only does it shine a negative spotlight on Christ’s church, but it also impacts those who do not believe or follow Him. The child who is abused in a ministry context will certainly have spiritual struggles. These struggles may extend to the parents and other family members, the other members of the church, and the community at large. When a child is abused in a ministry setting the tragedy is not limited to impacting the child and their family, it often will extend out into the community. It will have a negative impact on the image of the church and its believer’s, which will translate to a lack of trust.

    We clearly have a spiritual and moral duty to protect the children in our care! What about our church’s legal duty in this world? When we look at litigation and liability, we need to be aware of the significant impact this will have on our ministries. In Mirlis v. Greer, 952 F. 3d 36 (2nd Cir. 2020) a federal appeals court ruled that a $21.7 million verdict against a teacher and private Jewish school for the teacher’s sexual molestation of a student was not excessive and would not be overturned. In Doe v. Apostolic Assembly (W.D. Tex. 2020) a federal court in Texas ruled that a church could be sued for punitive damages as a result of its reckless handling of a sexual abuse case involving a minor victim. Punitive damages and personal liability of board members was triggered by gross negligence. Richard Hammar, J.D., C.P.A. of Church Law and Tax identifies sexual abuse of a minor as the number one reason churches end up in court.

    This brings us to the answer to our first question. We need to protect the children in our care because we have a spiritual, moral and legal obligation. We need to make certain we are protecting these children who are the future of the church from predators who may be among us.


    Note: Church Law & Tax is an amazing resource for churches on a variety of topics including child protection. This is not a paid review or advertisement. We try to bring you ministry resources that will provide firm foundations in ministry safety and security. More information is available at https://www.churchlawandtax.com/

    [1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 19:13–15). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

    [2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 9:47–48). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.



  • July 08, 2020 7:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Do you know the warning signs of terrorism? Is the church a potential target? The report released by the 9/11 Commission mentioned our State 59 times. The Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC) has identified eight signs of terrorism and they want you to be familiar with them. These signs may be observed in a variety of locations, including many that could occur at churches. Here is a summary of the eight signs, for more detailed information including a video visit the ACTIC Website at azactic.com.

    Surveillance - Recording or monitoring activities for the purpose of gathering information or intelligence. May include the use of cameras, note-taking, drawing diagrams or maps.

    Elicitation- Attempting to gain and gather information about operations, infrastructure, or people whether face-to-face, eaves dropping, email, mail, phone calls, and asking questions.

    Testing Security- Attempts to measure reaction times to security, penetrate physical security barriers, monitor procedures, assess security. People testing security and pushing the limit.

    Financing- Suspicious transactions involving large cash payments, deposits, or withdrawals are common signs of terrorist funding.

    Supply Acquisition - Purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammo, etc. May include acquiring uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes, ID badges.

    Suspicious Person Out of Place - People who don't seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, or in a particular building or area.

    Rehearsals- Putting people in position and moving them around according to their plan without actually committing the terrorist act.

    Deployment - People and supplies getting into position to commit the act. This is the person's last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.

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