“Programs, programs, programs,” goes the nursery dirge. Well-meaning, anti-security church members vocally worry that their church’s children’s policy is actively destroying their church’s community. By insisting on background checks, schedules, and on having only approved volunteers in the kids’ rooms, they claim that these new rules have made increasing numbers of adults feel unwelcomed in the children’s wing. Oh, to go back to how things were.
And while standards do annoy some people, we know they are necessary. Just as speed limits are designed to save lives, kids’ policies are designed to protect kids and the life of the church. If we disregard our standards by allowing un-vetted and unsupervised adults to work with our kids, we are asking for trouble. Sure nothing may happen. Not everyone who speeds gets in an accident. But some do. Some people even die because they broke the law. And if our children’s ministry is hit head on by a sexual abuse scandal, the accident will do far more damage to our church than a policy binder. Are we willing to risk the safety of our kids and our church’s gospel witness to keep a few adults from being inconvenienced?
Common sense and the Biblical idea of love demand we answer the above question with a resounding, “No.” We read in Philippians 2:4 that we are not to focus on our own needs. We are to focus on the needs of others. And our children need to be loved and protected from evil. One way we can care for our kids is by creating childcare standards that discourage evil men and women from reaching our kids. And because we understand the importance of children and the sacrifice of our savior, Christians (more than any other group) should be the most ready to sacrifice their personal comfort for their kids. Our churches should have the highest standards!
And at the end of the day, people who are not willing to submit a background check form or to follow the nursery director’s rotation are not the people who need to have working with our kids. We want men and women who care for others, who embrace accountability, and who promote unity, rocking babies to sleep. And of course, we still want to engage annoyed parents. I too am not a fan of all the work that comes with higher standards. But, our kids are worth the effort and, we need to take the time to lovingly explaining our standards and our concerns. As one pastor wisely said,
We want our churches to be welcoming to everyone…but not everyone who comes should have access to our kids -Reju 2014, 71.
Standards may annoy some but they are essential for protecting our church community.
Reju, Deepak. On Guard: Preventing ad Responding to Child Abuse at Church. Greensboro: New Growth Press , 2014.