Children and Youth Ministry Leaders:
This must-read article by Deepak Reju is posted over at The Gospel Coalition’s website: “Predators in the Pew: Protecting Against Child Abuse in Your Church.” Here are his main points:
If you pay any attention to the news, you know that sexual offenders show up in churches. Like predators hurting defenseless prey, they do unspeakably horrible things to our children. Much could be prevented, but many churches do not know how to protect their children and how to respond when child sex abuse happens. It all adds up to being irresponsible with the littlest ones that God has entrusted to our care.
What can be done about this problem? How can pastors and churches be more responsible in protecting our children? Let me suggest 10 best practices. None of these practices by themselves can completely eliminate the possibility of a sexual offender hurting your church kids. But together (if followed) they can reduce the risk and increase the likelihood that our kids will be safe.
1. Create and implement a Child Protection Policy.
2. Enforce a check-in and check-out process.
3. Emphasize membership.
4. Train your volunteers.
5. Screen and verify.
6. Design your building deliberately.
7. Develop a response plan.
8. Get to know your community.
9. Secure the support of all church leaders.
10. Equip parents.
Read the whole article here. Also, you can listen to Mr. Reju’s seminar “Protecting Your Church from Predators,” which he presented at our 2011 National Conference, and download the seminar notes here.