21st Century Security in Kids Ministry
We are excited to share today’s guest post from our friend Mimi Bullock. Mimi is the children’s pastor for TNT Kids Church, the driving force behind Tools for Kids Church website, and an experienced children’s ministry coach and consultant.
What Does 21st Century Security Look Like in Kids Ministry?
When I taught my first Sunday School class in 1997, I didn’t have any idea I would be teaching well into the 21st century. I thought I’d fill in for a teacher here and there—now I’m the children’s director in a growing ministry! Today, 21st century ministry is very much on my mind. At our facility, we’re not scooting kids around from classroom to classroom in George Jetson cars or delivering them to parents in space tubes (remember that?) but we have made some vast improvements in the ways we protect children from danger. In my opinion, 21st century security begins at the check-in station.
The Essentials: Kids Ministry Check-In Station
What does a parent think when he or she visits the children’s church but doesn’t know where to go? Should I wrangle the nearest adult for help? Who’s in charge here? That’s when the check-in station comes in to play. When a new parent arrives and visits this station, they know a few things about our ministry immediately:
- We care about them.
- We care about their children.
- We want to be excellent.
So how does a check-in station do all that? I’m so glad you asked!
Polish up the welcome area: Check-in stations fit in naturally with a welcome area. Parents and guardians are always impressed when they see a ministry team that is serious about collecting their information. No more lost registration forms. All the parent and child’s info is permanently stashed in the check-in computer. No more asking one another, “What’s her name again?” (Yes, that happens to me too!)
Establish security protocols: With a check-in station, parents know that we won’t release their kids to unauthorized adults, teens or other kids—we tell them. I can’t tell you the number of times parents in the middle of a divorce/break-up/separation have expressed concerns about this. We don’t get involved in custody issues but we don’t give kids to anyone except the people who check them in.
Improve protection and care: Besides dangers from outside the church, we 21st century teachers need to be concerned about kids’ health too. During the initial check-in process, you will learn a lot about kids’ needs—from dangerous allergies to health issues.
Postmodern parents (and grandparents) have serious safety concerns when it comes to their children and as a children’s ministry leader, I appreciate their anxieties. With terrorism and crime at the forefront of our minds, it’s no wonder that parents expect a higher level of security when it comes to the kids.
Okay, so I’m a little disappointed that we’re not living like the Jetsons (yet) but I am glad to serve in the 21st century church!
Read more from Mimi by visiting her blog at Tools for Kids Church.