We should implement a plan because our churches, as communities of faith, should be safe havens and sanctuaries where children, youth and vulnerable adults can be confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal. Churches should be a place where everyone knows they will find safety and support for all God's people.
David Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group, is more pointed:
"Our research consistently shows that how a church treats children is one of the keys to drawing and retaining new families. Sadly, churches expose themselves to all kinds of potential problems by failing to screen the people who will have contact with and responsibility for the children of strangers during church events. There is a level of trust that newcomers as well as long-time members place in the capacity of a church to provide comprehensive care for their children."
The conference requirement is that each church study the Safe Sanctuary information as a team and then create its own church policy with appropriate implementation procedures. Remember, each church should consider its context for ministry when creating both policy and procedures.
Member of Staff-Parish Committee
Yes. As churches develop Safe Sanctuary policies and procedures, risk management should also be taken into consideration, such as policies for use of church vehicles, use of automobiles for trips, proper safety planning, safe retreats, medical forms to fill out before trips or special events, social media, etc. As you think of Safe Sanctuaries, think of creating safety in all aspects of your ministry with children, youth, vulnerable adults and the adults who work with them.