Training Modules

Introduction

” Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” [Acts 20:28]

Why Do You Need Church Safety/Abuse Prevention Policies?

As Christians we are called to love one another, so it can be difficult to think about putting policies around how we care for fellow community members. Not everyone gets excited about policy making but creating a safety policy for your church can be one of the most caring things your family of faith can do. A church safety (or abuse prevention) policy helps to set boundaries that show how deeply we value each other, and how committed we are to protecting one another, especially children and those most vulnerable.  Policies like these are intended to help reduce risk and create a safe and nurturing environment where all can worship and grow in faith.

Having church-wide conversations about safety are important.  A church must collectively decide what their policy should be within their unique context.  These conversations should be designed to create awareness in the larger community; educate and train staff, leaders and volunteers; and provide a process to respond compassionately and appropriately should the need arise.

The course is designed as an interactive exercise and divided in sections.  Each will provide an opportunity for you to “prepare, engage and reflect” on each topic. If every section were to be completed, with the group meeting weekly, this course would take 5 weeks to complete. It is also possible to complete the course in a shorter period of time by combining sections (Sections 1-3, Sections 4-7, Section 8) based on your team’s availability. Similarly, this could be expanded, and the focal Scripture passages—merely used here as a discussion starter, and a backdrop for the youth ministry topics— could be used as a jumping off point for a whole Bible study for each gathering.  We are hopeful that the person leading this effort will feel free to adapt what is provided to their particular community’s needs.

While we will provide resources for materials, we discourage simply copying another church or organization’s policy as every church is different and will need to decide collectively on policies that everyone will support and integrate properly. If you adopt safety policies, it is imperative that you are able to adhere to policy and maintain processes and procedures.  It is equally critical that any policy you develop be reviewed by a legal professional, and your insurance carrier as well.

 

Yale Youth Ministry Institute