Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Security and Safety

It surprises me that in this day and age and understanding of how messed up our nation really is that there exist churches with absolutely zero security measures to protect the children and youth of their congregation.  Some churches wait until a tragedy occurs or an accident before taking necessary steps.  What security measures does your church have in place?

This article breaks my heart.  A little girl gets bored and roams from her classroom into the church lobby where she is abducted.  I’ve heard, especially from smaller, rural, churches, “we know everyone and so we don’t need security measures”.  This girl was abducted by her uncle!  No matter the size of your church if you have children in your congregation you should do all within your power to keep them safe.

When I came to Nags Head Church 15 years ago there were no security measures in place.
We took some small steps and our system has grown over the years.

Without sharing too many details here are our security measures for Sunday morning worship at our church:

1.  We have a policy that states that minors are not allowed to roam the building without an adult.
2.  We have a secure check in system. 
3.  Children get a name tag label with a security code on it, parents get a label with matching security code.
4.  Only children’s ministry volunteers and parent/guardians allowed into our children’s halls.
5.  All children’s volunteers are given a background check.
6.  Only those with background checks are allowed into the nurseries or classrooms.
7.  All hall doors and classroom/nursery doors are locked at the beginning of the service.
8.  Only security can open those doors during the service.  Our teachers don’t even open the door if someone knocks.
9.  Parents turn in the security label and pager when picking their child up at the end of the worship service.

10.  We have a security team member in both of our worship services and also out in the lobby.
11.  Nursery toys are age appropriate (I was on vacation and attended a small church with a nursery that was staffed by a volunteer and a little girl, my 1 year old son was hit in the head with a metal miniature John Deere tractor)
12.  We only accept new toys for the nurseries and kids areas.  If older toys are given that are worn out or not age appropriate we file those away in the dumpster.

Youth Group security measures:  (we meet on Sunday night and are the only ones in the building)
1.  Adults supervise the arrival of students.
2.  Exterior doors are locked down after we begin.
3.  No students are in any part of the buildings interior or outside without adult supervision.(except restrooms)
4.  All adults who volunteer with students have been background checked.
5.  Adults supervise students getting picked up by parents after youth group.

If you have questions about implementing security measures in your church please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. 

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