We can’t create new, safe programs

Your Question:

“Because of the small number of CM team members, how can we ensure the children’s safety, while offering the programs parents expect?”

The Issues:

As a visionary, you probably have ideas for great CM programs that tend to “die” on the “we don’t have enough CM team members to do that” field. With few CM team members, you might feel limited; but there are ways to offer great programs with limited CM team members. This will involve creating a very controlled and limited “fast-track” screening process for temporary adult volunteers to be supervised and to serve during only one CM event.

Scripture Foundation:

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints and assist her with anything she may need from you. For she has been a great help to many people, including me. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who have risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my beloved Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked very hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow countrymen and fellow prisoners. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.  Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my fellow countryman. Greet those from the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, women who have worked hard in the Lord. Greet my beloved Persis, who has worked very hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers with them. Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them.”  Romans 16: 1-15

Short Answer:

You may have heard the saying, “Our only limitation is our creativity.”  This is a great statement, but you might also add “…and enough adult supervision.”  When you find yourself discarding great ideas for programs because you don’t have enough CM team members to offer the program, consider some “emergency contingency plans” before you throw your idea away. It is possible to create a program, that attracts adults to participate, without demanding that those adults make the commitment to join the CM team. The concept of using willing people to help with the ministry is something that Paul, and the other Apostles knew very well. See Paul’s list of those who helped him in Romans 16! When you advertise the program (well in advance), you can invite parents or other adults to “join you” for the fun!  With the elders, church attorney, church insurance agent, or senior pastor’s support, create a limited “fast-track” screening process to “clear” the adults to participate with you in the event or program.  As you might imagine, this could produce a “chink” in your safety policy “armor” unless you protect the children from ever being alone with these “fast-tracked” adults.  You can pair each of the “fast-tracked” adults with a regular CM team member who will never let these adults out of their sight.  Your “fast-track” screening process should include an abbreviated application form (you can remove any theology or doctrinal questions), and enough personal information to permit you to run free background checks through the Department of Justice and the Child Abuse Registry. Make sure you also get their cell phone number and mailing address.  On the day of the event, make sure to brief these new volunteers on the basic child safety policies (“Never Alone” policy, touching policy, discipline policy, etc.).  Make sure they know who their CM team member “partner” is and tell them that they will share this event alongside their CM partner.  During the event, make sure to personally compliment these “fast-track” volunteers and invite them to join the CM team.  You might also invite them to be part of the CM team for only these types of programs.  I have learned that adults who have an interest in something that also interests children enjoy the experience with children and want to do it again.  The “fear” of committing to the CM can be greatly reduced or eliminated when they experience how fun it is, and they receive compliments and encouragement from other adults.  This “fast-track” process could increase your CM team without the blatant act of actually recruiting them! For more help, click on the links below.

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