What do I mean by this?
I’ll use my own church as an example. I’m a senior pastor and have two kids in our kids’ ministry. Since I’m always occupied on Sunday mornings, my wife usually checks our kids in.
The kids’ check-in software in Churchteams generates a random code each week that is printed on my kids’ name tags and printed on a third tag with the same code that my wife gets. After church, my wife goes to pick up my kids.
Volunteers are supposed to match my wife’s tag with my kids’ tags before she’s allowed to take them. When we first started using our kids’ check-in software, our volunteers were very lax about making sure tags matched.
I discovered this problem one Sunday when my wife was out of town. After church, no one asked me to show my tag. I asked my wife if this was normal, and she said, “Yes. In fact, they don’t check anyone’s tags.” I nearly blew a gasket! The next day, I addressed this with our kids’-ministry staff leader.
Some of you may be thinking, “Why’s that a problem? You really need to calm down there, preacher.” It’s a problem because the principle behind the tag-comparing-rule matters. It IS important.
Why? I’m glad you asked.
1. No one gets singled out.
It makes guests feel uncomfortable if they have to show a tag, but no one else does. They may wonder, “Why did they single me out?”
Face it, guests are far less likely to return to your church if they feel put on the spot.
2. Guests feel safe.
Nothing is more worrisome to parents than giving their kids over to people they don’t know. They feel much better when it’s clear that no one is allowed to pick up a child without a matching tag.
Guests will love it when it’s obvious that security is a high value to your church.
3. It eliminates assumptions.
Imagine this scenario: A man in your church has been abusing his wife and she kicks him out of the house. The man has mental-health issues, and a judge issues a restraining order and gives the mother full custody of the kids. The mother feels ashamed of the situation so she doesn’t tell anyone at church.
One Sunday, she comes to church and checks her kids in. After church, before she’s able to pick up her kids, the husband casually walks into the building, picks up the kids and takes off.
BOOM! A preventable kidnapping just happened in your church! You’re in the news. You get sued. You lose. Your church caves under the financial pressure and closes.
Yes, that’s a worst-case scenario, but it IS a real possibility. Why risk it?
When kids’-ministry volunteers and staff assume it’s safe to hand off kids without checking for matching tags, they put the church at tremendous risk. DON’T LET YOUR CHURCH FACE THIS KIND OF RISK!
Whatever your church uses for kids’ check-in, make sure your systems allow you to easily handle attendance, emergencies, guest information and security.