Church security must be a priority these days. Every congregation wanting to grow must focus on safety, especially in children’s ministry. When parents walk into your church, they’re wondering, “Will my child be safe here?”
We live in a new reality. Families can be attacked at stores, at work, at the movies, at a sporting event, at school. And yes, even at church.
More than ever, we need church security measures in place if we’re going to reach families. The average Millennial parents won’t return to your church if they notice that safety and security are lacking.
Avoid these 10 church security and safety mistakes:
1. No check-in and check-out plan (or not enforcing the one you have).
It’s crucial to have a security system that lets you control who picks up children. Everyone should abide by this. Even if pastors come to pick up their child and don’t have the matching security tag, they must have ID checked to see if they’re on the pickup list. Any pastor who values the safety and security of church members and their children will gladly abide by this.
If you don’t have a check-in and check-out system, I recommend KidCheck. They can help with a variety of church security needs.
2. Allowing children to be alone with an adult.
While consulting at a church, I recently saw a preschool room with only one adult volunteer. Big red flag. Always, always, always have at least two adults in each room. No exceptions.
3. Not running a background check on volunteers.
Yes, this costs money. But you can’t afford not to do it.
4. Not having a safety and security team.
Every ministry needs a group of people who serve as safety and security volunteers. They should be identified by shirts or lanyards and be visible in the kidmin area. If possible, also have a mobile patrol security present. Parents will appreciate this and will feel better about leaving their children with you.
5. Not having an Amber Alert plan.
What happens when a child goes missing? You need a step-by-step plan for what to do.
6. Making the excuse of being a small church.
Many smaller churches push back on having a church security and safety plan. You’ll hear “everyone knows everyone.” Or “we don’t have enough kids to do this.” Or “we don’t like formal processes like that. We’re like a family.”
If that’s your mindset, remember that shootings have occurred in small churches in small towns. Every church, no matter the size, needs a safety and security plan.
7. Not locking down the children’s ministry area when church starts.
Can people walk into your children’s ministry area unhindered? If possible, allow only people with a security tag in the area. And have a way to lock down the hallways and rooms once the worship service starts. This can help deter an active shooter.