This is an admittedly tough policy despite what we think are excellent reasons for it. So I want to focus on the practical things we are very intentional about doing to make it as easy to digest as possible:
A commitment to a top-notch children’s ministry:
- This means it has to be safe. In fact, safety is the #1 priority (just like at Disney). If your child isn’t safe, nobody is having fun. This includes running a background check on every volunteer before they serve, maintaining secure check-in & check-out procedures, paying attention to allergies, and more.
- This means it has to be fun! Games, crafts, activities, and multi-media are all part of a child having a great experience, and all of which are tied to the Bible lessons. We just believe that kids can and should have a great time learning about God.
- This means it has to be edifying. We don’t just baby-sit (except maybe the babies). It would be easy to entertain kids without instructing them, but that doesn’t serve our goal of bringing kids to Jesus. So we break children into age appropriate environments where they learn at their level. This is supported by top quality curriculum and reinforced with take home assignments like a weekly memory verse.
- This means it has to be well staffed. By well staffed, I mean a quantity AND a quality of people! From the staffing perspective, we have hired a fantastic leader to oversee and direct the children’s ministry. And from the volunteer standpoint, it means we work hard to constantly recruit, equip, and train dedicated men and women to serve in this important area on a consistent but rotational basis.
Here is how these things make our policy easier for most parents:
- By having strong policies and procedures to protect children (and regularly telling parents about them), you ease the number one concern parents have with checking their kids into a children’s ministry: the safety of their child.
- When their kids are having fun, parents don’t have to fight with their kids to get them to church. We’ve heard that kids often bug their parents to come to church (great!).
- Parents also feel comfortable when they see their kids are learning. One father remarked he was sold on our church when his daughter was randomly quoting her Bible verse at their home midweek. We also send homework for the parents to do with their kids that reinforces the spiritual lessons and shows parents what their kids are learning.
- The staffing issue is important because parents want to know that competent people are pouring into their kids, and they want to know there are enough people to protect them. And on a practical level, it just won’t work without the right people in place.
Bottom line: All of this requires a great commitment of time and money invested into the children’s ministry. Unless you are willing to make that investment, then a “no kids in the sanctuary” policy will not work for your church.
Here are some additional ways we make our tough policy of “No Kids Allowed” in the adult service a little easier at our church…