We love people where they are and encourage them to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Anyone could walk through our doors and we will walk alongside them – that’s the mission of our church. Anytime we invite minors into something, we need to be prepared with safe standards and ready to get to know them.
We desire for kids and students to be SAFE. Churches have the responsibility to develop environments that help to ensure physical, emotional, and spiritual safety. Hope’s Family Ministry Playbook states:
SAFETY: We protect the emotional, physical and spiritual safety of those involved in our ministry to ensure that kids, students, parents and our volunteers experience God’s unconditional love and acceptance.
We work hard to train our volunteers to understand the importance of creating safe environments. Here’s a short video of the content we use to train all student ministry volunteers about safety.
To ensure safety happens in-person and online, here’s what we are doing at Hope Community Church:
- The Rule of Three: In our in-person and online environments, we train leaders to NOT be alone with students.
- For online meetings, we ensure a minimum of 2 leaders must be present, or the meetings are recorded.
- Check-In is essential for students & volunteers: This ensures we know who is involved in our environments. All adult volunteers must also pass a background check to serve in Family Ministry.
- Creating a Safe Zone Training: We train our small group leaders to create safe zones and how to respond when sensitive experiences are shared.
- There are three specific situations in which you’ll need to tell Student Ministry staff, parents (and possibly the authorities) the content of what a student has shared with you. Each situation includes the word “harm.” After a student has divulged something, if you think there’s a possibility they’re being harmed by others, harming themselves or intending to harm others, you need to gather all the information you can and call a Student Ministry staff member ASAP.
- Safe Zone Document includes a Decision Tree (pg 3-4) for how to handle situations properly.
We establish environments that allow for students to discuss and share their story. Our curriculum creates healthy dialogue to get students talking, which is important for them to take steps in owning their faith. We also feel this is a valuable skill for you to have as a parent.
Regular open dialogue with your student is important for establishing your household as a safe place. We packaged this guide for you to help you have good conversations with your child. When tough situations arise, these are the moments needed to create dialogue; this is not easy, but it allows you an opportunity to listen and model love to your child.
Foundation on Scripture:
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9: Impress them (Biblical commandments) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
- Have good faith conversations with your student regularly
- Matthew 18:15-17: If someone has wronged you, go to that person directly. It is better to go to the source to reach a resolution.
- Romans 5:1-5: To gain peace takes the Holy Spirit guiding you through a process from suffering to Hope.
Guide for Good Conversations:
- Good Questions: Generate open dialogue.
- Creating a Safe Place: Allow your student to open up.
- Clarifying & Dialogue: Clarifying helps to dig deeper through dialogue.
- Respond with Love: Your responses are important.
We hope this resource will help you have good conversations at home. If you find yourself needing additional support, we are here to walk alongside your family. We are praying for your family regularly.
Additional Support Contact:
Middle School Email