Before your fall activities start, test your children’s ministry area for safety. Your church’s reputation and that of the body of Christ are at stake along with the livelihood of lots of little ones. Here are a few things to try. Be sure to use discretion when conducting these to avoid potentially embarrassing leaders.
1. Visitor Test. Have a trusted friend visit your church (someone no one would recognize). Have them test the boundaries of your ministry’s security. See how long they can roam around your area until they are questioned. See if they can get a badge and put it on, appearing to actually be on your team. You’d be surprised that many churches have their “security badges” with no photos, hanging out for anyone to take. In larger churches, many volunteers don’t even know each other, so this neutralizes badges as a security measure.
2. Lockdown Test. You don’t need to have an actual test, but your leaders need to be well-informed in the case of an emergency. What happens if an intruder is identified? What does a “lockdown” look like? Does your pastor and leadership team have clearly defined codes and procedures? Where are kids taken if there is a fire? You don’t have to run drills, but you should ask your leaders if they know what to do in these cases.
3. Who’s in Charge? Test. To avoid multiple people communicating many messages to several people, test and see if everyone knows your “chain of command.” If anything were to happen in your church, the first question that comes from the outside will be “Who’s in charge?” Everybody should be able to answer this question.
4. Have your own insurance company audit your security process. They’ll know what to look for.
Jeffrey Reed serves as the KidMin partner for LifeWay Christian Resources. This article was originally published on the blog at LifeWay.com/kidsministry.