Jesus highlighted a child’s natural vulnerability in Mark 9:36-37: “And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.’” Greek and Jewish societies did not romanticize children like modern societies do. In Jesus’ day, a child had no power, no status, and few rights. They made little contribution to the family income, so they were seen as a burden to their parents. Children represented the needy and defenseless.
In the Spring 2018, IPC’s Session formed a committee to review our child safety policies. The committee consulted with other likeminded churches and organizations and made recommendations for improving child safety. The overarching principle guiding the committee was that in order to keep our children safe, “we must always work to decrease isolation and increase accountability.”1
The Session received the committees’ recommendations and approved several new changes:
- Policy. We have a new Child Protection Policy. All employees and volunteers who work with our children’s ministries (i.e., nursery, children’s church, children’s Sunday school, youth, etc.) will be required to read the new policy and confirm that they have understood it.
- Screening. We are now requiring that all IPC employees and volunteers undergo a criminal background check before they work in our children’s or youth ministries. This is standard procedure in many youth organizations.
- Training. All employees and volunteers must complete a brief 60-minute online training about child abuse prevention.
The screening and training are offered at no cost to those we require. IPC has partnered with a reputable, third-party organization called Protect My Ministry to perform the background checks and facilitate the online training.
In order to be a volunteer in our youth or children’s ministries or employed with us, you must complete the screening and the online training.
A copy of our Session approved policy may be accessed here.
1[Deepak Reju, On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2015), 53.]