Protecting Our Children in the Modern World
Does your church have a vacation bible school planned for this summer? As the spiritual landscape of our country changes one thing that has remained consistent is the impact of vacation bible school. A little over 100 years ago, VBS began in New York and slowly became a growing phenomenon; the average annual attendance for Southern Baptists alone is almost 3 million children! According to some studies more people come to know Jesus as Savior through VBS than through any other single church event.
As a child I remember every summer experiencing summer heat, baseball, trips to the beach, and VBS. No matter how busy my parents were or what the rest of the summer looked like VBS was always a part of my childhood.
Somewhere between kickball and macaroni art that my parents still have in a box somewhere, the teachers and volunteers taught that Jesus loved me and wanted to know me. There were puppets and videos all pointing to a message that was God-centered and child-specific. Methods have evolved and the curriculum is new and exciting, but the goal has remained the same: To create a safe environment where kids can learn about Jesus and have fun!
Unfortunately times have changed and there is one area where things are very different; the threat and concerns for the safety of our children. Twenty years ago very few churches had detailed safety procedures in place for VBS or children’s ministry in general! Today child protection is something we can’t be too careful about and even though VBS is a one-time event it deserves the same care and attention we give to our weekly programs.
This means implementing a child protection policy that includes the careful screening of volunteers through a criminal background check and personal interviews. Some churches check referrals or have child-safety training to help volunteers spot signs of abuse and ways to prevent it from occurring. Making sure you have these measures in place not only protects the children in your care, but also gives directors and parents a sense of peace about those who are watching the children which will increase attendance.
Let’s do all we can to keep VBS a safe, fun environment for our children to learn the good news of Jesus Christ for the glory of God!
For more information about screening policies please visit our Screening Guidelines page.