Along with you, I am deeply saddened by the events that have transpired this week at Penn State University. It troubles me as a sports fan and as a father who has entrusted two of his children to undergraduate schools for their education. But most of all, I am concerned as a pastor who is charged with the responsibility of providing a safe and protected environment for children.
This year our church committed to two practices in our children’s ministry. First, we wanted to make sure that we placed two adults in each classroom. Even though class ratios may be small, we felt it was important to provide this layer of protection for our children as well as to safeguard the integrity of our faithful volunteers. The second practice we implemented was to ask each adult volunteer who works with children aged birth through 18 to submit to a criminal background check. Granted, its a difficult ask to make, and it comes at no small expense. But taking every step possible to maintain the safety of our children is well worth it.
A lot of talking heads are working hard to find every possible angle to the story out of Happy Valley. I think one of the most practical voices I have read today is the blog post by Dr. Thom Rainer, President and CEO of Lifeway Resources. If you’re in ministry leadership, I encourage you to take the time to check it out and to use this as a guideline to evaluate your ministry practices. You can find the article by clicking here.