News Articles

Consultant shares practical steps to reduce the risk of abuse at church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–While developing sexual abuse prevention policies and procedures may be a time-intensive process, there are several actions churches can take immediately to secure a safer environment for preschoolers, children and youth.
Cindy Lumpkin, preschool consultant in the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board’s Bible teaching-reaching division, suggests these actions:
1) Raise church members’ awareness of possible dangers to preschoolers, children and youth through seminars, training newsletters, etc.
2) Require any new church member to wait six months before serving as a volunteer with minors. Most experts say most pedophiles won’t wait that long for a chance to prey on a child.
3) Be alert to any signs of abnormal behavior in minors.
4) Elevate the importance of youth, children’s and preschool ministries in your church. Make sure members know these areas are priorities.
5) “Abuse-proof your building,” i.e. look for unsecured areas that may leave children unprotected.
6) Make sure two unrelated adults are in every room where minors are present, e.g. Sunday school classes, choir rooms, cabins used for youth retreats.
7) Allow only parents or authorized adults to pick up preschoolers or children from a church classroom. If a teacher doesn’t know the parent, ask for identification.