As Safe Church Ministry's work in the two British Columbia classes developed over the last 2 decades, it became increasingly apparent that providing safe ministries in churches requires ownership, diligence, intentionality, and long term commitment on the part of the local church, its council, and all staff and leadership. This intentionality and commitment requires strong leadership and support by a dedicated group of people that form a local Safe Church Ministry team. This team can support the work of the volunteers and safe ministry practices. In addition, education is paramount to the success of safer ministries.
This past February BC Safe Church Ministry actively encouraged church councils by letter to do two things:
- Form a Safe Ministry team
- Schedule training for church councils
The letter also included a classis recommended Safe Church Ministry team mandate that can be adapted by the local church to its needs and situation.
In response to the letter, numerous councils indicated they are in process of forming a Safe Church Ministry team and to date 12 church councils have scheduled their Safe Church council training. In addition, abuse prevention training for leaders and volunteers was scheduled in six churches.
The recent public exposure of leadership misconduct in numerous denominations along with the CRC’s Synodical decisions around the Abuse of Power has resulted in an elevated concern among church leaders to ensure safe ministries, a greater desire to learn more about prevention, oversight responsibilities and appropriate response to boundary concerns and any abuse that is may come to light. In BC the Council Training includes time for discussion around composite scenarios that relate to realistic situations churches are faced with. These scenarios provide opportunity to ask “What would this type of situation mean for us and what responses would be required by our church councils?”
The role and responsibility of church councils is significant in abuse prevention and response. The training and discussions helps equip and support councils to respond in healthier ways. BC Safe Church exists to do all it can to support the church councils and leaders’ role in providing safe ministries.