Safe Church Teams: Purpose of a Classis Safe Church Team
June 13, 2019
Updated January 20, 2021
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Why does our Classis Need a Safe Church Team?
Are you more interested in finding out about the purpose of a Safe Church team within a congregation? Please refer to the article, Purpose of a Safe Church Team within a Congregation, for a summary including the guiding goals that have been identified by safe church leaders and adopted by Synods 2014, 2016 and 2018.
The purpose of a classis safe church team is threefold. First to provide support, encouragement, and accountability to congregational safe church leaders in their work of equipping their congregation in abuse awareness, prevention, and response. The second reason is to offer educational opportunities for congregational safe church leaders, and the broader church. And finally the classis safe church team helps ensure that churches respond appropriately when abuse is disclosed, and are able to offer the Advisory Panel Process when a church leader has been accused of abuse. In these ways, a classis safe church team helps to build communities where the value of each person is honored; where people are free to worship and grow free from abuse; and where abuse has occurred, the response is compassion and justice that foster healing.
What does a Classis Safe Church Team Do?
The classis safe church team functions as the primary support network for safe church ministry within the classis. The classis team brings together safe church leaders in each congregation for mutual encouragement and learning. Congregational safe church leaders can benefit greatly by knowing they are not alone and are part of a larger movement of safe church ministry. They gain confidence in their gifts and skills from training and networking with an active classis safe church team. In addition, the classis team works to build trust and good working relationships within the classis so that pastors and ministry leaders know who they can talk with regarding general abuse prevention and response initiatives, or when any specific safe church needs arise.
How does the Classis Safe Church Team Work?
The classis safe church team may be structured in different ways. Below are the two most common:
Who Leads the Classis Safe Church Team?
The classis safe church coordinator is a key facilitator for the team in both of the above structures. A sample description of the classis safe church coordinator can be found here. It’s best that the classis safe church coordinator does not function alone, but instead has a core group of at least 2-3 folks that work closely together to coordinate and facilitate safe church ministry in the classis. A lone safe church coordinator without the advantages of a team, is not the most effective or healthy model.
The classis coordinator will have regular connection with Safe Church staff for ongoing support, training, and encouragement. However, any congregational safe church leader may reach out directly as needed to Safe Church staff, who are a phone call or email away.
The classis team can be available to offer additional expertise and support when situations of abuse arise. These kinds of situations can get very complicated very quickly; working together with a safe church team can lead to better outcomes. In addition, the classis safe church team is able to offer the Advisory Panel Process so that it can be offered in situations of abuse involving a church leader.
A classis safe church team is able to support safe church ministry within the classis by offering the following to churches:
Imagine. . . what might the benefits be with an active and engaged safe church team in your classis?
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:12, 26-27
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