Every classis meeting deserves a safe church ministry report. In many classes, the safe church team is a standing committee of classis. If you are tasked with presenting a safe church ministry report at classis and are considering what to include in your report, this article is for you. The safe church ministry report to classis depends on the needs of each classis, which are different in different places. You will want to consider issues that are especially pertinent or timely and activities that have happened or are upcoming.
The report is usually made by the Classis Safe Church Coordinator or another classis leader who is active in safe church ministry. Below are some ideas about what to include in the report.
A minimal report may include information from the annual yearbook survey, an update on the status of the classis safe church team, announcements about team meetings or training events, and recognition of new resources. And don’t forget to discuss any safe church related budget needs. Below are some additional ideas to consider as you prepare for a safe church report to classis.
If a focus on safe church ministry is relatively new, here are some ideas for your classis meeting presentation.
- General information on Safe Church Ministry. The following materials are recommended:
- Safe Church Brochure
- Ten Ways to Make Your Church a Safer Place
- Flyer/Bulletin Insert – i.e. child abuse, or other topics
- Responding to Abuse: A Toolkit for Churches
- Safe Church Ministry Awareness Video
- Circle of Grace Video
- Make time during the classis meeting to increase relationships and build trust.
- Let the church leaders at the classis meeting get to know you, and take time to ask questions, listen, and get to know them (this can happen during meals or breaks). Building a working relationship of trust is a key part of our ministry.
- Be sure that classis delegates know that they can contact you with questions, and concerns – they do not need to wait until after abuse has happened. Make sure they know that you are more than happy to assist in creating a safe environment and preventing abuse.
- Explore ways to increase Safe Church representation (if needed).
- Request names of people who might be interested from churches that do not have representation – suggest parents, teachers, social workers, counselors, attorneys, law enforcement folks, etc. Offer to follow up with these folks.
- Remind everyone that providing safe spaces for worship and spiritual growth is part of who we are and what we do as the Church.
- Report on information in the annual Yearbook survey. Policy is a good place to start when beginning with safe church ministry. You may want to focus on one area in particular.
Present a chart or graph showing the basic statistics collected in the annual yearbook survey for churches in the classis – Safe Church can help with this.
Discuss the reasons – why policy?
- Report on how often the team was called on for assistance. Do this without giving any information about what kind of assistance or what was required. In other words, NO IDENTIFYING INFORMATION. Assistance can include help regarding a difficult situation, providing an educational opportunity, responding to a question about policy, or providing information or referrals. (For example, “the classis safe church team responded to 3 calls for assistance since our last classis meeting.”)
- Make time to raise awareness and build knowledge and skills.
- Choose a topic, i.e. domestic violence, healthy boundaries for church leaders, pornography, biblical themes related to abuse, and more. Use available resources from Safe Church and other organizations working in the field of abuse prevention and response. Safe Church can help you strategize about a topic.
- Consider bringing in a local guest speaker. There are many organizations working to end abuse and it’s good for church leaders to be aware of community resources that can assist churches in a time of need.
- Do something interactive. Adult learning happens better when people are engaged in the topic. Use a scenario with small group discussion questions, or a “quiz” to help people understand why Safe Church Ministry is so important. Safe Church has examples, please feel free to contact us for any assistance.
- Contact Safe Church Ministry. Really, we love to hear from you, it's why we're here. We can help you brainstorm and consider what might work well in your classis.
Increasing awareness and building knowledge and skills around preventing and responding to abuse will not happen by itself, every effort must be made in order to see progress. Classis meetings can provide wonderful opportunities for learning in a setting where church leaders regularly gather.
Remember, although safe church ministry may be your passion, there are many other items on a classis agenda, and it's important to respect the time and priorities of the classis. Our goal is to make safe church ministry a valuable part of classis life together as we pursue God’s mission in our churches. Never forget that Safe Church is here to be of service to CRC congregations. You are an integral part, the feet on the ground so to speak.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if our office can be of service. And THANK YOU for all your good efforts to make our churches and communities safer for everyone!
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