Safe Church Teams: Resources for Training
September 25, 2019
Updated April 8, 2020
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Training is part of what a safe church team can offer to a church or classis. Common questions include: What training is available? How, where, and when does training happen? Who facilitates it? Is there a standard set of good quality, baseline training materials?
These are great questions and we are working to provide good answers, knowing that safe church ministry looks different in different places, so the answers will not be one-size-fits-all.
Most safe church leaders and teams, within each church, offer training for staff and volunteers who work with children and youth. This is the most familiar kind of safe church or abuse prevention training. In addition to general information about dynamics and impacts of abuse, those who work with children and youth need to be aware of and understand the church policy that they are required to follow. There are many resources available from Safe Church and other organizations to provide this kind of training. However, resources must be adapted to fit each church context.
Safe Church offers these resources for safe church teams: (Note: Safe Church is in the process of developing a Team Building Toolkit with updated resources)
After Synod 2018, questions were added to the Annual Yearbook Survey. One of the questions added was, “Does your church require training for pastors, elders, and deacons regarding the use and potential abuse of power associated with their position?” Ideally, the safe church team or committee is able to provide this training annually for church councils. In some classes, the safe church coordinator travels to the churches in the classis to offer this kind of training.
Again, Safe Church offers these resources for safe church teams:
It’s important to note that there are organizations who have made preventing child abuse their primary focus and mission. Others focus on different kinds of abuse. These organizations have many staff members and resources dedicated solely to abuse prevention and response. It’s wise for us to make good use of the resources that these outside organizations have to offer!
As the issue of abuse has seemed to explode in recent years, so have the resources available for churches. Please don’t hesitate to contact Safe Church to share resources that you have discovered, or to ask us about resources that you need. I know there are many safe church coordinators doing wonderful work training, please feel free to share what you use and what has been found helpful.
Note that Synod 2019 directives include training for pastors, for CRCNA employees, and for ministry leaders. Various committees are at work now to bring together good quality, easily accessible resources for churches. Therefore, there will be more (hopefully improved) resources to come. Pray for this ongoing work, pray that our churches may be safe places where all are honored and protected, and pray that we may be well equipped in abuse prevention and response.
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