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A Lost Sheep?

sallyg August 1, 2011

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This past Sunday I visited a church for worship.  I was out of town and my children were with me, so they came along for the morning. This is quite a large church and I love to attend there for worship when I can.  I knew where the children’s area was, so my first stop was to take my baby to the nursery. I was able to find the correct space by signage.

As I reflected on it later, it sure would have been nice for someone to be at the entrance helping to direct traffic.  Maybe there was and I missed them, though. A nice lady took my baby from me, the diaper bag, and got the instructions about nap, bottle, etc. There was a paper form on the counter. I signed my name and circled the service I would be attending.

I was given a piece of paper to fill out with visitor information to return later. That’s it. No other instructions, no other identification of the child. He wasn’t the only baby in the room either. When I send my older son to summer day camps, etc, I always try to put a monogrammed shirt on him so at least they can easily learn his name. Here, they just had smocked sheep.

My older son and I headed to worship. At my hometown church, the children leave after the first hymn and return for communion. Here, they stay for the entire service and just go up front for a children’s moment. So, at this point I am focusing my concern more on my son’s behavior in the Sanctuary and how he is going to sit through the entire service.

We both made it peacefully through a beautiful worship service, though. Yes, he sang the Scooby Doo theme song to the final hymn and at one point had the chain from my purse hooked to a bracelet, but he sat there quietly.

After the service, I joined several other parents to pick up our babies.  The lady I had visited with at drop off had stepped out and someone else handed over my child.  No identification was given, I just walked over to see how he had done.  I truly did not mean this as a test of their system. Later, I realized how there were some definite holes in their process.  As a visitor and a mother, it is uncomfortable.

As a church, you want to make everyone be able to focus on their worship and know their children are well taken care of. I encourage everyone to take a moment and evaluate your child security policies and procedures. Also, evaluate your software needs. ACS Technologies offers both ACS Checkpoint as well as The City has a Children’s Ministry Module.

It might even be worth sending someone new with a child to go through the process one Sunday morning and give you feedback.  What are you doing to keep the children safe and secure?  Are you letting their parents worship with peace of mind?  Or have you accidentally missed something?

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