Summer is the perfect time to grow your church’s children’s ministry. The classic opportunity to reach a lot of children is Vacation Bible School. This is traditionally a time of games, Bible study, crafts, and just a plain ole good time with friends. There is a lot to plan when it comes to pulling off a fantastic VBS. One primary focus that parents will place a high value on is security. Knowing they can drop off their child at your church and be protected and cared for is essential these days.
There are a lot of logistics and planning that goes into pulling off a huge event like VBS. Since security is critical, it should be at the top of your list when making plans. What steps does a church ministry need to consider to meet parents’ expectations and protect these precious little ones while on church property? Here are 6 steps you need to take to build your VBS security plan:
1) Vet your volunteers.
Having help from your congregation eases stress when planning this big event. Knowing you can plug folks familiar with other church members and key areas around the church property is essential. But it isn’t the only thing. You need to run background checks on all individuals involved in your VBS program.
2) Create a security team and identify them.
Your security volunteers need to be easily identified. That is accomplished with some type of vest or shirt and a name tag. Try to have at least one volunteer with a background in law enforcement and, if possible, medical or first aid training. This also shows parents and others that you are taking security seriously.
3) Have a strong communication strategy for your security staff.
If something does arise, your security staff must be able to communicate quickly with one another. The simplest way to handle this is a walkie-talkie system where everyone is on the same channel. Be sure to have plans in place for common issues like a sick or injured child, a child not collected at the proper time, etc.
4) Have a solid check-in system in place.
A sound check-in system allows parents to be matched with their kids so no one else can pick them up from VBS. It should make critical information like allergies and medical needs visible for each child on their nametag. It should also collect emergency contact information.
5) Have a shift plan and schedule ready.
Depending on your property’s size, you may need to consider a rotation plan of where your security volunteers will be. You mustn’t have any gaps during the event.
6) Hire your local police to oversee the event.
There is nothing like a local policeman and patrol car in your parking lot to show you’re serious about security. You can even incorporate this into your program with a “meet the police” night – the kids would love it.
Your church’s size and location will dictate the extremes you may have to provide for proper security. Having a plan will ensure your VBS is incident-free and provide peace of mind knowing all the little children are well-protected while on church grounds. Have a great and safe VBS this summer, sharing the love of God to the children in your church and community!