For the remainder of this month, we're going to be focusing on safety and security at church. Honestly, I really don't like having so much security in place at church... especially when it comes to children's ministry.
It's weird to me to HAVE to have a check in/out process. It doesn't make sense in my mind to HAVE to do background checks on every member who volunteers to serve. Has society gone down that rapidly recently? Yes and no. Let me explain.
The problems that check in/out procedures and background checks are trying to prevent are nothing new. We read about them in Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick. Who can understand it?
And Ecclesiastes 1:9 -
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done. There is nothing new under the sun.
My problem with having to do these things is the sin behind them. I don't like the fact that, as the pastor, I have to recognize the possibility that a member of my church, someone who I know and have regular contact with, may be attempting to hide serious sin from me and everyone else at church; that they would abuse our friendship and risk fellowship to do the unthinkable.
I want to trust people. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt that their motivations are pure. Unfortunately there are some people who would abuse and misuse that trust for their own sinful desires. I know, because I've been burned this ... personally (but that will be shared in a later post). Ultimately what it comes down to for me is that I don't want to admit that the world is as sinful as it is.
But it is, and part of my job is to provide protection. This protection comes in a variety of forms. It can easily be broken down into 2 basic categories: (1) external protection and (2) internal protection.
Kids (as well as their parents) need to know that that they are being protected from threats from outside the church. This may be from a person who shouldn't be in the building or doesn't have the right to pick up a child. But children in our care must also be protected from people within the church that don't have any business having contact with them.
But here's what I know. Even though I may personally struggle with need for policies and procedures like this, God is still in control. Even though terrible things have happened in the past, God is still in control. Even if something happens again with all the right policies in place, God is still sovereign. He still has plan. His plan and control aren't de-railed because of sin. He's bigger and more powerful than that. But that doesn't mean we can be lazy. He calls us to be faithful in shepherding. Having policies and procedures isn't wrong. It doesn't demonstrate a lack of faith. It's be prudent in the execution of our ministry.
So, yes these things are necessary; because sin is still in the world and in the church. But that doesn't mean I have to like it. It does mean that I'd be stupid and foolish not to utilize them.