Safety First

Originally Posted on September 16, 2020

Webinar Transcript

– Today, we are excited that Danielle Bell, who is minister to children at Dawson Church, is with us to share about safety first, about how to keep our children, and our workers safe as they come to our church buildings. So we want to welcome her. All right, Danielle, I’m gonna hand it over to you, welcome.

– Thank you so much. I’m super excited to be here. I’m gonna share my screen with you guys. ‘Cause I have some notes we’re gonna go through. And if you’re a person that has to take notes, you do that, but I’ll let you know, at the end, I’m gonna give you a link to where this, slideshow is found and a bunch of links. So this is not a fun topic, Belinda. This is, but I appreciate this. I’ve grown to appreciate this. I’m in my 24th year in children’s ministry. And I think once we have these things in place, we can really, we can provide that safe place, then we can share the gospel with kids, in that safest environment possible. So I’m gonna, I’m a good Baptist. I got three Ps here that we’re gonna talk through today. So the first thing I wanna talk to you guys about is policy. I’m highly relational. Policy is not the first thing I wanna do, when I get in my office or started ministry. But policy is our foundation, the foundation for that safe environment, that written policy about here’s what happens when. And it’s also a great place for us all to get on the same page. And I don’t know if you’re like me right now, in a world where there’s not a lot of certainty. The news is different every day. What was, how we’re supposed to respond in this pandemic is different every day. I value a step by step guide. So policy’s where we do that. That’s where we all get on board on the same page. And we all have a foundation of here is what we want, to do to provide the safest environment. I love old movies and I love a clip from “You’ve Got Mail.” So I don’t know if you’re a Meg Ryan fan, but I’m gonna show this clip. We’re gonna talk about how policy it’s not business, it’s not personal, it’s policy. So let’s watch this fun little clip real quick.

– [Narrator] It’s not personal, it’s business.

– It’s business.

– [Narrator] Recite that to yourself, every time you feel you’re losing your nerve. I know you worry about being brave. This is your chance. Fight.

– Fight.

– [Narrator] Fight to the death.

– Fight to the death. It wasn’t personal.

– What is that supposed to be? I’m so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you, but it was personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people. And what is so wrong with being personal anyway?

– Well, nothing.

– Because for whatever else anything is, I’ll be kidding by being personal.

– Okay, you gotta love Meg Ryan’s response. I mean, we’re in this because we love people, and we want to lead kids and families to the gospel, and to show them Jesus and support them as they build a family based on the foundation of truth. But I think sometimes if we don’t have that foundation in place, things can feel really personal in a bad way. And I don’t like to look at church as a business. It’s a ministry. So I think policy helps us go, “Hey, we care so much, “about you as a volunteer for us, “about you as a family, as about your child, “that we have some policies in place.” And so with policies, it isn’t personal. So when we’ve got policies, it’s not like we’re picking on people, right? I always feel bad that my talks always include, sometimes bad examples, but I learned from doing things wrong. But I know at one of my former churches, we had two Sunday school life group hours and two worships. And I had a volunteer that wanted to teach both hours. Now that is awesome, right? Because nobody has like a waiting list of volunteers, at least I never do. But one of our things on our guidelines, is because we wanted kids to see their leaders, corporately worshiping, is you have to attend worship. Now there wasn’t like a checklist or, but I was able to go to him and not like, “I’m not picking on you, but remember when you signed “these guidelines, you said you were gonna attend a worship. “So I am so thankful that you’re gonna serve both hours. “You want to serve both hours, but you can serve “by gonna worship to set an example for those kids.” So I didn’t have to come up with an answer just for this volunteer. I got to go back and go, “Hey, you signed these, “you agree to this.” So when we had that, it wasn’t a personal attack on him, or “I don’t like what you’re doing.” It’s because we want to be the best examples for the kids. We want you to go to worship and we have that written in black and white and you signed that. Now without policies, it can feel very personal. And years and years ago at my former church, in another state, we had an incident with a child with special needs on a midweek and we had a great special needs ministry. But this child was actually stabbing another child with a pen. So we removed that child as we would with any child, from that environment to just for safety, “Hey, you gotta come out, you’re hurting another child.” But I never had anywhere written down, that we would do that to any child. If a typical child or child with special needs would have done that in both instances, our staff would have removed that child, so that the other child does not get hurt. But I never had that written anywhere. And that was a big rub. So to that family, with that child with special needs, it felt like to them that we were picking on him. And it was very, it was felt very personal that we didn’t love him like he was. But I was like, “We would have done this in any situation.” But I didn’t have a policy that backed me up on that. I do now have a behavior policy that lists, “If any child in our care does any of the following things.” And we talk about physical interaction and language and stuff like that. So it is written now so that I can go back and say, “Hey, you know that behavioral guidelines, “we give you at the beginning of the year, “that was right there. “This is not personal against your son. “We love your son, but this, “any child would have been removed.” So I’ve been on both sides of having the policy and not having the policy, and felt what that looked like. Now, I’m gonna go quickly through some policy examples. And again, you’ll have this slideshow later, and I have some links to some of these, but sometimes policy’s not fun. And I wanna tell one other quick story. It wasn’t a policy I had, it was a policy our church had, which was very helpful. I had a dad that wanted to teach in a child’s class, on a Sunday morning. And once he ran his background check, he had a domestic, a violent crime in his background check, but it was four years prior. Well, our church policy at my former church was, if you have a violent crime in the last five years, you can’t serve. Now, yes, God is a Redeemer, God is changing lives. But that kinda gave me a place to say, “Now this is one of those no win situations.” He was not happy. And I was like, “We would love to have you “when we’re at that five year limit. “Anybody that would have this, “would have that five year limit, “to where they could have to wait to serve.” Now that altercation got really so heated that I realized, then that was not somebody I wanted serving in our children’s ministry. But again, that was a church wide policy that helped me go, “It isn’t a personal, we’re not saying that God can’t change “your life, and we are so thankful that you’re at church “and that you’re seeking Jesus and God is restoring “your marriage. “But this is just in the last five years, “if you’ve had a violent crime, “we can’t allow you to work with kids.” So that’s just another example on policies helping, not be personal. But I know we all know a lot of these policies, so I’m gonna quickly go through them. Child protection, so big right now, so big right now. So I’m thankful we have a policy for child protection across all age groups that deal with minors. So that’s very helpful. Investor guidelines. I call my volunteers investors. And so I have some guidelines they sign. It says they’re gonna attend worship. They’re going to be above reproach in interacting with children. If a child shares something with them, like as, that as a mandatory reporter, I need to know that they’ll share that with me. They’ll never be one on one with a child, things like that, that they sign. Then we have job descriptions. We want to set a policy. “Hey, this is what, this is the expectation “we expect of you. “Please come prepared to teach God’s word.” Sometimes I’m just so want some people to serve that, it took me a couple of years, to get those job descriptions in place to go, “Hey, but here you want to serve, “why don’t you read through this? “This is what we want our investors to do in our ministry.” And that helps them see, “Okay, if I sign up for this, “this is what my job is.” A discipline policy. Very important that we know and our leaders know, our leaders know not, hopefully ours is you don’t place a hand on a child. And we have that in our leader handbook of this is, we kinda do a strike one, two, three, you remove the child real quick, and talk to them about that behavior. Then if you have to get onto them for the same thing, again, you go out in the hall and pray with them and talk through that again. And then if they do the same offense the third time, in that class, they come get me and we work with the parents. But we have a fresh start each week, ’cause we all need fresh starts. General safety policies, so important in your area. Emergency procedures. And we’re gonna talk more about this in a minute. So I’m talking weather related drills, intruder drills, different things like that. We have to have those policies in place. Incident report policy. So we, this one, again, I have seen the fruit of having an incident report policy and ours is, if a child gets hurt while in our care, we have a three-ply carbon copy sheet and we ask. So usually at the end of the VBS week, I have a stack. Each day, I go through Johnny scratched his toe, Tommy fell and hit his head. But the teacher that saw that happen, fills out a portion at the top. And then I get that from them, and again it’s three-ply. Then I follow up with a call that afternoon. “Hey, how’s Johnny? “How’s his head?” And I write, I document everything the parent says. I date that, all that and then I keep a copy in a file. I give a copy to our business administrator to keep in a file. And again, why do you need this? Well, at my former church, I feel like everything happened there. I had a child that was sitting in a window sill, the teacher asking him several times to get out of the window sill. He did not. He fell and broke his arm, kind of an open break. One year and almost one day, it was the day before the year was up. They could have filed a suit, their insurance company called and said, “We need to talk about this injury.” And I said, “Okay, great. “Let me pull out that sheet and send it to you.” And so I had the documented of the teacher saying everything she said. I had the documented where I checked up on the parents. “Yeah, he’s fine, thanks so much. “I’m so sorry he didn’t listen.” Have all that information right there. I’m not a naturally organized person. Had I not been intentional about that form, I would not have had that when the insurance company called. Oh the great world of social media. Again, this is something we have staff wide. We have a social media policy that we actually have to sign, when we come on board. And then we also have one for our volunteers and our investors that we talk about. We only post kids on the Dawson Kids site or the church site. We never use names. We don’t tag their parents, ’cause that immediately links that. So that’s on social media. Bathroom policy. Very, very, very important that our teachers. And again, so many of these are in our leaders manual. But we talk about you never, ever, ever go in a bathroom alone with a child ever. I tell them, I spend a lot of time with my legs spread out, holding the door open. And especially if you’re dealing with littles, they come to me in the wide open and I button their pants, if they can’t get those buttons to come out, but I never wanna go behind closed doors. And I’ve often had people have to come with me, even at church, I’m in the bathroom with my little girl and a child comes in, and sometimes I’ll step out and ask a friend to come in, just to stay above reproach in that. And again, an example of why that’s been so important, again at my former church. We had a little boy that was out on the playground that fell in his private area and hit himself on the bar penal bars. He said he was fine on the playground, he was fine. They came back in from the playground and they had a bathroom break. So thankful our teachers gave us a report. And then I’m so thankful for the bathroom policy and not just have a policy, but that the leader followed it. She never went in the bathroom. She stayed at the door on the outside. Well, as soon as that little boy’s mom picked him up, what did he do? He started balling and talked about how hurt he was. She took him to the bathroom and there was some bruising down there from where he’d hurt himself. Well, she was immediately able to come back and the teacher’s like, “We have never been one on one with him.” And this visiting, they were a visitor, she was a lawyer, but we were able to get back and go, “We have this policy.” And they were, “No, we didn’t.” And he was, I would say, “No, there was no adult “in the bathroom with me.” So again, so important to have that in place. A sick policy. We don’t know anything about sickness now, do we? but we’ve got to have in place. We included in our brochure that has our behavioral guidelines. We also have our sick policy. If your child has thrown up in the past, I think it’s 24 hours, I don’t have it right for me. Please don’t come to church if they’re, thrown up in the last 24 hours, fever and all that. And had to use that on a Sunday morning, when a little boy come down to the bathroom, he’s like, “Yeah, I’m not feeling good, I threw up last night.” I was like, “Hang here buddy.” And so we went and found his parents and I said, “I’m so sorry, our policy is, “if they’ve thrown up the last 24 hours.” So again, wasn’t picking on that little boy or that family, I was able to say, here’s that policy, I’m so sorry. We still hope he comes back when he’s well. And right now in the world, we’re living in, we’ve got to have some serious sick policies and see what that looks like. And if you’re anything like me in the last couple of months, you’ve done a lot of online things. So we actually formatted had a Zoom online policy, because we had a Monday night scene with our fifth graders, all from March until the end of July. And then on Wednesday night, we did one with our first, two, third, and one with our fourth and fifth. So we had a policy there that their parents had to sign. Were the parents very close? Yes. But sometimes with the student ministry, their parents weren’t hanging out, while they were on their Zoom. But we just wanted them to sign off, yes. And we stayed with our, child protection. I was never on a Zoom alone with children. One of my adult leaders was also on there with me. We recorded all the Zooms and they’re in the cloud, in case anything comes up that, but I’m sure we can think of others and I don’t know at all. So I’ll put that others and you may be thinking of some other policies we might need to talk through. So again, those are the foundation and that’s how we get on the same page. To provide the safest environment so that we can focus on what we’re called to do. But with policy alone, you just have the what? The procedure is the how. Okay, so and if you’re like me, I don’t like to read a lot of words and I, sometimes I hand those manuals out to my leaders. I’m like, “Are those, are you reading those?” And we have on their guidelines that they signed off, they will read through the procedures, but we don’t actually know. So we, there’s just a couple of things we do, and I get all my ideas from somebody else. So steal away and share with me your good ideas, but sometimes less is best. So in our policy manual, we have detailed, in the church detail of all the emergency procedures. But I was at a church in North Carolina and visiting their special needs ministry, and I saw all these in every room. So we now have these in every room. So in every room we have a clear red backpack. And if you see back there, you can see a policy. Those are the bullet points of fire. And it has a map on the back, intruder, tornado, and they’re laminated and hard lamination, so they won’t get wet or ruined. We also have a whistle in there, we have a first aid kit, there’s a safety vest in there. We always gotta check these ’cause sometimes we’ll find a Capri Sun in there, that a kid thought that was the trashcan. But these are hanging in every room and those are the bullet points. So for that teacher, maybe they did read through the whole process, but that was three months ago. When the fire alarm hits or we go on a locked down, they can pull that out and have step by step bullet points, to know what to do. Also we’ve, I think we’ve got to spell out steps. So this is an example of our child protection. So they have to fill out the child protection application and we have references that have to be checked. Then step two, they do a background check and then step three is the amazing, ministry safe online training. So we have one staff member that kinda receives all of those. So we have a new volunteer, when I interviewed him, so if they’re new to our ministry, we interview them and we call references. I always take notes in that interview, while the Zoom interviews here lightly. And then I just email those notes and she attaches that. But I think spelling out the steps and policies is very, very helpful. And sometimes I think written word is not enough. I was a communication major that got called to ministry. And we say that, people have to see a message seven times, before they really get it. So I often follow up with some just quick webinars. “Hey, here’s a 10 minute review, “on what that procedure is. “Just a review and we’re gonna talk through it “and show you some things.” So sometimes just having it written somewhere is not good, but we actually did all these webinars two years ago before our kickoff teacher training. And we sent them ahead of time, so that we didn’t spend our training day all on that. We could get to the meat, and the gospel, and how to teach, and why we do what we do. And we were like, “Hey, you’ve gotta have all these webinars, “you signed off on your guidelines, “that you were gonna watch those.” So just another resource. So we have policy, we have procedure, but again, we have the what, and we have the how, but come on. If you’re a sports fan, you know you got to practice. Practice, practice, practice, these things. I love this quote, “Knowledge is of no value, “unless you put it into practice.” And boy did we see this very clearly in our ministry. So we have small ways to practice and big ways to practice. We have another quote, “An ounce of practice, “is worth more than a tons of preaching.” So again, if our ministry volunteers, our leaders, if us, I even said one time as we were putting in a new intruder plan, I was like, “And we as a staff, go there “and walk through what that looks like one day? And we did that because we’d never done it with the other age groups. So that was very helpful. So you have your policies on paper, you can know the procedures, but if you don’t practice, then they’re nothing but sheets of paper. So small practice is simple things like the security labels. Tell the teachers, if Paulie’s dad, mom, grandparents, does not have that matching security label, that is a chance for them to practice and say, “I am so sorry, we cannot give you Paulie today. “I’m gonna have to take you up to the desk, “to Danielle or Meg the staff, and they’re gonna have to “make some calls to see who can get Paulie to close words.” But again, small practices let’s practice what that looks like, with the security labels in it. And practice those incident report forms. Have your leaders take them to a training and say, “All right, let’s practice filling this out, “you all need to know, why it’s so important you give me “all these details and again practice using those.” And again, I deal with pretty small injuries, all the way up to really big ones, just to have a record. And then there’s the big practice. There is the fire drill practice, the weather drill, which we have not done that one yet. And the intruder drill. Now we did a year and a half ago, we practiced an intruder drill. We were gonna practice those this spring, we didn’t get to these. We’re gonna go through all three of them. So this intruder drill, and again, we called it, we didn’t, I think with the kids, we called it lockdown, but I wanna just tell you what we learned through that. And again, we had step by step in our little box, our little red bag. We knew it was coming. We emailed, my associate was so great. We found a week that had a lesson that was really focused on the broken world. And we even use that once it was our drill time, we had our leaders go to the corner, that they were supposed to hide in, but we gave, they had lesson to continue to talk about, “Hey, we’re having to do this right now, “’cause we live in a broken world, “and there’s sin in our world.” To kinda continue the learning. But here’s what we learned when we actually put some of our written policies and procedures into place. First of all, the kids were used to it. I had, I’ll never forget. I go eat lunch with the kids when we draw sermon notes. And I was eight months at the school and one of the teachers goes to our church and this was right when we were emailing about everything, about the intruder drill. And she was like, “Oh, I bet your email is just firing up “with parents upset.” And I was like, “No, I haven’t gotten one.” ‘Cause the kids, once their talked to their kids, the kids were used to some of these drills. They do them in school and so we found that, that the kids were not freaked. We still wanted to do it in the best way possible, but intentionality is important. We wanted to be very intentional on that intruder drill week to again, like I said, have part of the lesson right there built in, to not add any fear in our kids lives. So we’re very intentional about when we picked, we over communicated, we were the only ministry that did it that day. So we have police officers in the front of our church, that help with traffic. We wanted to make sure everybody that had a walkie talkie in the church knew so that, ’cause we even practice that, so that we didn’t have real reaction to what was just a drill. So very intentional. And the biggest thing we learned is we were not near as prepared as we thought we were. We had a really good policy. We had step by step wonderful procedures. The backpacks are by the door, we have large pieces of paper that have been laminated right by the windows in every room. And the teachers were supposed to cover the windows, lock the door, go into the far corner, while we went around and checked. Some teachers forgot to lock the door. And again, that’s what happens. When you practice, you’ve gotta remember things. We have three different hallways we have to lock up. So we were sending people in different directions. We were really proud at first, we were like, “Boom, we did that in three to four minutes, “we were completely locked down.” And then we had a couple of our security team members, we knew and we told them to kinda pretend to be the intruder and try to not get in the kid’s classroom, but try to get in our hallway. And so we were like, “Boom, we’re locked down.” And then, ding, the elevator door opens and one of them walks off and he goes, “Locked every door on the stairwell, the elevator.” And we’re like, “Oh, we need to put a chair “in the elevator.” Or, so again, something we learned, we learned one of our back doors, we thought was locked, it was not locked. We learned that we need flashlights. And one of our dads that works in the government agency, he said, “These backpacks are great for fire “and weather drill.” He goes, “But if this happens, “the law enforcement is not going to let each “a teacher carry a bag out. “‘Cause they’re gonna, it’s gonna be very harsh “and get those kids out to safety.” And he talks about, “You’re gonna need to tell your teachers.” One of the other reasons we have that bag is we want the teachers to put, we have three stickers when a kid checks in, one goes on their person, one goes to their parent and the other one goes on a label sheet by the door. And so that is made to put in that backpack. Just so the teachers have that note, what 12 kids are supposed to have when they get to point B. And he’s like, “You don’t have to tell them, “they’re gonna have to grab that sheet and run.” So we learned so much, we thought we’ve got this. And that is when we worked through and walked through with the other age group ministries and learned, we didn’t have it as greatly done as we thought. We had it good on paper, we had a lot of practice to do. And again, the teachers learned a lot, we learned a lot, the church staff learned a lot. We learned that the walkie talkie, of somebody in the sanctuary is on a different channel than we were on. So if something happened at the sanctuary, we weren’t gonna get that notice. And we weren’t gonna get that notice to the sanctuary, if something happened in our. So just a lot of things you don’t know until you try. So that was a hard lesson, but it was very helpful to learn. And I know we’re all planning new and creative ways, to minister to families right now, but I think we’ve gotta continue to put safety first. I know I talked to our staff and I’m like, “We would not do anything online with the kids, “that we would not do in person.” Let’s keep that above reproach. Let’s keep the two adult rule. Let’s, get the releases there. And even as we come to prepare environments, some of safety is sanitizing and how are we gonna clean? How are we gonna social distance? How are we gonna wear masks? So much more to think through, I think in the coming day. So I’ve got you guys on my blog at I’ve pinned a post at the top of it. And it has this whole Prezi presentation for you to click through the slides. But it also has some links for you to see, different policies that we have in place that you may or may not want to use, but just wanted you guys to have that there. So that is all from me. Belinda, so I’m gonna quit sharing my screen there and come back.

– Thank you, Danielle. That was a lot of information and I really—

– I don’t wanna really quit, but I wanted to respect the time.

– Yes, no, no, no, that is perfect. That was perfect. And I just wanna remind those that are on, if you have any questions for Danielle about specifics about that, you can put that in the Q&A at this time. And if you were thinking about those, I wanted Danielle to share with us. We were talking before we started recording, about what they’re gonna do when they open up their church to keep everyone safe. They’re opening up for Sunday school on September 13th. Is that right? And so if you were Danielle, just share with us a little bit about what y’all are thinking for your Sunday school or family live groups, or what’s gonna be taking place there at that time.

– Okay, so what we have our preschool, is gonna offer in classroom no more than 10 kids and two teachers in a classroom, and kinda keep the numbers down.

– Okay.

– And they’re gonna have, they get to pick one hour ’cause they will not reuse rooms. So that’s really important for them to not, ’cause they wanna sanitize before the next room is used. They’re also gonna check teachers, and the teachers will wear mask or shields. At this moment, we have a team we’re still working with of medical experts. The kids are probably do not have to wear a masks, but they may. Then I do first through fifth grade and we just don’t have the volunteers or the space. So we’re offering it two hours. We are having family life group. We’re being very careful not to say family worship, ’cause we don’t want it to be in place of corporate worship with the whole church. We’re gonna be in the fellowship hall, and we’re gonna be around round tables. And so the thing you get with that Belinda is when you have a family, you get more people, ’cause the family needs six feet instead of the people.

– Right.

– That’s helping us, but when we fill up to 24, we’re full. But we will have 48 little canisters that go on each table. So 48 total, so that, that first hour we’ll use these manipulatives or whatever activity they’re doing. And when we switch hours, we’re taking that off and putting a completely new and we’ve ordered cleaning supplies. It’s gonna be part of that family experience, to clean off that table. You’re gonna serve together and do that. We will have tip checks at entry. We will require masks for all ages three and up, we’ve got some little gaiter buffs that we have and they, there will be kind of a release. We have a uniform registration sheet that is still being worked on ’cause things change every day. And so it has a release on there. And then, so we will have one set of entry doors and a different set of exit doors, just to kinda keep flow and not have that. I’m happy if they need to go outside and hang around, six feet apart outside, but in a small space, it’s hard. So we will see, Belinda. I’m sure I’ll have much more information after we try, of how, what didn’t work or what did work.

– Right, well, do you know are you gonna use this particular curriculum with, you’re gonna use your normal Sunday school curriculum? What are you gonna do about that?

– We are, we thought about kinda trying to align with what the pastor was doing, but we just love it, I mean, we love what he’s doing, but we just thought we don’t want to take anything away, when the adults went into the worship. So we’re gonna, we are gospel project. We’re on our eighth year of that. We love, love, love it. And so we’re gonna like maybe one of their activities, we’ll tweak it to make it more family friendly. So we’ll do our gospel project. We’re gonna add some memorization. We’re gonna start with the Lord’s prayer, and have families do the different elements is there gonna be early arrival, which will be focused on what they’re memorizing. They’ll have a lesson element and a discussion element ’cause when can families turn and discuss, in the worship service? Well they do, but freely. And then there’ll be a family activity, and then we’ll end with, we call it the Baptist Catechism, but the “Cornerstones’ book. I don’t know if you’ve seen by Brian Dembowczyk, that something like that, the 200 truths kinda have a little something there, so they can go a little bit deeper.

– Well that’s good. Now, since you’re only allowing that for 48 families, are you going to allow something for your virtual people or people that aren’t coming? Are you gonna allow something for virtual Sunday school?

– Yes, I’ve just ordered some core, that somebody told me I needed. So we will have a camera set up, and that will be streaming live for both of those hours on our kids Facebook page, ’cause the church service’s on the church one. So for families that are not comfortable yet, that family service will be streaming live. And then we’re not doing anything mid week, for the fall right now. We will take part of that and probably the lesson part and then pair it. The gospel project has been so wonderful at LifeWay. They let you use their, we put in a passcode on that video. So we’re not just sharing curriculum with everybody. We’ll probably add maybe the Bible story video, and the questions kids ask. We’ve been using a lot of NAM videos, permissions to show those to the kids. So we’ll add that too and then sit in that out midweek. So they have a little bit more of that same truth all week, so.

– Okay, that’s great. Well, Beth Baldwin has a security question for you. So let me read that let’s see. What security system do you use in your church for check-in? KidMin, ACS, Planning Center. What do y’all use for check in?

– Right now we use Arena, that they link to some computers. We are all cheering that one day we’ll get to move to Planning Center. So for the family service that’s coming up, we will take everybody that registers and we’re gonna put them in Planning Center, because if they’re with their family, they don’t need a tag. And what I love about Planning Center, it very easily moves to an iPad. So we’re gonna sit there and just tap people in, like our greeters. So nobody’s sharing screens during the pandemic. But on a typical Sunday pre-pandemic and hopefully post very soon. We Arena is our church software and they do that through, we have touch screens that print the three tags. So but, the administrative staff all wants Planning Center.

– I bet they do.

– Someday, that’ll come someday, and we’re making do with what we have now.

– Exactly. And too with a lot of this I think it is a process. It’s not all done overnight and you kind of have to add things all along and of course, tweak those and make them better as you roll out—

– The same thing with the policies. I didn’t start out year one with all these policies. I did go, my very first workshop was at LifeWay and I sat him with a LifeWay lawyers. And I think I was scared to do ministry ever, after that workshop ’cause of, they just talked about all the legal stuff and children rights, it was so scary. But you just add them as you see the need and, but you don’t have to, I would rather have a couple done well than a bunch that nobody knows what to do.

– Right, exactly. Well, we thank you so much for your time Danielle. It has been great and I do wanna remind everybody that it’s gonna be recorded and it will be up, probably in a week or so on our website. And you can access that anytime and go back and also on Danielle’s blog, you can receive all the information that she shared with us today.

– Yeah, and any policies I miss, share with me, ’cause I’m always trying to, that’s what I love about this is ’cause we need each other. We’re not in competition, we’re like, how can we make each other better?

– Right, and I think we’ve always been that way, but I’ve seen through the pandemic that that has just really been the case. I know in my position, we’ve been sharing things with other states and we’re all working together in states and going, “Oh, no they’re doing this over here, “they’re doing whatever.” And so we even had a discussion on our last Zoom call that said we need to share everything we’re taping. And if we’re making a video, share it with everybody, so that we can all learn from each other. We’re all in it for the kingdom, for sure. But we do appreciate your time, Danielle. You did an awesome job and—

– [Discussant] Belinda?

– Yes.

– [Discussant] Belinda before you go, one, I think Patty had a question.

– Oh, okay I’m sorry.

– [Discussant] Michael also had a question. We got it in the wrong box.

– Okay, all right.

– [Discussant] I’ll start with michael’s and then I think Patty has a followup. In smaller churches is there, a way around the two adult policy in children and youth, or is this necessary no matter what?

– I’m not a lawyer. And I think the best thing to do is find a lawyer in your church that, or you have a church lawyer that, kinda looks at our policies. I know they say two even unrelated adults. So ’cause a husband and wife can not testify. We have gone back and forth on cameras. Does a camera count as a second person? And again, that your church insurance will also I think, has helped us with some of that. So whoever’s in charge of your church insurance and if there’s a lawyer in your town or I’m sure the great people at Alabama Baptist can help you with the kinda maybe state laws, but I’ve always been told two unrelated adults.

– [Discussant] That’s generally the policy that we do. We know some smaller churches ignore that policy, but the two unrelated people in the same room is the safest overall policy, if something is to happen. And so when somebody asked point blank, a lot of times we just simply say, “There’s no getting around the wisdom of that policy, okay.” But again, the other thing you just said, always, if you’ve got a church lawyer, and your insurance company, those are the people that are gonna wind up in court with you should something happen. So you might wanna check with them but as a rule, it’s smart to avoid the situation of only one person in the room, or a couple that are related in the room with no one else.

– And not even closed doors is very, I know I’ve had a, I teach them now that I’m in Christian class and I’ve had a week where the parent helper didn’t show up and I’m all the way around. And I’m like, “I can’t be in here.” So I’ve taken all the kids and we’ve sat in a big gathering area near my greeter desk, where my greeters can see me the whole time. They’re not helping, but I’m in an open space. So that, ’cause I’m like, “I don’t wanna be all the way around the corner, “with a group of kids by myself.” And that’s protecting your teachers too. So yeah, I’ve taught in the hallway, just to have somebody watching me.

– [Discussant] Okay, Patty?

– [Patty] I was just making sure that that question was being asked because I saw that it showed up in chat, but just to interject, I totally agree two non-related adults, in times when I’ve had to get around that, it’s not ideal. But to have that consistent lead teacher, consistency is key to have that consistent lead teacher. And then the terminology you just used as a parent helper, sometimes I’ve had to say, “Parents, I need a second person “in this room, so I need to put you on a rotation.”

– Right.

– [Patty] And then sometimes you will, you’ll get a parent who says, “Well this wasn’t so bad. “I can do this on a regular basis.” But at least it does put those two people that aren’t related in there. So that could be a way that you could skip around that a little bit, but definitely two people in the room that aren’t related. But I was just making sure that question got asked.

– It’s so hard ’cause we don’t have a waiting list of volunteers. And, but that’s important.

– [Patty] Yeah.

– Well, and hopefully through this pandemic, parents have become more comfortable sharing the gospel and teaching their children in a lot of different ways, and that it’s not so hard or overwhelming that maybe, in the end we might be able to pull some of them in as well. And they’ll say that the need is great too. So hopefully that’s gonna help with that. All right, now I’m gonna give you just a few more seconds, if you have any more questions and then, if y’all are okay, we will close up.

– I liked what Patty said. I got one of my best volunteers ever, because she never thought she could serve. And she served for me one day and she’s like, “I loved this.” And she served for years. But she would have never done it if it wasn’t that, I had to have somebody in there so.

– Right. And it just protects everybody, it really does. It’s hard sometimes, but it gives protection to us all, so, anyway. Well, thanks again, Danielle, we hope that you have a great, Oh, here’s another question. Every time we start to wind down, we get another question. The Sunday school startup, it is for kids and parents. So is this a supplement to adult classes for the time being?

– Yes. So we right now don’t have the space, for adults to be on campus and social distance. So if that is there, they’re doing a lot of Zoom midweek, and I know we’re opening the big rooms in the church for different nights during the week for adult classes. So if a child, if somebody has a four year old and a first grader, and they wanna come both hours, they could come to my hour first, and bring their four year old. Even though we’re first and fifth grade, ’cause Jesus taught on a mountainside, it was loud, you know it was. It wasn’t perfect, I love that kind of environment. And then the second hour that our kids get to worship with their parents, the first grader would go to corporate worship with their parent and then the preschooler could go to life groups. So they wanted to do two hours, that’s what that would look like.

– Well, and I think that model is going to be great, for parents to learn how to disciple their children. And that has been a missing component that we’ve had. We know that parents need to be the primary disciplers of their children. But they really haven’t had much training in that, or much opportunity to do that or accountability for it. So that’s gonna be great training for them.

– And I think they wanna do it.

– Right.

– I don’t know how, like, “Oh, you want me to do “a Bible study with my kids? “It has to be perfect.” No it doesn’t. And so we do wanna model that in our family, “Hey, this is just turn and talk about this.” And give them, I always like to say, give them a bridge, from the church to home. And hopefully somewhere usually at bedtime, that conversation will come up again or, and they can continue teaching that, maybe God wanted some of this to come out of the bad. Some beauty in the ashes of parents going, “I can do this, I can do this.”

– Right. I do think God has had a lot of bright spots for us in the whole pandemic. It’s been very hard for churches and for individuals, but I have seen so many wonderful things come from it. And that’s one of them. Lots of parents interacting with their children spiritually and teaching them and discipling them. So it’s a good thing. It’s been a good thing. Well, thanks again, Danielle. And we will close this time. But we appreciate your time and your presentation and just your willingness to share with us today. And we will be praying for you and your ministry at Dawson and hope everything goes well on September 13th.

– We’ll see. It’ll be exciting.

– We’ll want a report on that.

– God gets you when you have to rely on him, right?

– Exactly.

– Some point where you just can’t plan everything and you just trust him so.

– Exactly, I know it will go great. Well, we look forward to hearing about it. Thank you so much.

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