A policy manual is something every church should have, but few follow through on this. Here are some good reasons to have a policy manual.
If you settle for any warm body to work in your children’s ministry, it will cause you more problems than lack of workers. Set the bar higher for those who will minister to the children in your church, and you’ll attract quality people. This goes against the grain, but it works. If you don’t believe me, try it for one year. Let the congregation know only those who meet the qualifications need apply. Mention that you’re doing this because you want only the best working with the children, and see what happens.
One qualification should be that only those who are fully devoted Christ followers can work in children’s ministry. No matter what, don’t compromise on this. Someone who is a carnal Christian or who plays games with Christianity is not someone you want your students looking up to as role models.
Other qualifications can include church membership, water baptism, devotional life, screening, and mandatory teacher training.
It’s so much easier to tell a parent whose bringing a child with a 103° fever into your class that you can’t accept the child if you have a written church policy in place. Parents can handle you saying you have to follow the church policy rather than you don’t want their child there.
Safety policies need to be in place. These include teacher/student ratios for each age group. If a teacher has too many student to handle, with a policy in place, she can alert an usher who knows what to do.
Another good policy that is needed is what to do with restroom breaks. No child should wander around the church hallways unsupervised. For nursery, you’ll want policies for how to change a diaper. Rubber gloves and a bleach spray bottle should be standard for every church nursery.
One of the most important policies to have in place is how we release children to adults. It used to be we could just let the children go when church was out. That’s no longer the case. With so many divorces and estranged parent, not to mention predators, we need to be careful how we do this.
Attracting parents is a great reason to have a policy manual. Parents want to know you’re taking care of their children properly. They’re more likely to attend a church they trust with their children.
You may think you don’t need those policies in place because you’re a small church. It’s easier to put policies in place and get church members use to them while your small. Then you’ll be ready for church growth.
If you don’t know where to start, Revival Fire For Kids has a complete Children’s Ministry Policy Manual available for download. This manual is available in MS Word and RTF formats so you can change it to fit your church’s needs. Click on the picture for more info.