We haven’t done much parenting tips in quite a while, but with “VBS Hopping” becoming increasingly more popular each year, I had to ask myself, “What do the parents know about the Churches they are leaving their child(ren) with?”
The following is my top three questions to ask before signing your child up for VBS this summer:
1) Has the Church Conducted Criminal Background Checks?
Did you know that churches are not legally required to perform a criminal background check on volunteers? It’s true. A background check is merely a recommendation made by their insurance company, but not a requirement.
This is frightening.
Next to schooling outside of the home, the church is where your child is most vulnerable. Do you know who has access to your child? This is of particular concern with all of the reports of clergy abuse lawsuit settlements in the news.
A survey conducted by Church Law and Tax Report found that church volunteers commit 50 percent of all incidents of sexual abuse in churches, paid staff commit 30 percent, and other children commit 20 percent. Information Obtained from Children’s Ministry Magazine.
2) How will the Church Identify Who Will Pick-Up Your Child?
Next to the importance of knowing who will be with your child, you should also ask what policies they will have in place for picking up your child. Will you have matching wristlets each day? Will you need to provide a photo id? What will they do if someone doesn’t have the required items with them and is demanding the child? How will they proceed? What does their policy state? These are the questions you need to be asking.
Another factor to consider during pickup is where will the children be held in waiting for pickup? You want to be sure your child will not be playing and chatting with their friends near cars or other hazards.
3) What Do They Plan To Teach?
Does the Church(s) you have selected teach from doctrines you follow? Do you know what curriculum they plan to use? This is especially important if you plan on allowing your child to visit a church that isn’t your own and isn’t affiliated with your home Church. Just because a church is listed as the denomination of your preference, doesn’t mean they aren’t teaching beyond your beliefs.
Ask what curriculum they plan to use, and if they have a web address for the curriculum creators, you can follow up with.
Also, ask if they plan on deviating from the curriculum and if the classroom leaders are prepared to answer questions appropriately. I don’t know how many complaints I have heard from parents over the years about inaccurate information being provided to their child from a Sunday School or VBS Teacher. Be sure they have adequately trained their teaching volunteers and helpers.