Article link: Why the Recent Stir About Safe Ministry? (By Dave Moore, from The Gospel Coalition Australia)
For those of us who have been around churches for most our lives, the emphasis on Safe Ministries programs and screening may still seem somewhat of a new thing. For example, before 2003, most Sunday school volunteers were given little more than a class teaching program and a pat on the back.
Today, depending on your church or denomination, volunteers might be required to attend safe training courses, complete extensive questionnaires, provide referees and State “Working with Children” licences. Some will even need to get a full Police background check—just to offer a helping-hand in the kids program they’ve been a part of for years. The impact on church staff teams has been considerable too. Churches have begun to appoint compliance officers and safe ministry implementation supervisors because the administration load to oversee all these issues is so great.
While there have been various safety programs in place for a lot longer, most of these changes have happened in the space of 15 years or so. Why?