Alfred White is North Central District lay leader and a member of First UMC Coppell.
One of my favorite sayings is: If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
I would credit the originator of the quote, but when I have researched the origin of the phrase, there is controversy over who said it first. I am not sure of the original circumstances in which the quote was said, but I have developed my own context.
And the MinistySafe System that the North Texas Conference has adopted is something I think we must stand for because it is an important initiative to prevent child sexual abuse in our churches.
This system implements methods for increasing staff and volunteer awareness regarding sexual abuse of children, youth and the vulnerable when they participate in church-related programs throughout the North Texas Conference.
What is MinistySafe? MinistySafe Abuse and Prevention Systems offers sexual abuse awareness training (live and online) to assist child care providers and organizations in the design and implementation of systems to reduce the risk of sexual abuse.
Who does MinistySafe protect? The NTC Center for Leadership Development believes that MinistySafe will provide an improved, comprehensive program to ensure that all children, youth and vulnerable people have a safe haven and that our churches are a place of sacred trust and security.
How long has MinistySafe been in effect? The NTC Center for Leadership Development proposed, and it was passed at the 2012 North Texas Annual Conference, that all congregations implement MinistySafe (training of staff/volunteers, policies and procedures, online maintenance) by January 1, 2013.
Why are we changing to MinistySafe? On April 1, 2012, the NTC changed insurance carriers to MHBT. The insurer requires that NTC have a consistent, comprehensive safety prevention system for all the congregations; MinistySafe is the official resource for safety awareness.
More details coming soon! The transition to MinistySafe initially requires a significant amount of time. However, the long-term benefits of becoming more aware and helping to safeguard against potential incidents will create confidence about the safety for our children, youth and vulnerable adults.
More information is available on the conference website at www.ntcleadingfromthecenter.org/ministry-safe.
Our children, youth and vulnerable adults are precious gifts from God, and while the explicit set of requirements demanded by MinistySafe may seem extreme or outrageous, we have to be prepared to do these things, and more, if it means a safe, comfortable environment for our children and the vulnerable.