Children's Ministry FAQs
Our children's ministries are designed to be an encouragement and complement to your ministry as parents. The Scriptures are clear that parents have the primary God-given responsibility for bringing up their children. As you are well aware, this is not an easy task but it is also not a task that God intends for parents to do on their own. God has given the body of Christ to encourage, equip, and assist parents in that process and we pray our children’s ministries are useful to that end.
Who is allowed to work with children?
Your child’s safety and security are one of our primary concerns. For this reason, we are very careful who we allow to serve in our children’s ministry. All workers with minors must be approved per our Child Protection Policy. This policy requires workers to be a regular part of our church and to have passed a criminal background check.
What other measures do you take to ensure my child’s safety?
We have a detailed Child Protection Policy which includes specific rules and procedures that all children’s ministries follow. As an example, all classrooms must have two approved adult workers in them at all times when children are present. Our full child protection policy and application forms for working with minors are available here. In addition children learn and are trained in a secure environment, and our preschool classrooms are under video surveillance.
What if my child has been sick or seems to be getting sick?
While we love to have your children in our care, we also strive to minimize passing illness from one child to the next. For this reason, if your child has had a fever, colored drainage from their nose, vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours, or they currently have a skin rash, eye infection or other symptoms of illness, please do not bring them to class.
How do you handle medical emergencies?
On Sunday mornings and evenings, we have a church-wide Medical First Responder Team (MFRT) available. Doctors, nurses, and paramedics who are a part of our congregation serve in this way and are available to assist with any medical need. In case of a medical emergency, the MFRT team member and child's parents will be notified.
How do you handle other emergencies (fire, weather, etc.)?
We have a posted emergency evacuation plan for all classrooms. In the event of an emergency, please remain calm and follow check-out procedures at the appropriate time and location.
Snacks and Food Allergies
What snacks do you serve for children?
We typically serve snacks to children as a part of our Sunday morning classes and at various other times in other ministries. The snacks we generally serve to preschool and elementary children are various crackers (Ritz, Goldfish, Cheez-its, etc.), though other snacks will also occasionally be provided. Parents will be notified if a snack outside of the normal is going to be given. Our nursery class only serves what is provided by parents for their children. We do strive to maintain a nut-free Children's Building and nursery area.
What if my child has food allergies?
If your child has food allergies, you will have the opportunity to note this on their registration card or check-in sheet. Feel free to communicate these to the class workers when you drop your child off as well. Please provide a special snack for your child if something else is needed due to their allergies.
Does my child have to be potty trained to attend preschool ministries?
We do ask that children be potty trained prior to participating in our Awana Cubbies ministry (for children who are 3 and 4 years old as of September 1st of that year). Your child does not have to be potty trained to attend our preschool Sunday School ministries.
What to Bring
What should my child bring with them?
For those children in the nurseries, we ask that you bring a diaper bag stocked with diapers, wipes, a cup/bottle, an extra outfit and a comfort item (i.e. blanket, pacifier, etc.). Please label any items such as cups or blankets that you send to the nursery with your child. We ask that you do not bring books or toys from home.
Why is discipline important?
The Bible teaches that obedience and biblical submission are crucial elements of the Christian life. Cultivating a submissive heart in children and teaching them the importance of obeying biblical authorities is a vital part of them learning to follow and obey Christ. Maintaining consistent biblical discipline in the classroom also teaches each student the importance of applying biblical truth and it provides children with a picture of how God’s loving discipline is implemented in their lives. Properly done, biblical discipline will bless the teachers as well as the students. (1 Samuel 15:22; Proverbs 22:15, Ephesians 6:1; Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 13:17; Titus 3:1-2)
What do you expect from children?
In our expectations for children, we seek to maintain a biblical focus on their hearts. We want children to learn more than external obedience and respect, but desire that they have a heart of faith and love for God that leads to external obedience. Also, while we maintain high standards for children, we seek to be realistic in our expectation of them (i.e. asking a two year old to sit still for 45 minutes is unrealistic). We also want to differentiate between childishness (i.e. accidentally spilling water), which is a normal part of working with children, and sinfulness (i.e. maliciously throwing water on another child), which requires discipline. In keeping these principles in mind, our expectations can be summarized as follows, with each being applied in age-appropriate ways:
1. Respect for God
We expect children to respect God and so to be respectful during times of instruction from His Word, prayer, worship, etc. We want children to grow in their awe of and love for God as they come to know more of Him.
2. Respect for Others
We expect children to be kind in their interaction with one another in their speech, physical contact, sharing, etc. We want children to learn to love others as they love themselves.
3. Respect for Authorities
We expect children to obey the instructions of those in authority over them and to treat those authorities with respect in their speech and behavior. We desire that children learn that God has placed authorities in their lives which are to be obeyed, and that this is for their good.
How do you handle discipline issues?
We seek to be positive and proactive in maintaining discipline within our ministries. By clearly communicating expectations and by praising obedience and submission, we hope to create an environment in which obedience is the expectation, not the exception. While individual situations vary, we use the following framework in dealing with issues of disobedience. First, workers seek to deal with the issue within the classroom. If unable to address the issue within the class, workers contact their ministry director to remove the child from the classroom. Depending on the nature of the situation, the director either deals with the issue and returns the child to the class or contacts the parents for the child to remain with them.
When will I as a parent be involved in the discipline process?
We recognize that parents are God’s primary instrument in disciplining children (Ephesians 6:4). We do not want to usurp that role from you. We will therefore seek to communicate openly with you regarding your children’s behavior. We will initiate dialogue with you should your child have consistent or significant behavior issues within the class (biting, hitting, cursing, etc.). We will, however, make an effort to avoid talking negatively about your children’s behavior in front of them or others. Such conversations are best done in private or over the phone.