Post 3 in a 3-part series by Reagan Lynn
Children’s Ministry: Enhancing Security
- Which security methods fit your church best?
- We’ll cover: Utilizing different options, including iPad check in, wireless check in, security cards, and iPhone self check-in for parents
Imagine for a moment: Peace of mind. True connections.
In today’s age, children’s safety and security are more important than ever. Churches ensure that all children are present and accounted for. Children’s ministry volunteers now often assist in operating electronic, secure child check in systems on Sunday mornings and for special gatherings. Quickly fading are the days of using only attendance rolls for security checks.
Many churches embrace this change by taking greater security measures as a means to connect more effectively with families. There are two goals: Ensure security, and cultivate relationships.
A secure, electronic child check in system plays a powerful role in promoting safety for children and confidence for parents. Computers, laptop computers and tablets are often used as check in stations. Sometimes parents operate the check in process themselves using a self-guided system for checking in their children. Other churches provide volunteers to operate the child check in process for parents when the parents arrive at their respective stations.
Parents can even check their children in securely without standing in line to check in. How? Once they are within a 1/2 mile of the church, they simply utilize an iPhone app to check their children in at the check in station of their choice. When they approach the station, their security labels are printed.
Do you wonder, “How is security actually ensured?” That is a great question. Often times, when a child is checked in electronically, two labels will print to a (sometimes wirelessly) connected label printer. One label is typically tagged onto the child’s shirt, and the second label is sent with the parent. The check in system randomly generates a matching number that is printed on both labels.
The returning parent and the children’s ministry volunteer verify that the number on the child’s label matches the number on the parent’s label. This functions as a security safeguard.
Optionally, some churches assign an RFID card to each parent. The card is uniquely tied to the parent / family in the child check in system. The parent can swipe the card over a scanner during the check in process to speed up the check in routine. Also, swiping the card at check out can also be set as a requirement, serving as a second security check (in addition to the security labels).
Pay close attention: Operating a child check in system offers an often untapped opportunity. The check in process is prime time for greeting visiting families with a warm and genuine first impression. Consider positioning a station marked exclusively for visiting families. Also, assign certain volunteers to greet new families and guide them through the check in process. Hopefully they can establish a genuine connection in the process.
Regularly attending families can also develop relationships with children’s ministry volunteers. Seeing familiar faces builds community, even in small ways. Small connections can grow stronger and blossom over time.
So seize these genuine opportunities: Provide peace of mind for parents, real safety and security for children, and cultivate genuine connections in the process!
Reagan Lynn has a passion for helping churches increase ministry effectiveness, specifically through improving visitor follow up and enhancing member engagement. This drives his career, as he partners with churches to implement systems to accomplish exactly those goals. He resides in Tallahassee, FL and enjoys meaningful conversations, competitive tennis and people-watching at Whole Foods.