Saturday, January 24, 2015

Notes for Beyond Background Checks Breakout

Beyond Background Checks
Heidi M. Hensley
Developing a safety team
  • Safety team positions
  • Calling on Law Enforcement / Fire / EMS.
    Call on these members of your congregation to serve on Safety committees. (i.e.. Luncheons, Church announcements, bulletins, booths in the lobby, etc)
  • Your volunteers
    • As you establish your volunteer list recruit security/safety personnel
    • this personnel needs to be background checked
  • Just like you would make sure a SS classroom is staffed, have a contact list of Safety team.
    Have LE / Fire personal available in emergency scenarios.
    If your church does not have these personnel reach out to your local departments - if not contact us Volunteers
    Develop a volunteer application, including a background authorization form Background check ALL regular volunteers (and have a wait period) (update yearly if your software doesn’t) Identify background checked & trained workers
  • Enforce the 2’s rule
  • Train your volunteer staff
    • Regular training will make your policies effective
    • Medical training & safety training should all be current and rehearsed
    • “Common sense assumes there is no common sense”
    • Make the plans visible and easy & tools within reach
  • Document, Document, Document (protecting your church, kids, & staff)
    • Any incident or Injury should be documented and signed by a parent
    • Medical release forms should be on hand when parents are not
    • Define incident or injury for your team
      Develop an action plan
STAY CALM! Your the leaders, people will react
to your ability to lead especially during a major incident
  • Natural Disaster - be prepared to assist medical personnel, HAVE A PLAN,
    talk to your Fire Department - Train your staff & review it often
  • Medical Emergency - The key is communication. HAVE A PLAN. You don’t
    need 10 people calling 911. Send a trustworthy person street side to guide
page1image20984 page1image21144
first responders to the right location. You only need 1 person per entry. KEEP

Safety Incident (Active Shooter or Subject with a gun)
  • Prepare - HAVE A PLAN. (Start with air horns, etc) Educate your staff on lock-down.
  • A gunman will not spend 5 minutes attempting to breach a locked
    empty room
  • Make your church or facility available for emergency agency trainings
  • How to respond to active shooter
    Church Policies
  • Mandated Reporting
    • If it’s questionable, call!
    • Know your state’s reporting laws
    • Develop a system for your staff
    • Food Policies
    • Consider the use of an allergy form or bracelet
    • Train your teachers to respond to surprise snacks
    • Always have an allergen free option on hand
  • Safety Software or Policies
    • Who arrived, who’s there, who left, and who can take them
    • Be willing to have an “alert” for custody issues
    • If you use a system, use it!
    • Workers should be trained to use the same routine for everyone.
    • Follow your own rules and expect the same of your staff!
  • How to write your policies
    • Know your state laws regarding caring for kids
    • Know your problems
    • Know your church’s culture
    • Don’t over complicate the policy & procedure
    • Make it well known
    • State the purpose
    • Brainstorm the worst case scenario
    • Form a plan to prevent the scenario that aligns with the law and
      honors your church’s beliefs and culture
    • Form a draft
    • Rehearse it
    • Present to elders or administrator (if successful)
    • Return to step 3 until step 5 is successful
    • Make sure they don’t conflict
      Resources to remember: (I thought this was, disregard that)

      My forms (for example reference)

Notes for Layers of Leadership Breakout

Layers of Leadership 
Heidi M. Hensley

Thanks for coming today!! I was blessed to share, and hope you find these notes useful. I have also attached my mentoring form.
Blessings, Heidi

Mentoring by definition is:
To serve as a trusted counselor or teacher
(what’s missing here?) a sense of being hands on – ministry

My definition serve as a trusted leader with an intentional path you both need to know your destination

This is my theory
If you were to cut a leader in half...(not recommended) I think you would find layers of mentored leadership inside. Just like
trees These layers represent the years of relationship and learning they have gained over the years.

The attitude and way of life qualified the mentor to be imitated by his disciples.... speaking of Jesus

Even though Jesus was divine in His nature while on earth, He lived by faith and dependence on God, which was characterized by prayer.
Simply stated, He didn’t just tell us, he showed us. Phil 3:12

A true one on one mentoring relationship is close. It requires trust, grace, intimacy and transparency.

Be sure to set boundaries and be smart when mentoring, be
aware of your surroundings and be sure your mentor has displayed a life and faith worthy of mimicking and then be that same kind of person.
So how do we build into those around us? 

1. Don’t over complicate it!
  • I honestly believe this is what we as humans do. Somewhere in our arrogance and pride, we assume when things are so simple, there must be more to them We complicate the gospel, when it is designed to be the easiest thing understood. We complicate mentoring by taking it beyond what it really is.
  • Mentoring is like teaching someone to ride a guide, occasionally offering support, always offering encouragement, and sometimes correction with the ability to display the intended behavior.
  • What are you doing on a daily basis that can be a teachable moment for someone willing to learn?
  • What are those things in your life that others notice you do well?

2. Know what you’re talking about!

  • Sometimes with the greatest intent, we make it worse. Wanting to help, but not being equipped to do so.
  • Use your resources, learn, and be sure that if you are mentoring or being mentored the mentor has an outward display of a result you wouldn’t mind having.
  • Titus 2:3-5 - training younger generations

3. Let them own their new skill.
  • As our mentees learn, are you giving them freedom and space to own it? Are they being allowed to make mistakes?
  • But most importantly are you letting go?
  • If you never let go of a child’s bike, they will never develop
    the balance skills they need to ride.
  • So much as a finger touch can throw them off. As their body
    learns this new must release.
  • If you put someone in an action role, but step in and re-do their work, veto small preference design changes, or insist
    that every step is done your way THEY WILL NEVER FIND
  • Set boundaries, but give ownership

4. Age is not a factor.

  • This has been my biggest lesson as a mentor AND mentee I have been mentored by some amazing people, younger than me and older than me
  • I have been blessed to minister to mentees, parents and even volunteer staff that is older and younger.
  • It never ceases to amaze me when someone comes into our program and knows nothing about scripture. They are afraid to jump in, and finding a role where they can use their talents, be mentored and learn all at the same time... this has proven to be a 1 Tim 4:12 moment

sum it all up

  1. Utilize your team
  2. Check progress
  3. Keep your eyes open for talent 

CPC 2015 - Notes for finding your VOICE as a small church kidmin leader

Good morning from the Waffle House! As I sit here and sip my coffee I am happy to share that it has been a wonderful week in the world of kidmin! I was a little skeptical of the location, but have learned that Chattanooga is a cool place, great food, lovely people and great architecture. But I guess if you're from the south, it may not be quite the novelty. I will say, after getting myself through the San Francisco airport the Chattanooga metro airport was quite fun! :)

If you came to any of my sessions, you have probably already received an email with my notes. They are also posted here and hope you find them useful.

Hoping you had a wonderful time at CPC if you were here!
See y'all on the left coast in a few weeks.


Breakout #1 - Kidmin in the Small Church (track)

Finding your VOICE as a small church kidmin leader

Three things to remember when finding your VOICE
Every church is unique
       Take joy in this, and learn who you are as a church, don’t do cookie cutter ministry
       1 Corinthians 12:14-27
Every church can be effective
       Effectiveness is a choice
Every small church has an advantage
       The ability to have personal relationships

       Prayer – start here!
       Find out your pastor’s vision for Children’s Ministry – and know it well
       What exactly do we mean by “vision” – your ultimate goal or target
       Dream a little
       Develop a strategy – and be willing to constantly update it

       Identify your effectiveness – are all the churches around you doing the same thing?
       What can your church or ministry do, that others can not?
       Make connections - the more ministry friends you have, the more resources you have
       Remember, we are all on the same team! Partner with a larger church leader in a mentoring way.
       Resource management
4.     Twitter & Facebook & Pinterest
5.     Lifeway Kids Blog


       Yourself – stay in the word! Make sure you are being fed as a leader.
       Your Pastor – keep him in the loop! Update him about kids being saved etc.
       Your Leaders – Let them have input and ownership! Make sure they know the “why” of what they’re doing.
       Your Parents – Share the vision you have for their kids with them
       Your Kids – Again, do they know “why” kidmin is so important?
       Your City – get out of your walls!


       Know the culture well – this gives you a wealth of information for ministry and design use
       Use it to your advantage – you will know how to minister to your city
       Be willing to see – be the candle in dark places as a church
       Be willing to let God change it – this is easier said than done. Letting go of ineffective practices, or killing off sacred cows.

       Review what you do
       Review why you do

       Review the how – then decide what needs to be kept and do it well!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas and Kidmin Safety

Today Jason and I got to do a recorded podcast with KidCheck, too much fun. It's always a good time talking to our KidCheck friends, and hopefully you will check out that upcoming podcast.

This conversation got me thinking about the holiday season and kids ministry. At our church we see a lot of distant relatives, grandparents, and even close family friends who are in town to visit.

I love the reality of knowing that many of these people are hearing the gospel, especially knowing that maybe they don't have a regular church home. Ministry opportunities are so abundant this time of year, and people are more receptive.

With all of this in mind, I think it's important to remember that the sea of new faces can also create a bit of camouflage for those with less than pure intentions. Making sure that we are maintaining a safe atmosphere for our ministry families is a very important thing during this time of year.

Here are a few reminders as we enter into this season, they are beneficial as we have special events and nights where we see an influx of visitors. These tips will help to create an atmosphere both of safety and hospitality as we minister to new families.

1. Stand firm on Check-in / Check-out procedures.

  • Visitors will notice if you are asking only them for parents tags or verification during pickup. This can feel like a singled out situation, for reasons of safety and hospitality, make sure everyone has the same process. 
2.  Know your custody situations. 
  • A few years back during the holiday season, I had an estranged parent pick up a child he was not allowed to be in custody of. As a leader, my heart sank as I stood with the mother and police trying to find this child (she was located the next day, and was safely returned). This instance could have been prevented had I known the situation. Encourage parents to communicate this information, and make sure your teachers know who these children are. 
3. Parents in the room. 
  • In this season, aunt so and so may come with her two small children and be there for one Sunday. We often see parents want to let their child attend with a cousin, but want to stay. If this is something you allow, and we do, we ask parents to wear a green lanyard. To them it simply says "visitor", to us it says "I have not been background checked and can not be left without supervision". This creates a situation for kids to have parents alongside them when they are learning to attend on their own without compromising the safety of the classroom. 
4. Have an extra person for visitors
  • During this time of year, having a person dedicated to greeting your visitors will provide a great setting for a welcoming environment, as well as create a little bit of a "gatekeeper" mentality. I once visited a church where I wanted to see the kids rooms. I walked up and down the halls, looking in, and at one point even walked into the infant nursery and nosed around. I noticed people watching me, but nobody every said a word. Personally, I felt it was both unsafe and inhospitable. I would not have left my baby knowing anyone could enter the room. Make sure your staff addresses volunteers, if an adult comes to the room and isn't there to drop off or pick up, openly asking "can I help you?" is how we train our leaders to handle the situation. Unless you are a cleared teacher, or identified parent, you may not wander through our children area without a chaperone. 
The goal is to provide an atmosphere of such hospitality that it is impossible to be a stranger. You have been welcomed, greeted, checked in, and encouraged to attend worship. This friendly atmosphere provides safety in disguise, all the while ministering to families. Hopefully you find some great reminders, and I hope you have a very merry Christmas!

Friday, November 7, 2014

CPC East and West Giveaway!

This year INCM is giving away a free registration for each venue. This is a value of almost $500! All you have to do is nominate a Kids ministry leader of your choice. Below is the video from INCM with all the details as well as my video nomination!

Post it to social media, tag me! I want to see your uploads!! See you at CPC15!

My nominee

Instructions video

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cold and Flu and Kidmin

Oh happy day off! Today is Monday, and as I sit here enjoying a cup of hot tea, by a pumpkin spice candle, I am reminded that it's fall! Which means I get to bake, and everything tastes better! Sweaters and boots, and kids coming to church in puffy coats, looking like the stars of A Christmas Story! They're like little ministry marshmallows, so cute. I love this time of year!!

And then the harsh reminder that this also means cold and flu season, which seems to be just a bit scarier each year with whatever special illness decides to wreak havoc on our country and sense of safety as parents. Wouldn't it be awesome if those puffy coats gave off a mist of lysol whenever they were squished? I may be on to something here!

As a kids ministry leader, I realize just how many kids we come in contact with and just how often. Pair this with the understanding that the average child has between 6-8 colds a year, and you realize your immune system is probably working overtime. 

As I started to update some documents, I was working on our illness policy, and couldn't help but start to research ebola and other various illnesses. As I did, I learned that we were a bit outdated in our policy and have updated it, so I thought I might share. 

Why does any of this matter? It's just a runny nose, right? I believe this subject is important, it all comes back to how we minister to families. As parents come to church, especially those who visit, they want to know their children are safe and in great care. Most parents may not love the idea of being called back if Jr. is running a fever, but at the same time, most appreciate the effort to keep everyone healthy, especially with the best interest of kids at heart. 

As we come into the cold season, make sure your parents know that you have an illness policy (if you don't, well you should), the next step is to tell them why you have it, because you love their children and want to see them happy and healthy at church...and your workers too! And lastly, enforce it! Steps 1 and 2 make this possible. Yesterday I was working checkin when a child told me they had been throwing up at bed time, but felt better now. As I reminded mom of our policy, she understood and we didn't send her child to class. I got to call today and she is doing much better, and we will see her Sunday! This is a hands on example of being prepared makes for a good outcome, mom appreciated our concern and happily followed the procedure. 

Here are 10 ways to make sure you are ready for the coming months:
1. Have a policy in place
2. Make sure your rooms are being sanitized regularly
3. Learn to love Lysol. It kills everything! We spray in between sanitizing days
4. Tell parents when it's ok to return or stay home (green runny nose, fever or vomiting within 24 hours, and cover lice in this as well)
5. Post it! Policies are pointless if nobody knows them. 
6. Train it, make sure your staff knows and enforces the policy. It's for their health too!
7. Equip them! Make sure you have gloves, hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap in your rooms. We realize kids get sick when away from home too. If a child is looking a little feverish, we have forehead thermometers on hand to check. In most instances they want mom or dad at this point anyway. If a fever is present, we page parents. 
8. Encourage health, remind your staff that drinking water and a good diet strengthens their system
9. Provide options, while we do not allow children to come sick, we realize some parents are going to come anyway, they can sit in the televised areas with their child, but we do not allow sick kids in the classrooms. 
10. Have backup plans. I would love to say our teachers never get sick, but they do. And this policy counts for them as well, we love them and hope they are there, but if ill we want them to stay home and rest. This time of year, making sure we beef up the on call list helps teachers know they can be absent without leaving anyone in a bind if they are sick. 

I hope you find this useful! Have a happy healthy fall, and enjoy something pumpkin flavored!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Consisent and Balanced Parenting with Sissy Goff and David Thomas



"too much talk, too much emotion" 

Two consistent mistakes parents make in consistency and balance.

Being a Consistent Parent

Start with a yellow light

Give them a choice....and then accelerate the consequences
  • a signal that tells them you better get it under control.
Follow through

Let the consequences (and one liners) do the teaching

Move on and help them to, as well.

Being a Balanced Parent

Balancing support
  • Too much support limits growth
  • Support through questions
Balancing emotions
  • Emotionally charged moments = mistakes 
  •  Time outs aren't just for toddlers

Being a Patient Parent

Be aware of time (start 15 minutes earlier)

Be aware of your expectations of your child
  • Emotional expectations
  • Social expectations
Be aware of your expectations of yourself

Remember that we serve a God who redeems.  All things.  And all mistakes. Even yours.