Let’s talk about records. Not ones you set for shaking hands or stuffing straws in your mouth (although I’m sure some of your preteens would like to try setting some of those). And not those large round musical things I listened to before CDs. (Yes, I’m that old.) I’m talking about data and information and forms.
I’ve just returned from talking to leaders in South Carolina, and one of the conference topics we discussed was safety and security. Now, I must be honest – that’s not my favorite topic to lead. I enjoy talking about fun activities and helping kids discover Bible truths and so forth. Safety and security doesn’t ramp up my fun level much. But it’s so important. If kids aren’t safe and secure in our ministries, then our learning environments and teaching plans are useless. Forms and records are an important part of creating a safe and secure environment.
What kinds of basic forms are needed in a kids ministry?
Registration forms – You must have some way to get information about families who come to your church for the first time or who come to kids ministry events. You cannot communicate with families without knowing things like their names and contact info. A simple paper or electronic form is essential to capture names of parents and kids, address, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, allergies, and so forth. You may also want to have an info sheet that all your kids (or parents) fill out with likes and dislikes, school info, favorites, and so forth. This information can help you know your kids and families better.
Leader application and screening – To have a safe environment, churches are screening adults who work with kids, running background checks and talking to previous churches or references. Forms to accomplish this vital task in your ministry are a must. Our Web site has sample forms and basic information about screening. Here are some sample forms for leaders: Volunteer Worker Application; Criminal Record Release
Care forms – You may also have some forms to help teachers care for children. Baby information cards (for meeting infants’ needs), accident forms (to record when minor injuries occur), and medical release forms and permission slips (when you take kids away from the church) are all basics that many kids ministries use.
Sign-in/Sign-out forms – Keeping track of the kids’ coming and going in your ministry is very important. Sign-in and sign-out forms give parents and teachers an easy way to do this. (And, yes, using computers and electronic systems can be considered "forms" in a different medium.)
While these types of forms and records may not be a flashy part of your kids ministry, they are essential. Keeping kids safe, keeping leaders safe, and keeping your church safe can be connected to keeping track of information and policies.
Some related links:
- Safety and Legal Issues
- Screening Procedures for Childhood Ministry
- How to Protect Your Church
- Evaluating Safety
- The book Kids Ministry 101 also has great information about safety, security, and other administrative issues.
What kinds of forms and records do you regularly use in your kids ministry?