By Kathy Bowers, Director of Education and Administration, The Bridge Fellowship, Reading, PA

At The Bridge Fellowship, once a person has attended for six months and wants to volunteer with minors, he or she is asked to complete an application packet, including background checks, and attend mandated reporter training. Once cleared and references checked, an interview is set up. Because Megan’s List is not exhaustive–that is, does not reveal those who have not been caught–volunteers at The Bridge will then go through Child First training where we review our Child First Policy. This Policy was created with guidelines and boundaries in place in the hopes of preventing situations conducive to harming a minor or allowing a volunteer to be falsely accused. Our hope is that if these guidelines are kept to the best of our ability (with reasonable effort) we will never be the vehicle through which a child’s or volunteer’s life is destroyed. Background_Checks_For_Volunteers

In Part 1, I began the story of meeting with a new couple to our church, the husband being a sexual offender. Perhaps you are wondering what happened to him. Well, he and several others are growing in the Lord at our church under the watchful, loving eye of our security team, our pastor and children’s ministry leaders, and me. Sexual offenders attending our church are asked to sign a covenant which lays out boundaries and limitations for them as members of our church. Under these restrictions, and also with an accountability partner to go to when they are having problems or have questions, we have seen them grow in the knowledge of the Lord and enjoy the fellowship of the body of Christ.

If something happens in our churches because we did nothing, because we failed to put every measure possible in place to make our churches safe, because we failed to act… God help us because He will be the only one who can when our negligence leads to the destruction of an innocent child’s life.

If you have questions or need help setting up a Child Protection Policy for your church, feel free to contact me at (Kathy Bowers).

There are also resources available through the BRN to help your church members understand the Child Protection laws. If interested in additional material or if you have specific questions, please contact Tiffany Meeder at .