The requirement to be Safe Gatherings certified has, at times, resulted in questions being raised:
“This is a small town; we all know each other and nothing like that would happen here.”
“We have a hard enough time recruiting volunteers. No one will volunteer if we ask them to go through all this.”
“We’re an older congregation. We don’t have any children or youth in our church.”
“Don’t you trust me?”
Listed below are a few reasons to be Safe Gatherings certified:
Increases awareness of appropriate behaviors when working with children, youth and adults from vulnerable populations in a variety of ministerial settings.
Requiring certification is a deterrent to those abusers who are looking for a place to volunteer.
Provides peace of mind for parents of children and youth. Visitors to a church will often visit the nursery facilities before checking out the sanctuary. Trained nursery, children and youth staff may weigh in a family’s decision regarding which church they will attend and participate in ministry opportunities.
Liability insurance providers may require volunteer training as a condition of coverage for the local church.
Offers tools to help prevent abuse of those who are most vulnerable.
Shows that United Methodists are committed to providing the best care possible for the most vulnerable.