Reasons to certify
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.