1. Five must-do's to keep kids safe. "[W]hen screening either paid employees or volunteer workers, a church should (1) use a written application; (2) do reference checks; (3) conduct criminal records checks, including a sex offender registry search of all 50 states (NSOPW.gov); (4) interview the volunteer; and (5) provide training. To our knowledge, no church that has done these things has been found liable of negligent selection" (Excerpted from Draw the Line: Relational Boundaries for Safe Youth Ministry, by the editors and advisors of Christianity Today's Church Law & Tax Team). Get more help with reference checks through the Feature Article in the March/April 2015 issue of Church Law & Tax Report.
2. Can boomers fill your church's part-time needs? "[P]art-time employment is an increasingly viable option for baby boomers who want to reduce their workload and still bring home a paycheck. Gallup finds that one in 10 baby boomers are employed part time—a percentage that could increase if employers can find the right mix of incentives and responsibilities to keep these workers close" ("Part-Time Work Can Benefit Baby Boomers and Their Employers," by Brandon Rigoni and Amy Adkins, Gallup.com).
3. Four tips for safer Internet use at your church. Mashable offers these tips for safer Internet use. Keep this list handy around the church office:
- "Use two-factor authentication. [U]sers have to provide, in addition to a typical password, a one-time code when using a log-in service. In most cases, the code is sent to your phone—in a text message, for example.
- Update browsers and devices. Browsers, operating systems, and mobile devices often need updates. … Many times, updates are intended to patch just-now-discovered security problems.
- Use unique passwords and a password manager. For each login, each website, each service, [use] unique passwords … There are a number of good password management services … that can generate and store login information in a virtual vault.
- Use HTTPS websites. HTTPS works to bidirectionally encrypt information sent between you and a website's servers" ("5 super easy for better online security on Safer Internet Day," by Rex Santus, mashable.com).
4. Invite constructive critical thinking. "People often censor themselves when working in groups because they don't want to be punished for voicing an opinion that differs from everyone else's. Leaders sometimes even promote this self-censorship by expressing their own views early on. … Try not to take a firm position at the outset to make space for more discussion and debate. And encourage critical thinking as soon as your group comes together so members will be more willing to contribute and less likely to keep silent" ("Don't Let a Group Dynamic Quash Critical Thinking," by Cass R. Sunstein and Reid Hastie, hbr.org).
5. Use your hands to improve what you say. "Since gesture is integrally linked to speech, gesturing as we talk can actually power up our thinking. … Experiment with this and you'll find that the physical act of gesturing helps you form clearer thoughts and speak in tighter sentences with more declarative language" ("10 Powerful Body Language Tips," by Carol Kinsey Goman, amanet.org).
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