New Faces? No Problem!

A church in a transient community goes far to protect the children in its care.

CrossPointe Church in Norman, Oklahoma, is just three miles from the University of Oklahoma. The Norman community is more transient than most since the university is a major employer. Because there are always new faces in the church, additional safeguards are needed to protect the nearly 350 children attending the Sunday education program.

To keep track of this many children, the church uses a computerized system for check-in and check-out. Parents are given a tag that corresponds to their child’s nametag. “The fact that this is a computerized system is becoming an industry standard for working with children,” says Dean Stone, CrossPointe’s Pastor to Children. “When a parent drops off a child, he or she needs to know that the child is indeed checked in and that there is data for any emergency.”

The church’s system prints any special care instructions on the nametag, such as allergy information. The parent’s name is printed on the nametag, too, along with a pager number. “We’ve been pretty pleased with this system, and the parents are pretty impressed,” says Stone.

Attendance is easy to monitor, which is valuable for tracking a family’s involvement. In the end, however, church leadership values the system for its security features. Norman is like many other communities around the country that have families torn apart by spousal conflicts and divorce. Stone sadly admits that, “People put us on guard about a person who may come and try to take a child from the church on Sunday morning.”

Only a parent with the matching ID tag can even enter the church’s Education Center. “There are about half a dozen children out of 350 in attendance on a typical Sunday involved in custody issues,” says Stone. In some cases, orders of protection also govern contact with the non-custodial parent. “It takes just one incident to create a tragic situation,” Stone says. “Prayer and protection go hand-in-hand with children these days.”

John R. Throop is a management consultant, freelance writer, and Episcopal clergyman. This article first appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Your Church magazine.

To learn more about responding to crises at church, purchase the downloadable resource Check-In and Check-Out Procedures, available on

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