Protect the Children in Your Church’s Small Groups
Protect the Children in Your Church’s Small Groups
How churches can help prevent child abuse in the context of a small-group gathering.

Many churches encourage small-group participation, and pastors or other staff provide resources for these groups, but there often is very little oversight by church leadership.

How can the church and the small group best protect the children in their care? What happens if an incident of child abuse occurs in the home of a church member during a small-group function? Who is liable?

Handling childcare for small groups

One important consideration is how to provide childcare in a small-group setting. Of course, you can make it an “adults only” meeting, which would require parents to find their own childcare for the evening. However, some small groups would find this option untenable, especially if the host and most attendees have children.

Another often used option is to have a volunteer, perhaps a teen, supervise the children in another room of the host home. If the church sponsors the small group as part of its ministry (providing leadership, curriculum, and structure), this presents a serious liability to the church and the host, as well as a significant risk to the children attending.

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Posted: October 25, 2019

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