August 10, 2016
Because cell phone use and texting are preferred methods of communication among young people today, they need to understand the hurt that they can cause themselves and others by sending or receiving inappropriate messages. This is especially true when messages include sexually explicit images.
How to Handle an Inappropriate Text
Inappropriate text messages, including sexually suggestive communication, insensitive remarks, or bullying, should be immediately addressed. Depending on the situation, you may best handle inappropriate teen-to-teen texting by confronting the offending individual and explaining the harmful nature of the text. If a youth worker generates an inappropriate text, investigate immediately. An accused worker also may need to be removed from his or her position—temporarily or permanently.
Once texting turns into “sexting,” the stakes get much higher. Legislation addressing sexting varies from state to state, so ministries should consult a local attorney to determine the law in their jurisdiction. Teens need to understand that sexting is not only emotionally damaging, but also that under some state laws, young people could be charged with a sex crime for transmitting sexually suggestive photos.
Protect Yourself and Your Ministry
Before texting or emailing students, ask parents to give you written permission to communicate electronically with their children, and teach ministry staff and volunteers what is illegal in your state when it comes to texting. Encourage youth workers to send most texts or emails in bulk to the whole youth group, rather than to individuals. This helps eliminate problems associated with one-on-one electronic communication.
Finally, develop a policy that states your ministry’s position on using electronic forms of communication within your youth ministry, including when young people can and cannot use their cell phones. Generally, such policies work best when they do not allow cell phone use in any form during official church youth functions. This not only helps avoid distractions, but also protects the church from a charge of negligent supervision, should a youth send an inappropriate or even illegal text message during the meeting.
Cyber security is increasingly crucial in our technologically advanced world. Scammers use many schemes when attempting to steal your data, but you can outsmart them by understanding their methods.
Most ministry leaders don’t realize there is funding available to non-profit employers including churches, schools, colleges, and camps. This post includes some highlights about the credit and guidance on where to start to see if your ministry is eligible.
If your church is anything like mine, Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a big deal. Not just because it is central to our ministry’s outreach to young families, but because of the important role that VBS plays in the spiritual formation of children.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Though child abuse may not be something you could ever imagine happening within your ministry, sexual abuse of a minor is one of the top five reasons churches end up in court, according to Church Law & Tax. Studies also show that a child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a trusted adult than a stranger.
When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.
Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.
As the Director of Ministry Safety for our agency, I am dedicated to finding ways to help safeguard ministries like yours.
As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes soars. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.
On behalf of our agency, I recently participated in one such training which focused on strategies and tactics for responding as a single officer to an active safety threat in a school building.
If you’re anything like me (and maybe the rest of the world for that matter), you’re grateful to put the craziness of the past year behind us.
Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.
A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.
Organizations that obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the CARES Act can have their loans forgiven, turning them into grants. To qualify, each borrower must file a forgiveness application with its PPP lender, proving that it followed the rules. If your church, school, college, or camp meets all the criteria, 100% of its loan can be forgiven.
Ministries are creatively scrambling to continue their operations and safely engage their congregations with an array of online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, hackers are ready to take advantage of the confusion with scams designed to steal valuable data or siphon funds from your ministry.
Learn about the CARES Act and two loans for which ministries may be eligible, since Congress authorized additional funding April 23.
As concern over the dangers associated with the spread of a new coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads, our agency and Brotherhood Mutual want to keep you informed and provide best practices for managing the spread of this and similar illnesses at your ministry.
The first Sunday in February is a big day for sports fans. In fact, many Americans view Super Bowl Sunday as a national holiday. Friends and families will gather this year to watch the big game, enjoy delicious snacks, and of course, critique the commercials that go along with game day.
Recently, we learned about two major overseas incidents involving pastors on mission trips. The first incident involved a pastor being hit by a motorcycle while running. The second was a bus accident involving two pastors. The runner and one of the two bus passengers sustained extensive injuries.
If your ministry buildings were damaged as a result of these tornadoes, or if you plan on sending ministry volunteers out to assist with disaster recovery, be mindful of the dangers involved.
Last month, the IRS announced that its initiating hundreds of church exams to test compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many provisions only apply to churches with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), even smaller churches could potentially violate provisions applicable to health benefit plans with as few as 2 plan participants.