Every Church Should Be A Small Villiage – It Takes Many Villages to Save The American Family

 Every church should become a learning center. Every church should have an after-school center. Parents who cannot afford private schools and cannot gamble on the roll of the dice for Charter schools, should not have to suffer the agnoy of watching children fail. Parents must learn to take their children’s school problems to the church. The church must step in and fill the gap. Children should learn that where there is a church building there is someone inside who will help them with school work. They should be able to walk off the streets with pencil and paper in hand and say, “I need help.” Some one from the congregation should step forward and say, “Let me help.” It takes a whole village to raise a child and the village should meet in the church. Give your time and your talent to help America’s children. If you do not have time, sponsor a child.  If you cannot work let your money work it is still doing God’s work. This is a Christian faith program. Your child will be exposed to Christian family values and will be expected to live out these values in his or her daily life.

          Every church should become a learning center. Every church should have an after-school center. If the schools cannot or will not educate the children’ then the church must. It is time to mix some STEM knowledge with Christ theology. Jesus could do math and science and He did not speak in tongues.

Historical Black Churches were all learning Universities. The Africa American became the wealthiest most educated peoples of color on earth because they used the church to solve the problems of America. The church was the sacred house of learning where God’s work was caried out and God’s kingdom was being manifested. Today, traditional churches are empty, because they lost the purpose and the message and resorted to teaching and preaching about a European God and a hopeless message of sin and failure. Time to get back on point and on message- forget all the sin and satan scripts- and preach the living Christ, and teach  kids to read, write and know science principles with divine understanding.

Churches that meet the present day needs of its members usually do not have time to focus on gossip or toxic relationships in the church. It is time to get the “dumb” out of the church and put some God principles of equality of man kind. Drop the hatreds of the Christianty  of the past, which gave us the KKK and the Nazis and bring forth a new christianity- one that loves God and loves his neighbor – and works hard to get all men into the knigdom of God. Christians must learn to live up to the Christianity of Christ – the world likes our Christianity- but does not like our Christians. Make the word and the people one spirit. In the process of helping one another to learn- we  too can re-learn the meaning of Christianity – where the word is not spoken but lived.

Members can come together around the issue of saving the children.

The church should plan to take up a separate offering for a few weeks before starting the program. This will provide the resources needed to get the program started. Some churches are to small to support a program on its own, therefore, churches should consider partnering with other churches and share staff and resources. There should always be a fee charged to the parents for the service.

This will make it possible for the church to hire qualified staff. Members in the church can also sponsor families, which may not be able to afford the program. If you take government funds, you must follow the additional guidelines required by the government. With government funds, you will not be able to exclude youth with problematic behaviors. Seek private funding if possible. The public schools are government institutions, if they are not successful in educating the children, then you should be concerned with their involvement in your church’s program.

This is not the place for individuals who have made changes in their lives. There are other areas in the church where they can work. Do not hire or permit individuals with changed lives, to work as volunteers.

Review your church’s insurance coverage. It may be necessary to increase your coverage for out reach programs. Make sure your policy covers trips away from the church. Church members may want to operate the programs, however, if problems occur or an accident happens, the qualification of the personnel may play a significant role in any event. People do sue churches. A church is a corporation. It is a business, it is God’s business, but people run it. Protect your church with the proper coverage. God will not do it. The pastor and the Board of Directors must secure the coverage.

Math, science and technology programs require individuals with demonstrated competencies in these areas. Try to hire individuals with different skill areas. Staff members who have a background in the art and music field can be very helpful. If you hire a certified teacher, these individuals will have the broad skills necessary to make a successful program. They may cost more; the high salary cost will pay off in the end.

Planning is very important. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. All planning records must be submitted to the pastor and the board for approval. After the program has been approved. The pastor should submit the program to the legal counsel of the church for overview. It is the responsibility of the lawyer to protect the church. People do sue for mistakes. Your kindness may cost the church a great deal of money. Children must be taught how to act and behave in religious buildings. They must be taught how to act in the Nave or Sanctuary.

Children should never be permitted to go into any part of the church without supervision. The Nave or Sanctuary can be used for classes; however, many pastors and congregations are reluctant to permit individuals to use the pulpit. This decision is up to the pastor. I suggest that the pulpit be considered sacred, and used only on special occasions, and only with the permission of the pastor. Social halls and other areas of the church would be a better location, but some churches are very small and must use what they have. . Children should never be permitted to go into any part of the church without supervision. The Nave or Sanctuary can be used for classes; however, many pastors and congregations are reluctant to permit individuals to use the pulpit. This decision is up to the pastor. I suggest that the pulpit be considered sacred, and used only on special occasions, and only with the permission of the pastor.

Christian churches must become more actively involved in the education of its members the same as Muslim and Jewish institutions. Churches have a vested interest in local school systems. If the schools fail, members of the congregation will transfer their membership to neighborhood and churches in other locations. This will directly affect the bottom line of church operations. Churches with active program ministries focus less time on conflict issues such as music and sermon delivery. The program encourages the use of seminary students and college students working in the education and medical field. This will provide a valuable source of staff that could contribute significantly to the program.

 

Getting Started

Plan a meeting with the church council and governing board of the church, and secure the permission, in writing, to start outreach programs. Decide who will be the religious leader responsible for the supervision of the program. Decide how much money the church can commit to the beginning operation of the program. Decide who can and cannot work in the program. Individuals with past records of legal concern will not be able to work in the program. This is important. God forgive;, society does not. This is not the place to debate the issue.

The Church must make a compromise between state requirements, and the requirements of their denomination, if any. It is better to lean in the direction of state requirements, it will be easier to get the program approved, and the insurance guidelines will be satisfied. If you plan to teach academic subjects, teach academic subjects, and have a different religious person come in and provide religious instructions. You cannot discriminate with respect to race, class, ethnicity, gender or national origin. New programs should not be offered to students with behavior challenges, or challenging health needs. This requires the qualification of professionals with specific skills. This could add significantly to your cost factor. This population can be included, after some record of success and experience.

The Board of directors will decide the when, where, how, what and who of the operations. Some churches are reluctant to start these much needed outreach program because of the legal requirements involved. If you do not want to have a partnership with the government, do not get into the church business. The church and all faith centers are indirect arms of the government, with the purpose of being the eyes and ears of the government concerning the needs of the people, the church is one of the first lines of survival and defense in life tragedies. This is the reason for the tax exempt status; churches should have resources and knowledge of resources for feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, comforting the oppressed and depressed, and these resources can and will come from the government.

The government will provide the church with the resources and information to help people, the government, however, requires that the church assume proper stewardship over these resources. It is important to understand any and all programs dealing with children or senior citizens will be carefully monitored by the state, it is strongly recommended that each church and pastor hire a certified teacher to supervise the program. The certified teachers will have all the legal requirements for operating a program and working with children, this will relieve the stress on the pastor in handling the paper work required when working with children. This is important because many Caribbean, African, Asian and Latino churches start churches without the understanding of the strict rules and involvement of the government in religious operations. The culture, law and codes of the country determines what can and cannot go on in churches, therefore, it is important to hire someone who understands the laws and the culture of the country.

There is separation between church and state where family laws and children are concerned. The state sets the laws on who can and cannot work with children, and what can and cannot be taught to children, this is difficult for some people who want to live in America but do not agree with her laws and traditions. Children may be baptized, blessed, confirmed an any religious tradition or faith, there may not practice any physical rites on children regardless of cultural traditions, schools or neighbors may report any physical rites on a child, and the church will be shut down, the child removed from the home, and criminal offenses could occur. This information is important because it relates to children who are citizens, non- citizens, legal or illegal in the country.

When:

When will the programs planning start? When will the marketing start? When will the interviewing and hiring of staff start? When will financial arrangements be made? When will contract for staff be made and signed? When will the deadline for turning in all papers and credentials for employment? When will staff orientation start?

Where:

Where will be the exact location of the program? Where will the children meet? Where will the staff meet, during and after work hours? Where are the children permitted to go? Where are the emergency and fire exits located? Where is this information posted? Where will the records for the fire department and state be located? Where will the administrative offices be located? Where will the personal and confidential files of all staff members and children are located?

How:

How will money be obtained to start the program? How will the church attract children to the program? How will the staff be obtained? How will the staff’s qualification be verified? How will the location of the program be arranged? How will the parents pay for the service? How will the staff be paid for their service? How will materials and supplies be brought into the church? How will the decision be made with respect to what can and cannot be used or taught in the church center program? If you hire a professional, he or she will handle all of these concerns. If you do not hire professional, then church meetings, conflicts and concerns will be used to make the decisions.

What:

What type of program does the church want?

  1. After-school program with homework assistance
  2. Math, Science and Technology program
  3. College preparatory and college assistance program for adults and older youth
  4. Rites of Passage programs for the spiritual, social and emotional development of young people
  5. Inter generational programs serving senior citizens and young children working together

 

Who:

Who will be the individuals responsible for these program operations? The pastor should have a ministry support team available to assume the leadership and spiritual oversee of the programs. It is strongly advised that professional staff be hired to operate the program. Individuals with state certification in the education field will be able to operate the programs. Social workers will also be able to operate the programs. Nurses should also be able to operate the program. Individuals who have had some training in understanding the complexities of human behavior, and how to handle crisis situations should be considered for hiring.

Records:

Records are very important in America. The church must protect itself; therefore, it is necessary to require weekly reports to be submitted to the church. Log records should be kept of any and all daily activity in the church. This means any and all who enter and leave the church and the intended purpose of any trip.

There should be a sign in- and sign out sheet for all individuals using the church facilities. A special security person should be on the doors to handle this area. During the time the children are in the church, there should be an assigned entrance for the children and their parents. It is advised that churches print up identification cards for the children in the program. This identification should be around the neck and visible at all times when the child is in the building. Visitors should be discouraged from coming into the church to wait on other children. The church should know at all times who is in the building. It may be helpful to have a security camera to record the activity of individuals using church property. The tapes from the security camera should be kept on file in the church office. The pastor should regularly review the camera and the tapes to see that the activities in the church are being conducted with the religious intent of the church and its mission. Churches of the 21st century are very different today. Churches must be in a position to protect itself. It has a legal responsibility to do so. Pastors have an added responsibility of knowing what is going on in the church, and how best to address the needs of the church.

The pastor or his/her representative should view these logs daily. All records relating to staff should be kept in locked files. Computer files are the property of the church, and Internet use should be made under supervision. The state can and does come in frequently to look at files. They are very concerned with written and up to date records. One individual should be hired to maintain and record all records. Any and all events taking place in the church should be reported to the pastor, in person and in writing. In the event of an emergency,[1] call the pastor first, and then upon instructions notify local authorities. In health emergencies, call 911/ notify pastor and get instructions. Permission forms for emergency care for children should be on file for each child. Medicals and medical histories should be available for each child. Staff cannot handle children with challenging behavior needs and secure the safety of other children. Plan fire drills, and have a record of all fire drills.

Fire Drills

Fire drills are important. Have one every three months. Keep written record of all drills. Children must be trained to respond quickly to supervisor and drill instructions. Staff and children must know where to go and wait in the event of an emergency. These drills must be taken seriously. Children, who do not take drills seriously, should be dismissed from the program. Parents will hold the church accountable for any accidents. If you cannot control a child, dismiss him or her from the program. Many churches are reluctant to have out reach or after-school programs because they are concerned with legal problems and responsibility. Churches can reduce their liability chances, by carefully selecting the children who participate in the program. It is better to say no to a parent of a child with challenging behavior needs, than to meet that parent in court over a legal battle. The parent will say, if the church did not have the professional staff to handle the child, then why did they register the child and permit him or her to participate in the program? Children with challenging behavior needs should be recommended to other programs in the community with the staff and resources to address the needs of the child and his parents. Do not bring high needs children into new programs.

Food

If the decision is made to serve food or snacks, careful record of preparation and sanitary codes must be on file. Avoid serving products with nuts, many children have allergies, there should be records of these allergies on file.

Safety and Security;

         Do not place anyone in a position working with children who has had a substance abuse problem.

Do not place anyone in a position working with children, who cannot pass an FBI background check.

It is the law; any person working with children is obligated to attend Child Abuse Identification and Reporting class. A record of attendance must be on file in the church. All individuals working with young children are required to report to a supervisor any suspicion of child abuse.

         All young children must be in the presence of female workers at all times. Male workers can be hired, but there must always be a female presence when working with young children. This female can and should be a member of the church who volunteers to be on service for the church. Senior citizens would be an excellent volunteer source for this position.

         Do not place individuals who have to do community service[2] in programs working with children. They can work in clerical, maintenance or security staff, but not directly involved with children.

 

Security:

 

Security is a very important issue. There should be a list of who enters and leaves the building. All individuals entering the building should have identification. There should be a sign in, and sign out list, listing the intended destination. Visitors should not be permitted in children’s area. Parents must give written permission for their children to be picked up by anyone other than themselves.

The church should reserve the right to dismiss any youth who becomes abusive. The safety and security of all individuals suggest that pastors and program directors pay careful attention to individuals permitted to participate in the programs. It is suggested that the pastor, and the director of the program have an interview with each individual considering applying for the program. If in the judgment of the pastor, this individual could benefit from pastoral counseling rather than program participation, then the pastor should suggests further meeting with the individual and his or her family.

Forcing Youth To Take Part In Programs

               Do not accept into the program any individual who does not want to be involved in the program, but is being forced by parents or legal authorities. These individuals can and usually do cause conflicts in the program. Conflict community issues should not be handled in church programs. They should be handled in pastoral counseling sessions. Problematic family issues should also be handled in pastoral counseling sessions. Youth programs are not the place to settle turf wars or gang disputes. If parents think that there is conflict in church programs, they will take their children out.

Troubled Youth

Pastors should not permit programs to be therapy sessions for troubled youth. This will destroy the program, and make it impossible for the church to reach the greatest number of people for God. The staff of the programs does not have the skills to work with troubled youth. The pastor should help the youth and his family handles the trouble, and if and when the pastor feels a youth can benefit from the programs, should the youth be registered. The Church is supposed to be the place where troubled families and troubled you can come. This is a pasturing counseling role. Pastors should scheduled regular sessions with the family to identify the areas of concerns and see how the church can be of help in handling crisis. The pastor should under no circumstances place this responsibility on a youth program or a youth program worker, and just throw the youth in one of the several programs operated by the church. The youth programs should not be the means by which family problems are solved, but a support for young people and their families to continue their Christian walk.

The pastor should solve the problem first. If additional professional support services are needed, the pastor should refer youth and families to these services. Parents of the other children in the program will withdraw youth from programs is disruptive youth are permitted to destroy programs, or act out conflict problems on other children. Pastors often bring in the destruction of their programs unintentionally by passing on their own obligation to another untrained individual.

After school program teachers are not counselors, and by law they are not intended to be, so unless the church has the budget to hire a trained psychologist or health care professional the pastor should avoid including high need youth or people in their programs. The discussions of the role of the church, the role of ministry, and our responsibility to troubled youth and families, should be left to prayer session groups. If the church is to be the village that raises the children, then the village will have to have a set of rules and behaviors for all of the inhabitants and those who are not willing or able to accept the rules of behavior, must, unfortunately be excluded from the village.

The church should not be afraid to separate individuals from the village- whose intent and purpose is to destroy the village and its inhabitants. A church is a hospital for sinners and of recent – the emotionally disturbed – the hospital needs a place for the emotionally and spiritually ill to recover before integrating into the whole body of the church. Some times a pastor makes the mistake of turning the entire church into a hospital, and those who are well in Christ are reluctant to attend. It is the pastor’s role to care for the entire church addressing the individual and collective needs of the congregation. The after school program is a social justice program, addressing the needs of families and youth struggling in the academic environment. The village is dedicated to helping young people prepare for and get into college, and to provide the academic support they will need to finish their work and have productive families of their own. Our values come from African, Native American, European, Asian and Latin American traditions, and all these traditions stress the love of God and the love of family.

All youth using the building should have security passes. The police department should be notified of the development of a new church program for youth. Many police officers would be willing to volunteer, or hired as a staff member.

 

Staff Selection:

Try to select strong men with teaching credentials. Children respond well to tall strong men. There are men returning from military service who would make excellent youth church workers. It is also an opportunity to get them into the church. If they feel that the church needs them, and they can contribute to the churches work, many will be happy to serve. It is important for a female to be included in all programs with children. Churches should not discriminate with respect to gender or sexual orientation; this however is not the place to hire a teacher who does not have traditional life styles and values. Staff and volunteers are not permitted by law to discuss sexual issues with children even with the consent of the parent. Stay away from the topic; it is for medical and professional health care workers to handle. Parents will sue a church if this warning is not observed, regardless how friendly and religious they appear.

 

Multi cultural and Multi racial staff.

There are individuals from other cultures and religions who could add dimension to your program. Try to select a staff that looks like America and it’s diversity. A religious centered program works very well. When children are taught to respect all religions, it tends to make them strong in their own traditional religion. The pastor should have the responsibility of religious education, and he or she should visit frequently to provide any needed instructions.

 

Hire the best, and pay the best you can afford. You get what you pay for.

 

 

 

 

[1] In the event of an emergency, notify the pastor. If a child must receive emergency care, the teacher, or assistant director must go with the child to the hospital, and stay with the child until the parent arrives. The benefit of hiring a certified teacher is that the teacher has the legal responsibility to act in the position of the parent when the parent is not present. The teacher and or the assistant director always carry a copy of the emergency permission form when the group is away from the church. The church also has a copy of emergency procedures. It is important that the staff be trained to know what are the emergency procedures, and what are the steps of command in the event of an emergency. The pastor must know at all times what is going on in the church and the church’s programs. The administrative staff of the program: the director, assistant director and field representative, have the authority and responsibility to act for the pastor and the church.

[2] Courts like to assign offenders to church and youth programs. If your church is receiving government funds, you may have to comply. Refuse if possible to accept probationary individuals into programs working with children. These individuals can work in other areas of the church, or could be assigned to a sister church with programs not involving children. The NO you say could save your program, and prevent the destruction of your church’s program. Many programs fail because they did not know how to refuse to accept individuals into their programs for which they did not have the qualifications to assist. The government is not interested in the success of your program, or the changing and saving of children’s future and lives. They are interested in compliance in program service to all people.

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