Several people continue to ask about the reasoning behind us investing a significant amount of time, effort, and expense to set up a child check-in system at Maranatha.
Take a few minutes and let me remind you of four reasons we are implementing our new check-in system.
1) Attendance: It is one way that we can gather information on who is here or absent each week. This is valuable information for several reasons. It helps us more quickly recognize potential needs in our church families and reach out to them with the love of Christ. It enables us to make a wise decision about the number of volunteers we need to train and schedule for our children’s classes. This information also helps us see trends in growth and prepare for the ministry opportunities that God is leading us towards.
2) Emergencies: Our check-in system also allows us to communicate with parents in the worship center when their child has an emergency. From minor problems like a blown-out diaper to major crises like allergic reactions or injuries, it’s vital to be able to communicate with parents quickly while minimizing distractions. The software allows us to text parents or any adults pre-authorized by the parents when there’s an emergency.
3) Guest Information: Our check-in system helps us gather guest information. Not only vital information on how to care for their child(ren), but also on how we can further connect with them and be active in helping them respond to God’s leading in their lives. It also enables us to respond more personally to our returning guests.
4) Security: I saved the most important for last. As we seek to be an expression of the love of Jesus in our communities, we must take seriously the importance of protecting the children God brings to us.
The statistics related to child abduction and exploitation are alarming, to say the very least. The check-in system provides a tool to help us accurately determine who is approved to pick up the children that have been entrusted to our care.
As children are checked in each week, they receive a name tag that lists any allergies and a unique security code. Their parents receive a tag that has a matching, unique security code. Parents are also given the opportunity to authorize other adults to pick up their child(ren). When the parent or other adult returns to pick up the child, their two tags are compared to make sure that only the authorized adults are allowed to take the child. If the tags don’t match, then our security team and staff are contacted to handle the situation.
But we all know each other?
I know you might be thinking, “Is that really necessary? We all know each other.” The short answer is, “Yes!” Many things could happen, even with the families that we know, that could result in certain people being prohibited from picking up a child. Besides, as we pray that God will continue to bring new people to Christ and to our church, we must be prepared for the many situations that could endanger a child and do all we can to keep them safe.
We have started slowly implementing the check-in service in the nursery area over the last six weeks. It will continue to evolve a little each week as we train volunteers and parents and troubleshoot problems. Eventually, it will expand to the children’s department.
With these thoughts in mind, we would ask you to joyfully and patiently help us through the transition into using our child check-in system. If you have a child or grandchild in the nursery area, let me encourage you to help us train the teachers and those running the kid check computers to always double-check your tag with those of your children. We really do want EVERY child being picked up to have their code checked at least once by the teacher releasing them to you and by the person assisting with the check out on the computers. It may seem tedious (after all, we all know each other and that it is ok), but there are several reasons we want to develop these new habits.
No one gets singled out – It makes guests feel uncomfortable if they must show a tag, but no one else does. They may wonder, “Why did they single me out?” Remember that part of making our guests feel like they are a part of the family is removing any barrier or feeling of awkwardness that might keep them from hearing the gospel.
Guests feel safe – Nothing is more worrisome to parents than giving their kids over to people they don’t know. They feel much better when it’s clear that no one can pick up a child without a matching tag. Guests will love it when it’s evident that security is a high value here at Maranatha.
So please, let’s labor together to develop new habits and systems that communicate the love of Jesus in a very tangible way to the children and families that God brings to Maranatha. It may take some time, but it REALLY IS WORTH IT!
Matthew 18:5-6,10 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea…10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.