The District Advisory Board has tasked all Virginia Nazarene churches with being fully Nazarene Safe compliant by the next annual reporting period.
In an ongoing effort to resources our local churches to provide a safer environment for children, youth and adults, and meet Nazarene requirements, the Virginia District is has developed a team of Nazarene Safe (NS) Resource Coordinators. This team exists to help you navigate through the NS minimum requirements so your church has both a written policy and a viable plan for enacting that policy. NS Resource Coordinators act as a sounding board and provide resource support as churches…
Prepare a written Minor Protection Policy (MPP) for approval by your board
Background check those who serve with minors
Plan periodic training in minor protection issues
Document these steps for church records as well as district reporting
A Message from the Virginia Nazarene Safe Resource Coordinators
Hello! We are here to support you through the Nazarene Safe (NS) process with help like troubleshooting roadblocks, connecting with sample documents, offering tips from other churches, etc. Whether you don’t yet have a Minor Protection Plan (MPP), are struggling to keep up with a current plan, or are just looking for new ideas on training or background checking to support an existing MPP, you don’t have to navigate this process alone! Our team exists to pool the knowledge and experiences from many churches so that your congregation can find a livable approach to reducing risk while blessing families in your unique context. We welcome the opportunity to connect.
Rev. Virginia Pruitt
Rev. Pamm Fontana
Rev. Felicidad Martinez
Envision a Minor Protection Plan
Each church’s MPP is different and revolves around many factors, yet every MPP needs to cover the five components outlined in the Nazarene Safe Guidelines. Here are some MPP examples:
Notable Virginia Nazarene Policy Examples:
Names emotional abuse, disqualifications listed, uniquely phrased supervision procedures
Primary versus secondary workers, age 18+ to be a primary worker, only members and attending over 6 months may serve, photo-badges required, provision for when only one adult worker is available
Provision for when only one adult worker is available, guidelines for paid teen babysitters,
Comprehensive approach with nuances by age group.
Guidelines for youth helpers, also covers adults with cognitive disabilities, appendix of abuse indicators
Other Policy Examples:
Basis of several PDFs above. Editable Word document.
Simple policy, includes tech/media concerns
Mobile church setting, certain minors may be primary leaders, provision for one-time volunteers, abuse training links
Plan a Team Training
Being Nazarene Safe includes providing periodic training in abuse-related topics to those who work with minors. Here are several resources that may be helpful as you plan your training.
American Society for the Positive Care of Children (learn about various forms of abuse) americanspcc.org/indicators-of-child-abuse
Stop It Now (understand warning signs of sexual abuse)
Just Ask Prevention Project (identify patterns of teen trafficking abuse)
Run Background Checks
Being Nazarene Safe includes background checking those who work with minors (in tandem with other methods of getting to know the individual). We have curated several companies to help you pick the company that best supports your particular policy and process.
Questions you may want to ask:
What do different levels of checks include and cost? Typically, a basic background check includes national criminal and sex-offender searches. Additional checks like county or state databases, driving records, etc. may be advised and will increase your cost.
Do you have a subscription fee? Some companies charge a management or security fee.
Do you offer minor protection management with training and re-check reminders? Some churches may find comprehensive services helpful.
Do you have a way to background check a volunteer unable/unwilling to give a social security number? Consider if such an option may be helpful within your church.
Do you have a paperless process? What does it look like? Some companies initiate the check with a paper application while others use email or even text messages. Consider which option(s) will be most useful for your team.
Forms to Support an MPP
Library of forms and checklists from Brotherhood Mutual https://www.brotherhoodmutual.com/resources/safety-library/risk-management-forms/
Sex Offender Policy (this document creates an accountability plan with a known sex offender attending your congregation)
I’m Still Confused or Overwhelmed
The Virginia District Nazarene Safe Resource Coordinators can help you find the best resources for your unique ministry setting. Please reach out! In most cases, we can guide you toward the next step at no charge.
Annual Nazarene Safe Reporting
We need to confirm and certify that all churches (whether organized or not) on the Virginia District are in compliance with the following requirements:
A written Minor Protection Policy (MPP) has been approved and adopted by your church board.
Your church board and lead pastor are actively overseeing the implementation of your MPP.
Required training is conducted and renewed in compliance with your MPP.
Background checks are conducted/renewed for all people associated with ministries involving minors.
Note: As defined by the Commonwealth of VA Code: A minor is anyone under the age of 18.
Please certify the information on the questionnaire and return the signed form with your annual church reports every year.
Required only if you answer “NO” to ANY question on the NS Questionnaire. If you are out of compliance, please implement a “Corrective Action Plan” by April 30, 2023.
Submit your completed NS Questionnaire and Corrective Action Plan form by email to your NS Resource Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.