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 tounderstand 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.
Will your ministry be hosting a Fourth of July celebration this year? You may be planning a spectacular firework show as part of your festivities. Read this post before hosting an event at your ministry.
The National Safety Council has designated June as National Safety Month, so we want to make sure your ministry is doing everything it can to protect its people, property, and programs. Each week in June, we’ll tackle a different topic. Up this week: Emergency Preparedness.
There’s a new scam in town, and ministries and other organizations collecting donations are the primary target. If your ministry collects tithes or donations, you could be targeted by scammers practicing donation overpayment fraud.
Beloved evangelist Billy Graham was called to his heavenly home on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at the age of 99.
For the first time in its 13 years of influenza monitoring, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that every state in the continental U.S. is seeing widespread flu activity. Get tips on how to keep your congregation healthy this flu season.
Snow skiing. Camping. Whitewater rafting. A youth group trip can give students an exciting diversion from their weekly routines, as well as an opportunity to strengthen healthy friendships. Off-site activities may challenge your students to step outside of their comfort zones a bit, but this can bring about a positive result.
If you are in the process of planning a mission trip for your church group, make sure to think carefully about insurance, safety, and security as you hammer out the details. Extra preparation could minimize headaches when your group arrives on the mission field.
Has your church or school ever been asked to loan one of your vans or buses to another? Before you decide to loan your ministry vehicles to another organization, seriously consider the potential risks associated with such a decision.
Completing a personal property inventory of your church or ministry could be one of the wisest activities you can pursue. If disaster strikes and you file an insurance claim, you may need an inventory highlighting damaged items.
Have you thought through potential dangers that may confront your ministry? Taking steps to consider and address these risks provides important protection from injuries, lawsuits, fires, and dozens of other hazards that may affect your ministry, especially your employees and those you serve.
Small businesses—including churches and related ministries—can once again pay premiums for their employees’ health insurance. Previously known as an Employer Payment Plan (EPP) or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), these arrangements violated the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, due to a recently passed law, ministries that are not part of a group health plan now have another option to help employees with health care costs.
Ministries beware: An email scheme, designed to coincide with tax season, asks payroll and human resource professionals to disclose employees’ personal information. Think you wouldn’t fall for such a scam? You might, if the email looks as if it came from someone in your ministry.
Under federal law, most ministers have dual tax status. Dual tax status means a minister is an employee of the church for federal income tax purposes, and self-employed for Social Security and Medicare taxes. Here’s what you need to know.
Lawsuits against churches and ministries are on the rise, making their board members especially vulnerable. Sometimes, courts have found directors and officers personally liable when their actions have resulted in financial damages.
Incorporation takes the weight of responsibility off the shoulders of individuals and instead, places it on the organization. In contrast, a court may find all members of an unincorporated church legally responsible for negligent or criminal actions committed by one church member.
Ministries commonly store a variety of personal information about their members and the people who support them. Mailing lists and donation records may be the most familiar repositories of personal information; however, the average church database is also likely to include Social Security numbers and payment card information. Unsecured, this data could make church members vulnerable to criminals—putting church and ministry members at risk.
Large or small, churches and ministries are often easy prey for would-be thieves, especially as church holidays, like Christmas, approach and weekly offerings increase as more people return to worship and other ministry activities. Ministry leaders can boost their ability to keep thieves away from their contributions and property by taking just a few precautions—not only during the holidays, but also throughout the year.
Churches seldom look more beautiful than when they're decorated for the holidays. Candles, lights, and greenery add splendor to the celebration of Christ's birth. Unfortunately, they also contribute to a number of fires each December. As you haul out the decorations, remember to balance beauty with safety.
Having a hard time finding people to serve in the church nursery? Do new volunteers stop serving, shortly after they begin? There could be a number of reasons for that.
Do you remember the last time you caught the flu? You probably sneezed and coughed and ached all over, resting your stuffy head by a box of tissues and wishing you had the energy to do more than lie there. Well, it’s time to watch out. The flu virus is preparing to pounce again.