SERVE LOCAL: Safety Guidelines
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In preparation for your Serve Local event, it is vitally important to develop a set of safety guidelines. You can develop a list of guidelines to be followed by all Serve Local team members or develop guidelines specific to each team. These guidelines should be clearly communicated to all team members. Consider communicating the guidelines in a variety of settings: as members register to serve, during a training session, during a gathering of all team members prior to serving, or when the team assembles at their assigned location of service. Repetition of your safety guidelines will help team members view them as not just suggestions, but expectations to be followed during the entirety of your Serve Local event.
Having a written set of safety guidelines will speak volumes to church members and community residents about the value you place on their safety and security. There is simply too much at stake to be careless. What is at stake?
- The health and safety of team members
- The health and safety of those you will serve
- The witness of your church in your community
- The possibility of future Gospel conversations
Having a defined set of safety guidelines can also assist you in determining which Serve Local activities you can and cannot do. Ask the following questions as you are deciding ways to serve your community and share Jesus:
- Can we serve in this way and maintain social distance?
- Can we serve in this way and avoid close, personal contact?
- What modifications can we make to this activity/event and still practice social distancing?
- What modifications can we make to this activity/event to keep our team and those we serve as safe as possible?
MINISTRY SPECIFIC SUGGESTIONS
Due to COVID, most churches have developed general safety guidelines for church gatherings. You may wish to consider the following suggested guidelines for specific Serve Local ministries.
Guideline Suggestions for Serving Children:
- Teach and practice social distancing as much as possible.
- Avoid close, personal contact as much as possible: hugging, holding, etc.
- Use hand sanitizer regularly. Provide hand sanitizer to children often.
- If the event involves crafts, provide pre-packaged craft supplies for each child. If sharing is required, thoroughly sanitize each item before allowing another child to use.
- If refreshments are provided, do not allow children to serve themselves. Assign a designated team member with that responsibility and require them to wear a facial covering and disposable gloves.
- And, of course, background checks are required for anyone serving children or students.
Fellowship Baptist Church (Huntington) has developed a list of safety guidelines for Children’s Sports Camp. With their permission, we have included their guideline HERE
Guideline Suggestions for Registration: (in-person)
- Team members must wear a facial covering and disposable gloves at all times during the registration process.
- Tables, supplies, and lines should be arranged to meet social distancing guidelines.
- A new, unused pencil should be provided for each person registering with a plastic tray clearly marked for return of the pencil and registration card after registration completed.
- Online registration should be provided when possible.
Guideline Suggestions for Food Preparation/Distribution:
- Team members must wear a facial covering and disposable gloves at all times when preparing or distributing food/drink items.
- Only designated team members can prepare or distribute food/drink items.
- Serve food/drink items to one individual/family at a time while maintaining social distance.
- Lines for food/drink distribution should be clearly marked for social distancing.
The information above is only intended to serve as suggestions and guidelines for your church to develop specific safety guidelines for your Serve Local teams and ministry sites. You know your church and your church better than anyone else.