The church is not immune to the potential for abuse or neglect of children.

Eight Ways to Protect Children in Your Church

by Lenny La Guardia
6/15/18 Training and Events

As ministry leaders, we face many challenges when recruiting and mobilizing staff and volunteers. One of those challenges is to make sure we appropriately screen our ministry team members. Research tells us that each year, children are victimized by individuals they know and trust. So, more than ever, we need established policies and protocols to ensure the safety of our children.

The church is not immune to the potential for abuse or neglect of children. Everyone who participates in church-sponsored activities with children should be required to comply with a Child, Youth and Worker Protection Policy. The church should also communicate this policy publicly.

The following eight steps can help you when establishing such a policy (For a sample of our Child, Youth and Worker Protection Policy, contact me at These steps are the beginning of our program’s policy:

Step One: All Children’s Equipping Center staff must complete a thorough screening process.

Step Two: All applicants are required to attend an on-ramp orientation class. This class should provide training in all policies, procedures, and protocols, along with an understanding of the ministry’s vision, values, and program practices.

Step Three: All applicants will then complete a ministry application. This gives the staff permission to review the applicant’s history and run a local, national, and international background check, which will then be reviewed by the director of children’s ministry and the screening/deployment team. This will include vetting the applicant with public registries of state, national, and international sex offenders.

Step Four: Applicants who are cleared and who have passed all background checks are interviewed by senior-level deployment directors only. Prior to or just after the interview process, a director will also review and contact all references listed by the applicant.

Step Five: If an applicant is approved to continue in the process of being deployed, the applicant’s name should be vetted through other senior-level directors and leaders within the church.

Step Six: Finally, the applicant’s information will be reviewed by deployment directors, who will go over the application, background checks, interview responses, and reference responses, as well as all internal review processes.

Step Seven: This senior team will make a final decision to approve or deny the individual’s placement.

Step Eight: If approved, the applicant will be deployed to a department director for observation and assignment.

This vetting process may seem extensive, but our entire staff should represent Christ well. As we draw children into the presence and power of the Lord, my prayer is that He will give us wisdom when mobilizing and releasing staff.

What step(s) can you take to protect children in your church/ministry?

Reprinted with permission from Ministry Today, May-June 2018. Copyright Charisma Media, USA. All rights reserved.

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Lenny La Guardia


  • Vice President of Ministries, IHOPKC
  • Executive Director, Children's Equipping Center, IHOPKC

For over three decades, Lenny and Tracy La Guardia have devoted their lives locally and internationally to equipping, empowering, and mobilizing young people, parents, and leaders with biblical truths and relevant strategies for ministering to children and youth today. Lenny and Tracy are the executive directors of the Children’s Equipping Center (CEC) at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, where they lead a missionary staff that equips children from all over the world. Currently, the CEC provides over 130 hours a week of children’s services. Lenny also serves as the senior vice president of IHOPKC’s Ministries and Justice Divisions, giving oversight to vital ministries that mobilize the values and priorities of the IHOPKC Missions Base in Kansas City and abroad. Lenny started the Grandview, Missouri, Police Chaplains in 2007 and currently serves as a police chaplain. Lenny and Tracy have been married for 38 years and have five children: Leonard, Leatha, Andrea, Adrienne, and Shontavion.

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