I linked to this Q&A about volunteer ministries at NewSpring a few days ago, and it warrants a little more attention. In one section, the following question arises:
How do you tell a creepy person that they should not be a greeter?
The answer is to try to get them to smile, and if they can’t, to keep them behind the scenes.
Fair enough, I suppose, but given what they’re asked to do, a little bit of creepy could be an asset.
For background, NewSpring has a policy of keeping children under the sixth grade out of the service. The document makes clear there are at least three levels of security to screen kids out and separate them from their parents.
- It starts in the parking lot. New visitors are greeted and “prepared” for being separated from their children as they are walked towards the church.
Staff members … help redirect children. First time guests with kids are prepared for this by the Greeter in the parking lot.
- “Children’s advocates” inside the lobby are trained to redirect children away from the sanctuary.
First-time greeters are very intentional about if they see a family with a child to go ahead and be talking up the children’s service and how much fun they are going to have. This also lets the parents know that they will not be with them in the service.
Note how the greeters intentionally bypass the parents and appeal directly to the children. If they can convince the kids to come and play games, they recognize that the parents lose the option of making the decision, not that they really had a choice anyway. It would be like taking your kid into Toys R Us and having the staff ignore you and pitch their products only at the children. I’d be so mad.
- Bouncers [their word] constitute the third line of defense in case a crumb cruncher gets too close to Perry Noble.
We have children bouncers that are especially trained for the confrontational conversations.
- If they won’t listen to the bouncers, the entire family has to leave.
And you just have to know that sometimes people leave. The ultimate thing to remember is that God is sovereign.
If you have a problem with this, apparently you’ll need to take it up with God.