If a parent asked you, “What are you doing to provide a safe environment for my child?” Do you know what you would tell them?

Most churches would tell that parents that their ministry is safe because they 1) background check every volunteer, and 2) provide a secure check-in procedure with parent security tags. Those are necessities for every ministry. If you’re not already doing those two things, stop what you’re doing and get on the ball. But is that enough?

These facts about sexual abuse suggest that we might ought to do more:

The Victims:

  • 60 million survivors of sexual abuse in the US
  • 1 in 3 females will be sexually abused by age 18
  • 1 in 6 males will be sexually abused by age 18
  • 66% of victims do not report the abuse until adulthood (if ever)

The Abusers

  • Only 10% of sexual abusers ever enter the criminal system. The other 90% will never be found through a background check.
  • Sexual Abusers are rarely strangers. 90% of victims know and trust their abuser.
  • Secure Check-in procedures best protect against psychotic sexual abusers, those that will abduct, or “snatch and run,” with children. The “Psychotic Offender” represents only 4% of sexual abuse.
  • The majority of sexual abuse is done by a “Preferential Offender,” who has a preferred gender and age for victims.
  • 85% of sexual abusers are men. Many of them are “unidentifiable” based upon outward appearance. They look much like others in your church.
  • Average male abuser begins victimizing at age 13 or 14.
  • Prior to being caught and prosecuted, male abusers who choose boys will molest an average of 150 victims. Those who choose girls will molest an average of 52 victims.
*Data provided by

These statistics are scary. Sexual abuse happens in many venues, but the church is becoming a target as other organizations raise their fences to protect children. The church must follow suit. Our background checks and secure check-in procedures are not enough to keep this horror from entering our ministries. We must do more.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some details on the process an abuser goes through to select victims. This information is important because there are tell-tale signs that can help you guard against abuse in your ministry. I will also post some ideas for how to better protect against the sexual abuse.


There have been times when I’ve felt like other people must have more hours in their day than I have in mine. I see the things they accomplish, and I’m honestly jealous. I’ve realized that I waste a lot of valuable time that could be better used to get ahead.

My world has changed a lot in the last couple of weeks, so I’ve begun a massive overhaul of my work routines. I’m hoping to find more space and more hours to get ahead and accomplish more.

Here are some things I’m doing to get ahead (or at least caught up):

1. Updated To Do List

I’ve always kept a To Do list, but I’m making a concentrated effort to categorize the tasks that go on the list. I’ve even setup a color coded system to use. (Thanks Debby Hamilton for the awesome pens!) When I find myself losing time in a week, I can quickly review the To Do list to see what area is taking up the most time. This will help me to rearrange my routine when the season calls for it.

2. Schedule Breaks

I’m a procrastinator and a people-person. In a large office, that’s not a good combination. I tend to spend more time out of my office each day than I do in my office. I’m setting alarms to alert me when a schedule break is available to use. After the break, it’s back to work and the alarm is reset. (I’m searching for a Mac app that will help with this. Any ideas?) Scheduling breaks will keep me focused longer and minimize my self-inflicted interruptions. I’ll still make my social rounds around the office, but less frequently than I did before.

3. Designated Times for Designated Tasks

I pride myself on my ability to multitask. However, I was surprised to learn that multitasking actually makes the worker less productive. While I’m writing, I tend to still check email or answer phone calls. When I’m in a creative planning meeting, I’m still jotting down notes for the writing tasks that I have on my plate. There are times when multitasking will be necessary, but I am minimizing it by creating designated times for designated tasks.

4. Establish New Routines

One of the most damaging effects on my productivity is my inconsistent schedule. Most weeks, my afternoons are meeting-free and great times for writing. This week, however, every afternoon is packed with counseling appointments for an upcoming baptism. I’m working to find the times in my schedule that are consistently open so that I can utilize them for my most important tasks.

How do you get ahead?
Where do you find the “extra hours” in your work that help you to get more done?

I’d love to hear your tips and advice to better help me in this schedule overhaul.

7 Days

The big day is only 7 days away! In case you haven’t heard, we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of our 2nd child, Macy Kate. As we prepare to welcome Macy into our world, I began to think about the ways my life will change.  Here’s what I know so far:

More Life

Our life is fun.More life means more fun, right?

Jerry Seinfeld said it best when he said, “Having a 2-year-old is like having a blender with no lid.” Even in the chaos, we’ve managed to create a semi-normal life in our home. We’ll call it our ecosystem. Now, I’m not a scientist, but I know that it is dangerous to throw a new living thing into an existing ecosystem. That one additional creature totally changes the ecosystem. That’s what we’re doing by bringing home another baby. We have developed routines and habits that will likely be changed by this new life. This new life will take center stage at 2 a.m. just as much as it does at 2 p.m.!  But with new life comes new excitement! I’m looking forward to adding even more life to our already fun and full lives.

More Love

I love my wife more than anything on earth. Maggie is right behind her. And now we get to add Macy to the mix.

As a husband, I’m looking forward to loving my wife and caring for her needs as a mom of 2. As a daddy, I’m looking forward to showing my daughters how much I love their mother and how much I love them. I’m also looking forward to teaching them how to reflect Christ’s love in their world. And in addition to all of that, I’m looking forward to watching love develop between Maggie and Macy as sisters. This is a new love for our house, so it should be exciting to watch it develop.

sharing love with another child and teaching her to love by the way I . I’m excited because we, as parents, will get to show our love for her and teach her to love. But I’m even more excited to watch love play out between her and Maggie as sisters.

Dana & Maggie’m on my way this morning to Nashville for a “Think Tank” with Lifeway Christian Resources. We will be discussing curriculum for children, students, and adults. I’m really excited to be a part of this process.

I have shared and taken ideas from so many of you that read this blog. You write, create, and implement curriculum that is working in your context. As we dream and talk about curriculum at this “Think Tank”, I would love to hear from you about what works, what doesn’t work, and what pieces you would include in your ideal curriculum.

If you’d like your ideas included in this meeting, please leave a comment to one or all of the following questions:

  • What does your dream curriculum look like?
  • What balance of small group and large group to you believe works best?
  • What topics are most important for each age group (preschool, elementary, preteen, student, college, adults)?
  • If you could teach through a book of the Bible to the above age groups, which book would you choose?
  • What is the best way to teach through a book of the Bible (verse-by-verse, chapter summary with key verses, main points/themes of the book, etc)?
  • When looking to purchase curriculum, what is one factor that makes or breaks it for you?
  • Do you prefer curriculum to offer a scripted teaching plan, a teaching outline, or a study guide for teachers to create their own lesson?

Feel free to leave another and all other thoughts that you feel are important to consider!