Whatever Happened to Jack & Jill? - Child Abduction Trends in Churches

By Michael Boutot posted 07-08-2009 10:30 AM


Two church related child abduction stories in two weeks? A man sentenced to 8 years for raping a woman in church? What is going on? Churches and children's ministry security software have made great gains in an attempt to protect children. Is this enough? Should we place our children's security in technology, or are should the volunteers who teach our kids be the primary focus?


In a recent survey of pastors and key church administrators, when asked what they believed to be the most critical exposure relative to church risk management, child safety was by far the number 1 concern, representing over 52%  of the responses for the five categories presented.  So, what is being done to protect our children?(Follow link to see poll results:


Many churches are now beginning to establish what are known as a “Child Safety Policy” program.  This is a great start.  There are many guides that are out there and available to the general public.  But what I have found lacking in most of these programs is a hands-on approach to protection.  What do I mean by that?  Specifically I mean teaching children (and women as well) some simple steps of self-defense. 

It has always been my belief that training is the solution to most problems. The most recent child abduction attempt in a Missouri church was foiled because a volunteer followed protocol and was on the ball, and she was assisted by a computer product. However, do we need to take a more radical approach to child and women's safety? It is my belief all women and children should possess self defense skills and should be given permission to act if someone tries to hurt them.


But some might ask, “How can we talk about this kind of stuff when we are talking about churches?  After all, the church is suppose to be the place we can go to for comfort and solace.”  Yes, this is true, but sadly enough our culture has proven we have produced a weapon of pedophiles that seems to be seeing no end.  And these pedophiles seem to prey on those who appear week and vulnerable.  And churches now are beginning to be prime targets.  That is in part why we are seeing more and more events occurring in churches. 


If you are involved in a local church, please share with the group what steps your church is taking to increase protection for your children. 

Michael Boutot
Executive Director
The Institute for Church Safety & Risk Management