Student Ministry Policy and Procedure Handbook Acknowledgement

By signing my name here I acknowledge that I have read and understand Christ The Rock’s Student Ministry Policies outlined below.*
*

Please Note: You should print a copy of these policies and familiarize yourself with it as there are procedural instructions you are expected to follow below.

General Expectations for All Volunteers

God’s desire is for a personal relationship with you.

God is concerned about the work He is doing in you and then he invites you to join with Him in the work He is doing through you. It is an absolute necessity, as a volunteer, that you are being changed by God to become more like Jesus. That is His ultimate desire for your life – to have an intimate love relationship with you in which you become more like Jesus. We encourage you to have an active devotional life that includes prayer, worship, bible study, & fellowship.

You are part of a body of believers.

Just as Student Ministries is a part of Christ the Rock, you are a part of the church. God not only has a purpose for you as a leader of students, but as a part of this church body. More than anything, we want you to be “plugged in.” That means that you attend services here regularly and develop life giving relationships with other believers that equip you to serve. Our ultimate hope is that you would pursue membership at CTR because in doing so you are making a statement of commitment to this group of believers.

You are a part of a ministry team.

You offer a uniqueness as a volunteer that plays an important role in student ministries, but you are part of a team. This team is changing, growing, maturing, and building every week. In order for this team to function well, we need you to share in our vision and direction.

Your presence is critical.

Each week we gather, you are needed. Whether they say it or not, your absence from a ministry event is disappointing to students and your ministry partners. Volunteering at the Wed night program is a weekly commitment for at least the full school year, September—May starting with the leaders meeting at 6:00 pm as well as occasional training sessions. Communicate any conflicts of schedule to a staff person well in advance, if possible.

Your primary concern is the students.

When you come to a ministry night, come prepared. Pray for the ministry and students throughout the week. Come seeking to build stronger relationships with students. Concentrate your time and energy on students rather than other volunteers.

Ministry events are not the end of your ministry work.

We ask each volunteer to commit to attending or supporting at least one outreach event per year (e.g., IceBlast, Destination Unknown, Mission Trips).

Your lifestyle is an example and model of Jesus to others.

Students need positive role models for living out their Christian faith. Volunteers are committed to choices and a lifestyle that are both Godly and “above reproach.” See Policies section for more details.

You must be committed to the common direction of the ministry.

There will be things that fall outside of what has been mentioned here. It might be a request for volunteers to read a book, to help with ministry tasks, or attend training days, retreats God has given you and all of us an incredible opportunity to serve Him, but that opportunity means high stakes and a lot of work. Please have an attitude that strives to go with us in this journey. Do your best to commit to the work that God is doing here and share in this labor together.

General Policies

This section outlines guidelines which are important for all student ministry volunteers to follow in order to protect both you and your students. Should a question arise that is not covered in this section please let us know immediately so we can address the concern and allow you to serve with confidence!

Abuse.

If you detect any sign of abuse or hear of any abuse, whether directly or indirectly, immediately inform the Care/Pastoral Team. Failure to do so could result in criminal prosecution! It is not necessary for a student who is under 18 to report the abuse to you before you can report signs of abuse or if you have good reason to suspect abuse. See the section titled, “Reporting a Student.”

Alcohol, Drugs, & Tobacco.

Adult mentors should abstain from the use of alcohol and tobacco in the presence of students. Alcohol or tobacco use is not permitted at any ministry sponsored function/event.

Use of illegal substances is strictly prohibited and will result in immediate dismissal from Leadership.

Adult mentors should be very cautious in any public use of alcohol and tobacco (e.g., weddings, restaurants). When gathering as ministry leaders, mentors should refrain from alcohol and tobacco.

Habitual use of alcohol, whether in public or private, may result in dismissal and/or recommendation to receive counseling/treatment.

Leaders should be very careful when sharing personal opinions about these topics. We need to encourage students to respect their families’ beliefs on the use of substances - so far as they are not unbiblical. We need to demonstrate respect for family positions in regard to legal alcohol and tobacco use.

Attendance.

Once a student arrives at a CTR event or activity, he/she must remain in the designated area until the event is completed or until parents direct otherwise.

Auto Insurance.

It is not necessary to have permission slips signed for transporting students to and from informal small group activities you plan. The liability in the event of an accident lies with the mentor. All mentors are required to carry personal auto insurance. We recommend each mentor speak with their auto insurance company regarding industry recommendations for amounts of personal liability and property damage coverage. Always inform parents of your destination, plans, and the time you expect to return with their student when providing transportation. It is a good idea to share your cell phone number with them also. Driving with the utmost safety and attention to the road is paramount. Do not use your cell phone, eat or allow any other distraction while transporting students! (We know that won’t be easy with a whole car full of high energy students!)

Building Use.

At the beginning of each school year, building use/respect & safety rules will be covered with the students. Due to their adolescent, they WILL forget the rules and will need to be reminded from time to time. Don’t wait for this to be addressed from the “front” - if you see a student “crossing the line,” feel free to lovingly remind them of what is allowed. Common sense is the general rule here—no skateboards, roller blades, bikes or air born objects allowed inside. Pick up your own trash & straighten furniture, push in chairs around tables Treat this building like the “common” living areas in your own home!

Confidentiality.

In minor issues leaders are expected to keep the trust of the students. However in many cases, the health and wellbeing of the student takes priority over confidentiality. Staff should direct those cases to a pastor. Those situations that deal with particularly sensitive information should be brought directly to the Care/Pastoral Team’s attention, including suicide, drug and alcohol use, sexual promiscuity and abuse. Leaders are not expected to keep secrets with students, but have an open relationship with the Care/Pastoral Team.

Discipline Issues.

We expect leaders to join together on smaller issues such as rowdiness and disrespectful behavior or inappropriate PDA - See Student Ministry Discipline Policy and Rules for Students.

Emergencies

All cancellations are reported through the following outlets: mass text messages, television, radio and internet media. Please check cancellations before traveling in dangerous conditions. In general if the UW Extension Fox Valley is cancelled, CTR activities are cancelled as well. 

Calling 911.

If possible, call from a land line in the building (not a cell phone). Use any phone in any office or the phone in L115, the Son Harbor Courtesy Desk, or the Connection Center. Dial 7, then 911

Injuries. 

In case of injuries, there is a First Aid Kit located in L115, the Son Harbor Courtesy Desk, and the Connection Center at all times. Please notify CTR Staff as soon as possible of all injuries.

Tornadoes.

All activities and services are cancelled if a tornado warning is in effect at any time 60 minutes or less before the start time of a gathering or event. If there is a tornado during an event in the student room, CTR staff will direct you to tornado shelter areas.

Fires.

In case of fire, all Group leaders should take control of his/her group, quickly evacuate the building and gather around the designated area. Do not reenter the building until permission is given by the proper authorities.

Responding To a Threat or Disturbance in the Building.

The highest priority is to prevent such threats. A dangerous person would most likely be a familiar person who is angry. If you observe an angry person, a person causing problems, a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or any other suspicious activity, report it immediately to CTR staff who will report to the Director or security team.

Responding in an Emergency Situation.

Call 911 immediately and give as detailed of a description as possible of the building and the location of the threat. Group leaders should keep track of their students and help to calm them. If possible, quietly evacuate the building and take cover in a safe area. If the threat is too close to evacuate, lock the doors and hide all the students in a safe room. Try to make the room appear as if no one is inside – turn off all of the lights and equipment; be silent. Share only enough information with the group to keep them safe.

Incident Policy.

In situations where a student becomes injured during a youth event, immediate action should be taken. In minor cases, such as small scrapes and bruises, headaches and stomach complaints, staff can utilize basic first aid. For severe incidents, such as head injury, seizures, allergic reactions, notify a staff member and call 911. All incidents must be reported to the director.

Media.

We are representatives of Jesus for our students. Caution should be exercised in conversations about popular movies, music, and other media. Conversations about certain movies, bands may validate the material in the minds of our students, even if that was not the intention of the discussion. Caution in this area also includes using discernment regarding what you post on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Watching a movie with students is not the best form of relationship building. However, when watching a movie in a home or theatre, you need to exercise tremendous discretion. Most PG-13 and R rated movies are inappropriate choices to view with students due to language, sexual humor, and violence. As a mentor, be certain to model godliness in your movie choices. It is a good idea to seek the opinion of at least one other student ministry volunteer before viewing any movie not rated PG with your students. Please also make sure information regarding what movie you are watching is available and communicated to parents.

Physical Touch.

Physical touch is very important to developing trusting relationships. Master “the basics”- the art of the high-five, the handshake and the side-hug – to balance physical touch with safety and boundaries. Use your best judgment. Stay consistent – give hugs to everyone or high-fives to everyone, but don’t mix and match. Be very careful, especially with the opposite gender. Avoid physical touch beyond “the basics” in one-on-one environments. Any physical touch that makes a student or you uncomfortable is inappropriate. Err on the side of safety.

Parents. 

Our goal is to partner with parents through the tough phase of adolescence. At no point should you contradict a parent or undermine their authority. In some sensitive cases, you might find it necessary to notify a pastor and have them contact the family.

Privacy.

All documents with any personal information about students or parents (name, picture, address, phone number, email, school) should never be shared with others who are not screened by CTR. When documents are no longer needed, they should be shredded to protect students’ privacy. If you cannot shred documents, return them to CTR staff to be shredded.

Reporting a Student.

As a Discussion Group Leader in Student Ministry, you can never promise that you will keep information completely confidential. Students like to say, "Will you promise not to tell anyone?" You cannot make this promise. You can, however, promise that you will handle information in a responsible way. The health and well-being of the student take priority over confidentiality.

See Process for Escalating Student Issues Policy for specific details on when to refer a student for further intervention.

Scholarships.

Scholarships are given on a need basis. If you know of a student interested in attending the retreat or mission trip without sufficient funding, instruct the student or parent to contact the Student Ministry Staff for consideration.

Transportation. 

Parents must know and consent if their student is riding as a passenger.

Policies for Appropriate Adult-Student Relationships

General.

  • There is to be no dating of students under any circumstances.
  • Leaders are not to be alone with a student of the opposite sex at any time or for any reason.
  • Leaders are never to drive a student of the opposite sex home alone.
  • Leaders must exercise tremendous discretion with physical contact between themselves and students of any gender.
  • Although adult and student relationships are encouraged, a mentor should not draw their social context from the students and should only engage students in social context under large group settings, within same sex small groups or one-on-one time during which the focus is on the needs of the student not the mentor.
  • Combining male & female small groups for social outings is acceptable only with both a male and female mentor present. It is not permissible for male & female students to be alone together at any time at these social outings.
  • Leaders are expected to dress in a manner which sets a godly example for the students.

One-on-One Interactions.

This is very important to building meaningful relationships. Please notify (email or call) CTR staff before any outside activities with your Group (date, time, location, details). Always practice the following policies to ensure the safest scenarios:

  • You must have parental consent to spend time with a student one-on-one.
  • When picking up or dropping off a student, always make an attempt to greet parents and remind them of your plans.
  • Always have accountability. Your co-leader or CTR staff must know date, time location, planned duration, and purpose of one-on-one interaction. (Example: Leave a voicemail for your co-leader, “I’m on my way to pick up Nathan. It’s October 10th at 7 pm. We’re planning to get coffee at Beaners on 44th street, and I’ll be taking him home between 9 and 9:30. We’re getting together just to hang out.”)
  • Do not have one-on-one interactions with students of the opposite gender. Opposite gender phone calls should be for informational purposes only and should not be “counseling”, advice, problem solving, or an extended length.

Ideas for Appropriate/Safe One-on-One Interaction.

Same gender, phone calls, emails, coffee shop, restaurant, mall, park benches in the open, student’s house (with parents home), sporting events.

Inappropriate One-on-One Interaction.

Opposite gender, bedrooms, parked cars, rural areas, secluded park areas, closed doors, any non-public places.

Electronic Communication.

Mentors are encouraged to build relationships with students, including through use of popular electronic communication platforms such as texting, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, we discourage regular or frequent use of the following outlets for reasons other than communicating information to a student: extended private phone calls, frequent texting conversations, or use of private messaging tools (e.g., Facebook Chat). We ask that you do not use Snapchat to communicate with students under any circumstances. Please use caution when communicating one-on-one with students and use accountability whenever possible (e.g., bcc your co-leader on emails, include co-leader in Facebook messaging or post on wall if possible). This is essential in order to protect the student and the mentor.

Discipline Policy

Most Common Issues.

Cell phone usage during large and discussion groups, talking or acting out/disruptions during large and small group, swearing, and bullying.

Cell Phone.

Cell phones should not be used while students are in large group or discussion groups at Amped or Narrow Path. Students will get one chance and then the leaders should remove the cell phone from the student until Student Ministries is finished for that evening. At the end of the evening the cell phone will be returned to the student. This rule will be enforced in all large and discussion groups in Amped and Narrow Path. If the phone needs to be taken away a second time, it will be given to the parents at the end of the night.

Talking/Acting Out.

  • Amped Large Group: If a student is being mildly disruptive and there is an adult/leader sitting nearby, the student should be asked to stop their behavior. However if confronting the student during group will be more disruptive than their behavior, the student should be pulled aside after the large group time has been completed. If there is one student who is being very disruptive in their group without consideration for the rest of their group, they will be removed to the back of the room to sit for the remainder of the large group time.
  • NarrowPath Large Group: during large group the leaders will give a reminder to please stop to the student who is talking/being disruptive during worship or while a speaker is speaking. This does not seem to be a huge issue in the Narrow Path area.
  • Discussion groups: When the talking or acting out rises to the level of disrupting the group use the following steps:
  • 1st infraction - Pull the student aside that evening-right away if necessary or at the end of the discussion group time if possible. Discuss the behavior with the student and possible solutions. Explain that if it happens again we will need to involve the Care volunteer to help discuss it further with the student and make recommendations. Discussion group leader will inform their Care leader of the situation.
  • 2nd infraction - Care volunteer will get involved at the next step if behavior continues. Each discussion group will have a Care volunteer assigned who will be available on Wednesday nights. They will be sitting in on their groups as necessary and helping with situations that arrive. If behavior continues, the care volunteer will pull the student out of the group and discuss behavior and possible solutions. Care volunteer will inform student that if the behavior continues we will need to call their parents and get them involved. Their parent may need to attend student ministries with them (for Amped students).  It would be good to inform the student at this time that they may need to take a break from student ministries, so they are aware that they may not be able to come to student ministries if the behavior continues.
  • 3rd infraction - Parent involvement: If the behavior continues the parent will be contacted at this time to discuss behavior and possible solutions by the discussion group or care leader. The leader will call the parent and ask them to come in when picking up their student to be able to speak in person with the leader. If a student is in Amped, the leader will ask the parent to attend student ministries with their child the next Wednesday night and develop a plan. If the student is in NarrowPath, the parent will be asked to help develop a plan for their child’s behavior. The parent will be informed at this time that their student may need to take a break from student ministries. If they are asked to stop for a period of time a plan will be put in place to work towards having them return at some point.
  • Student chooses not to follow the plan developed or refuses to agree to follow it - Take a break from Student Ministries: if the behavior continues the parent will be contacted and the student will be asked to take a break from student ministries. A plan will be put in place for what the student will need to accomplish in order to come back to student ministries by the discussion group leader, care leader, student and parent.
  • Follow up: will be part of the plan that was developed.
  • Student returns to student ministries: upon returning a plan will be put in place to follow behavior.

Swearing.

We do not have a lot of swearing but when it does happen we will ask the leaders to remind the student not to swear. 

Hitting/Bullying.

  • Leaders: Train the leaders as to what to look for, how to identify bullying.
  • Talk with the students about having a safe environment and encourage them to report any bullying to a leader.
  • If bullying is occurring, the discussion group or care leader will speak with the student, contact the parent and meet with the parent and student to discuss the bullying and make a plan to follow.
  • The student who is being bullied: the discussion group or care leader will discuss the situation with this student and inform that there is follow-up being done. Will involve the parents if deemed necessary.

Important Reminders.

  • We will need to follow guidelines for Mandatory reporting as necessary.
  • We will need to determine the need for counseling and refer as appropriate.
  • We are working as a team (discussion group and care leaders) to help each student the best we can.
  • We are working as a large team to be consistent, so each student who attends feels safe, loved and care for, which will give them the freedom they need to grow spiritually.

Escalating Student Issues/Crises

Please note, these policies also apply to issues or things shared with leaders in the context of Connect Groups, and these same procedures should be applied in those circumstances. Contact information for care team members and Pastoral Staff will be provided to leaders of Connect Groups. 

This process is being instituted so that Discussion group leaders have some direction for when and how to refer student issues/concerns to someone outside of the Discussion group. It will also outline when parents should be contacted. Recognizing that Discussion group leaders have varying backgrounds of experience with young people, as well as varying comfort levels in dealing with student issues, we will strive to find a balance between helping the Discussion group leader grow in being able to address student issues, and the need for extra support in doing so. There will be certain issues that arise where referral is mandatory, otherwise, when to refer will be left to the discretion of the Discussion group leader.

Mandatory Reporting (as defined by the Wisconsin Dept. of Children and Families)

Situations which must be reported if a student discloses either verbally or in writing that they have*:

  1. been physically or sexually abused
  2. physically or sexually abused someone else
  3. threatened to physically or sexually abuse someone
  4. threatened harm to themselves - suicidal statements/plans
  5. described conditions in their home indicative of neglect: little or no food, lack of access to clean clothing or showering, extremely unsanitary conditions (animal or human waste, garbage piled up...)
  6. revealed patterns of underage drug/alcohol use
  7. disclosed an eating disorder or cutting behavior

* Items 1-5 are mandated by state to be reported. Items 6 & 7 we are asking that Discussion group leaders report these to the Care/Pastoral Team for the health and safety of the student.

When to report and to whom.

  1. If a student discloses any of the above items to a Discussion group leader verbally on a Wednesday night or during any student ministry event, the Discussion group leader should seek out as soon as possible one of the Care Team or Pastoral Team members and bring the student to them. If the student wishes the Discussion group leader to stay with him/her it would be fine, but the Discussion group leader would need to make arrangements for someone to be taking care of the rest of the Discussion group in his/her absence.
  1. If a student discloses any of the above items in writing, the Discussion group leader should contact David Lenz, Ryan Johnson or Care Team Leader at church as soon as possible to alert them to the situation. If the disclosure is relating to a threat of imminent self-harm (he/she has indicated a plan for suicide), and you cannot reach The Student Ministries Team Leaders or Care Team Leader, attempt to contact the student’s family immediately to ensure the safety of the student. A call to 9-1-1 is always an option (including the first option) if the Discussion group leader, volunteer adult or pastoral staff feels it is warranted.

What happens after Discussion group leader reports to Care Team or Pastoral Team.

  1. If on a Wednesday night, a Care Team member or Pastoral Team member will meet with the student and talk about the issue disclosed.
    1. If an issue of abuse/neglect, we will explain the process of reporting that must be done with the county in which the student resides. We will also discuss with the student how we will come alongside and support them through this process.
    2. if an issue of harm to self, alcohol/drug use, eating disorder, parents will be contacted and recommendations made for resources they can turn to for help. 
    3. if a student were to make an actual attempt of suicide at an event or we believe he/she is an immediate risk for making an attempt, police would be contacted immediately.
  2. If the issue is brought to the Student Ministries leaders or Care Team Leader during the week, arrangements will be made to meet with the student as soon as possible and then contact made with social services. If the nature of the disclosure indicates that the student is in immediate danger, contact will be made with the appropriate authorities first.
  • Example: Student writes about some type of abuse that has occurred, but we have no idea of the timeline, or if it has ever been reported.
  • We would likely meet with the student first before calling social services.
  • If the student makes clear in writing that he/she is being abused in the present time and it is ongoing, a call would be made first to social services.
  • If the student indicates a threat to harm him/herself, contact home would be made immediately.
  1. Parents will be involved in the process of dealing with any issues where mandated reporting is necessary.
  2. Follow-up recommendations will be made to the Discussion group leader on how to support the student.

Reporting of other issues to Care Team/Pastoral Team.

Essentially, each Discussion group leader should know his/her own comfort levels in dealing with issues of concern students may present. Sometimes students will talk about things that a Discussion group leader finds difficult to address, possibly because of a concern that he/she does not know how to advise a student, or perhaps this is an issue that has occurred in the Discussion group leader’s life and is not resolved - hits too close to home. Each leader needs to know his/her own boundaries. If a leader has questions about how to deal with a particular issue, he/she should seek support from a Care Team member or Pastoral Team member. Know that you do not have to solve problems for students - most often they just need to know that someone is listening and that they care about what is going on. Ask questions, actively listen, and most often the student will be able to process his/her own issues and find solutions.

Resources.

  1. Amped & NarrowPath will each have Care Team members present and available on Wednesday nights who can be consulted with any of these issues.
  2. Care/Pastoral Teams have ongoing relationship with the Counseling Staff at CTR. The referral process for students/families to the CTR counseling staff is known by all Care Team and Pastoral Team members.
  3. List of community referral sources can be developed or obtained from the CTR Counseling Staff if need arises.

Rules for Students

The spirit behind these rules is, of course, to provide order, but more importantly, it is to teach our youth about respecting God, each other, and the people who make up the church and the building in which we meet. 

Tobacco/Alcohol/Drugs.

Tobacco, drugs and alcohol are not permitted at any StuMin event or on the church premises. Tobacco: Staff notified, parents are called and student is asked to leave. Drugs & Alcohol: Staff notified, police & parents are called & student is asked to leave. Student is welcome back the next week (unless specified otherwise).

Cell Phones & iPods.

Cell phones/ipods should not be used while students are in large group or discussion groups at Amped or Narrow Path. Students will get one chance and then the leaders should remove the cell phone from the student until Student Ministries is finished for that evening. At the end of the evening the cell phone will be returned to the student. This rule will be enforced in large group and all discussion groups in Amped and Narrow Path. If the phone needs to be taken away a second time, it will be given to the parents at the end of the night.

Skateboards.

Are allowed on premises but cannot be used indoors.

Feet on Chairs.

We ask that students respect our chairs--no feet on chairs.

Food and Drink.

Food and drinks are not allowed in the worship center except for water, gum, and pocket candy and students are expected to clean up after themselves.

Garbage.

Students are expected to pick up after themselves and encouraged to look for ways to serve others in disposing of garbage as needed.

See Student Ministries Discipline Policy for additional information.