Q. What is Cherish All Children?
A. Cherish All Children is a social justice ministry that equips congregations to prevent child sexual exploitation. The heart of this ministry lies in congregations, where staff, leaders, and members pray, educate, connect with others, and act on behalf of children and youth within and outside their congregations.
Q. How do we establish a Cherish All Children ministry in our congregation?
A. Contact us to get started! We invite your congregation to pray, educate, connect, and act to prevent child sexual exploitation. Each congregation is unique and we have many resources to help you get started in this important work within your congregation and community.
Q. What do you mean by "pray, educate, connect, and act"?
A. Preventing child sexual exploitation requires a multi-faceted effort to raise awareness as well as change attitudes and behaviors. Because of this, we invite your congregation to:
Pray: Congregations may begin the Cherish All Children ministry by praying for children within their congregation and throughout their communities. This is a very concrete, hands-on way to get started, and it engages many in the church. We offer a weekly Wednesday e-prayer to those who'd like to sign up, or to use in worship or Bible study; or some congregations pair an adult with one child using our prayer booklets containing a month's worth of daily prayers.
Educate: Youth, parents, grandparents and other congregation members learning about sexual exploitation and prevention measures is key to making a difference in overcoming this issue. We can begin with an adult forum, youth event, or recommend speakers and materials. Our newest resource, "My Neighbor is Not For Sale" can lead your congregation in a 4-session series to become educated and begin to transform our culture. The church can accept the status quo, or choose to change the culture.
Connect: Churches can be good neighbors in the community by connecting with other organizations that work to prevent child sexual exploitation. It tells others that the church wants to be proactive in prevention, and it sends a message to the community that the church takes seriously its role as a protector of children. Connecting with others enhances the ministry of congregations because outside organizations can offer educational and service opportunities, engaging members outside the church walls.
Act: When congregations pray, educate, and connect with others in the community, they are often led to act on behalf of children. Some congregations have engaged in grassroots advocacy for legislation to protect children. Others have established letter writing campaigns to stop advertisements or corporate practices that sexually exploit children. Some congregations develop/update their safe church policies. Others organize a service project to support survivors of exploitation and trafficking.
Q. How do we get started?
A. Give us a call. We can help you explore ways in which your congregation can begin this ministry. Our Congregational Manual has tips, practical examples and a suggested structure for developing a Cherish All Children team. Our website has resources for safe church policies, prayer booklets, books, and Internet resources. Join our e-mail lists to receive the weekly Wednesday Prayer and the E-Quipped for Prevention newsletter which provides ideas and resources for congregations.
Q. What will it cost our congregation to establish a Cherish All Children ministry?
A. It will cost you only what you have determined to spend on any or all of these components. All of the resources on our website are free to download and use, and church volunteers carry out most aspects of the ministry, often under the guidance of church staff. However, we do need financial resources to support this ministry...
If you would like Cherish All Children staff to do a presentation, we ask for an honorarium to support our ministry. We also request that congregations consider some form of annual funding for us to continue this work, whether through a budget line item, Mission of the Month, a special offering, or other creative method.
Our goal is to provide you with the tools and knowledge to carry out this ministry in your own congregation. We encourage you to share your stories of success and bumps in the road with us so we can do our best to support you in this mission of keeping all God's children safe.