Years ago, when I was charged with enforcement of our Safe Church Policy, a series of requirements and trainings that help protect vulnerable people at church from sexual, verbal and economic abuse, I learned the difference between secrets and surprises.
The trainer told us that secrets are often used to leverage power over children, because children have been trained to keep secrets. Often, sexual predators will begin with small, innocent secrets, gradually increasing the threat level, testing a child to see how much the child will hide from parents and friends.
Once I learned this, I began to confront the different ways we needed to embed awareness and vigilance in our church, in both word and deed. That became a habit I have continued to develop throughout my career as a pastor.
Dove's Nest's mission is to empower and equip faith communities to keep children and youth safe in their homes, churches, and communities. "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children" (Luke 18:16 NLT).