A Parent Handbook for your Sojourn campus

Every Christian parent wants to raise children who will grow up to love and trust Jesus.  Parents deliberately search for the church that provides the most opportunities for their kids to grow up in the Lord.  We want Sojourn to be that church!  Yet, as we continue to build our ministry to children, we must not neglect our homes—where children see our faith on real-time display every day.

At Sojourn, we believe that the home is the front line of Christian ministry to children—not the Sunday school or public church gathering.  The practices of a Christian worship service—the Scriptures, prayer, and praise—should be present in the home as well.  After all, the most important teaching moments happen at home rather than at church.   As the church, our responsibility is to encourage and equip you in your parenting role.

We want to empower parents.  One of the ways we’ve done this is by putting together parent handbooks for each Sojourn campus.  The handbook has everything that you need to know about SojournKids’ policies and procedures–including campus-specific emergency action plans.  If you are a parent, you’ll want to take a look.  Grab a copy on Sunday or download them here:

Parent Handbook for the Germantown Campus (PDF)–an overview of SojournKids’ philosophy and childcare policies for those attending Sojourn services at the 930 Art Center.

Parent Handbook for the St. Matthews Campus (PDF)–an overview of SojournKids’ philosophy and childcare policies for those attending Sojourn services at Walden School.

FAQ from flu.gov

We can’t be too careful as flu season begins, and, as the Children’s Ministry director for Sojourn, I can’t over-emphasize the importance of sanitary practices and proper hand washing.  For those of you who have already read Sojourn’s statement on the flu and our SojournKids sickness policy, here are some FAQs from flu.gov:

How does 2009 H1N1 virus spread?

Spread of 2009 H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza.  Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

What are the signs and symptoms of this virus in people?

The symptoms of 2009 H1N1 flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners* are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.

SojournKids Sickness Policy

If your child is sick, please respect others by keeping him or her with you. If your child shows signs of sickness (including, but not limited to, high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, severe coughing, colored nasal drainage, pink eye, head lice, undiagnosed rash, open skin lesions, and any infectious disease), we reserve the right to ask you to remove him or her from the classroom. We define an infectious disease as any disease that spreads from one person to another person. These may include, but are not limited to, HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, etc. We believe that God has called us to minister to all people and will, therefore, strive to provide a safe environment that is safe and accepting of everyone. Children who appear, or become, ill at church will be isolated from the other children, and the parent/guardian will be summoned immediately.

Parents are asked to contact a member of the SojournKids leadership team if their child contracts a communicable disease (such as chicken pox, head lice, fifth disease, etc.) after attending a SojournKids gathering.  The medical condition of any child or SojournKids servant will be disclosed only to the extent necessary to minimize the health risk to the person and others.  Sojourn’s elders and the SojournKids leadership team will be provided with the appropriate information concerning any special precaution that may be necessary. SojournKids will not disclose the health status of any individual without the express written consent and permission of that individual, or in the case of a child, their parent or guardian. Parents of children involved in SojournKids activities will not be privy to any confidential medical information.

The SojournKids sickness policy exists for the protection of the children in our care. We regret that it sometimes means not admitting children that have been brought to our public gatherings.

Sojourn Statement on Influenza

Flu season is coming upon us.  While the Bible teaches that we should not live in fear, we can certainly take precautions as individuals and as a church family to minimize the risk of flu outbreak, whether H1N1, Avian or the seasonal flu.

We can all help protect ourselves, our children and each other by washing our hands and using hand sanitizer regularly, covering with sleeves when coughing, and, if sick, to stay home from Sojourn Gathered, community group and other events and activities.

Know that the Sojourn elders have been seeking counsel and maintaining contact with health agencies and officials, and emergency responders.  Here are some steps we are taking:

  • We will maintain the hand sanitizers in every bathroom and at the Info Table, coffee station, and Sojourn Kids check-in stations.
  • We will perform regular, thorough scrubs of the entire children’s wing.
  • In the event that any Sojourn staff or volunteer worker contracts a contagious illness during the time frame in which he or she serves Sojourn Kids, we will contact the parents or guardians of each child involved.
  • We will stay in close contact with health workers and agencies, and follow public safety guidelines.
  • We will make any additional changes to our gatherings at such time as we are convinced through prayer and counsel that changes are needed to protect you.

We urge you to please stay home if you suspect you may have a contagious illness for the course of the illness and at least 24 hours after all symptoms have resolved.  Also, we encourage you to seek medical care if you suspect the flu.  It is especially important that you refrain from service activities like Sojourn Kids, Connect Team or communion-serving if you suspect you may be ill.  Let your ministry team leader know you will not be able to serve.

While we don’t want to downplay the very real effects of the flu and the continuing spread across the United States of H1N1, let’s not panic or buy into any hysteria.  We live in a fallen world with many dangers, but we serve a God who is never surprised or helpless in the face of any situation.  May His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, and may we remember that our great God is working all things for the good of those who love Him.

Visit http://flu.gov for more information on how to protect your family, and what to do in case of infection.

Two Great Child Evangelism Resources!

Here are two fantastic child evangelism resources you can get on the cheap:

Leading Children Towards Gospel Repentance and Faith by Marty Machowski, (Covenant Fellowship Church, 2007), $5.00

Helping Children to Understand the Gospel by Sally Michael, Jill Nelson, and Bud Burk, (Children Desiring God, 2009), $7.50

I’ll probably be requiring both of these for Sojourn’s Pastor’s School this coming Spring.  Great resources!