Jump directly to the Content

Playing It Safe

How one children's ministry director goes to bat for protecting kids.

When David Staal shows up for work at the weekend services at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, it's "game on." Between one Saturday night service and two Sunday morning services, he will oversee 1,000 children's volunteers and 3,000 kids in Promiseland, the megachurch's children's ministry.

"Our mission is to make Promiseland the best hour of every child's week," says Staal. "To do this, our ministry has to be safe first and foremost. Safety is one area you can't ever compromise on or the whole ministry is at risk. You need to bat a thousand every time."

The center of an expansive, open-air foyer for Willow Creek's main auditorium features an indoor waterfall. A staircase leads down to the base of the waterfall, which is the entry point to Promiseland. It's here you'll find Staal warming up for the game.

"Before every service I stand in the same place and pray, 'God, keep our kids safe today.' Hundreds of parents have entrusted us with the most important thing ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

July/August
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
So Many Bosses
So Many Bosses
Is it possible for a church leader to live with margins in his or her life?
From the Magazine
They Fled Ukraine, and Ukraine Followed
They Fled Ukraine, and Ukraine Followed
Escaping Russian missiles, some exiled believers found a new sense of purpose helping refugees.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.
close