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.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Christian Aid Agencies Have a New Approach to Famine
Christian Aid Agencies Have a New Approach to Famine
Relief has changed in time for Africa’s worst food shortage in 80 years.
Editor's Pick
What We Lose When We Livestream
What We Lose When We Livestream
Do our online viewers truly realize what they’re missing?