June 2020 News

Dear reader,
Welcome to the June SMR news - especially if it's your first as Safe Ministry Rep.

Lots more information to share with you this month

Key Points:
  • Frontline - a safe ministry podcast - episode 2
  • How the 'Safe Ministry To Children 2020' Ordinance will impact your church
  • Safe Ministry Check Q&A - via Zoom
  • Big Improvements to the Junior Leaders course management

Frontline - a Safe Ministry Podcast episode 2 is live!

In this episode, we unpack the implications of the new Safe Ministry Check - a major component of the new Safe Ministry To Children Ordinance 2020.
While most of this information is available on the website, it can sometimes make more sense to hear someone explain it!
The changes to the Junior Leaders course also get a run down.

Find the link to the episode on the Frontline web page


Safe Ministry Check - A Church Guide

As I mentioned last issue, there are many implications for your church as you implement the new Safe Ministry Check.
A detailed run down of these can be found on the website.
Some of those are:
  • ALL volunteers (current and new) who work with children in your church will need to complete a Safe Ministry Check before Jan 1st 2021.
    There are a few exceptions to that, but they are quite specific and focussed in their scope (details on the website)
  • There is no longer a 3 month grace period when a volunteer starts working with children in order to complete their Safe Ministry Training.
  • Junior Leaders are now included in the category of church workers who must do safe ministry training, and do so before they start their ministry with children.

What does this all mean for your church administration?

  • Safe Ministry Records.
    You will need to add some new fields to whatever system you use to keep your core Safe Ministry Records. These will hold certain info pertaining to a person's Safe Ministry Check and its result.
    I will inform you of what hose extra fields should be very soon.
    If your church uses SaMRO, who extra fields will be added automatically.
  • Storage of data.
    The Safe Ministry Check will likely generate a lot of data that will require some planning by your church to manage and store – keeping in mind that we are now required to keep such documents indefinitely. Security is key when planning this – due to the highly sensitive nature of the contents of the form. See this article for some guidelines and suggestions for your planning of long-term secure storage.
Assistance for your church.
  • The single biggest assistance we can offer in managing all this extra admin and information is an online version of the Safe Ministry Check form for adult (>18 years) volunteers that will be available from the end of June.
    This is a semi-automated form that sends the results to the applicant and the Senior Minister or his authorised delegate (including the required ID documents).
    If a character reference is required (generally only if an applicant has been at your church for less than two years), that process is also semi-automated.
    All the information generated is in electronic form, making storage of this as part of your Safe Ministry Records much easier.
    NOTE: The online and PDF forms will be available from the end of June.
That's a brief summary - do checkout the article on the webpage for lots more information download the pdf version for ongoing reference, and listen to the podcast to hear it all explained.

Safe Ministry Check Q&A

With the complexity of the new Ordinance and the Safe Ministry Check in particular, we will host a Safe Ministry Check Q&A on Zoom around the end of June, early July.
This will be a great chance to have your questions about anything to do with the Safe Ministry Check, or the broader Ordinance answered, plus hear more details.

You will need to book for this, and we will announce the details in the next week or so.


Junior Leaders Course - Improvements to processes

Since the launch of the Junior Leaders Course, there has been excellent feedback about the content, but some frustrations about the process of getting young leaders into the training.
Likewise, there have been regular requests for the ability for the church Training Mentor to see the progress (or lack thereof) of their leaders in the course and to be able to manage that information in a more flexible way.

We are pleased to say that we have significant improvements in those areas in place:

Pre-course admin
is now much simpler and straightforward. Less information is required in the form, and instead of what has been often confusing communication back and forth regarding the actual enrolment of Junior Leaders in the course, now the church Training Mentor actually enrols his or her JL's whenever suits (after the church has been set up in our system). So as soon as the Training Mentor knows one or more of his leaders has created their account in the Training website, he/she can jump in and enrol them.

In-course information.
Using the new Group Management page, a Training Mentor can now see exactly where each of their leaders is up to, and can even drill down to see what Topics or Checkpoints they have down.
Great for planning but even better for the kind of personal encouragement and support young leaders often need and benefit from.

With ALL junior leaders aged between 13 and 17 years now required to take the course, we hope this is a significant improvement for your church.

At time of writing - everything is in place with the exception of the ability for Training Mentors to enrol their Junior Leaders - and that will be rolled out before the end of the month. Existing Training Mentors will find the new Group Management link in their 'My Dashboard' page on the Safe Ministry Training website after they log in.

Safe Ministry Consultations - by Zoom

While many of us are suffering from Zoom-fatigue, there is no doubt that the video-conferencing technology has been a great blessing from God during the pandemic lockdown period.
And so this offer:
For the foreseeable future I'm happy to offer Safe Ministry Consultations with Safe Ministry Reps and/or church staff via Zoom.
Not quite as good as face to face, but it does potentially mean that I can fit a lot more in if I don't have to travel all over the Diocese.

These can be problem-solving or, brainstorming sessions, checking on Safe Ministry processes, a Safe Ministry Rep primer for those new to the role - anything you would like related to Safe Ministry in your church.
So if that interests you drop me an email at: info@safeministry.org.au

COVID-19 Resources

Don't forget our evolving collection of information and resources for doing ministry safely during the pandemic restrictions.
Keep an eye on them here:
COVID-19 Resources

Training exemptions during COVID-19

Just a reminder that due to the inability to hold any face to face training for the foreseeable future, the following conditions are in place:
  • Any person currently training who is 70 years of age or older and is not capable of online training - they get an automatic 12 month extension to their training. Simply extend their expiry date by that period in your records.
  • Anyone else who has a specific reason for needing face to face training (eg: due to a disability of some kind) can apply for an extension by emailing the details to: smt@safeministry.training
    Note: This does not cover a person's preference for face to face training. They must have a sound reason for not being able to do online training.

Keeping up to date with news

Newsletter Archive
An archive of all SMR Newsletters (since we moved to our new system) is available here.
Email alerts
We have revamped our email alerts system for new content on the safeministry.org.au website, and you can subscribe to those alerts here:

Likewise, alerts for new content are posted to our Twitter account, and you can find that account and follow us to get those alerts here:
That's it for this edition.Praying that the new Safe Ministry Check is a genuine blessing to your church as a tool that helps us create safer churches than ever!

With warm regards

Neil Atwood
Parish Consultant
02 9265 1547