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Safeguarding as mission

Thirtyone:eight reframes the vital-yet-weighty subject of safeguarding in our churches.

Are you someone who feels that safeguarding has begun to get in the way of your mission and ministry? Has it all become a cumbersome distraction to your call working with young people? This is probably how many feel. But what if we saw safeguarding through different lenses? Re-framing this important aspect of our ministry could make all the difference.

We talk a lot about the importance of safeguarding in mission, but what if we started talking about safeguarding as mission? If it wasn’t a legal requirement to pay attention to safeguarding, or if our mandatory training didn’t bring it into focus every three years, we risk overlooking something that has always been close to God’s heart. God is a God of justice. It’s not only what he does, but who he is. We only need to look to the life of Jesus to see that this heart for justice was beating strong when Jesus walked and talked with different people on earth. We are called to be like Jesus today.

When safeguarding becomes an integral element of our ministry rather than an add-on or peripheral part of our mission, we see that it is a matter of justice. As described in Matthew 5:13-16, we are called to be both salt (a preserver of morality, justice and social conscience) and light (an illuminator of things hidden in darkness) in our world. We are the vehicle God has chosen to show himself to the world and connect with the world, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, our mission is to do this in ways that reflect who he is and to share the concerns that he has for his creation. It is justice to care for those in our communities and create safe places for all. This is safeguarding as mission.

To explore the themes of Jesus, justice and safeguarding read Justin Humphreys’ brand new book ‘Safeguarding as Mission, learning from encounters with Jesus’. Justin is joint CEO of Thirtyone:eight, a safeguarding charity working towards a world where every child and adult can feel, and be, safe.

This article was printed in Multiply 2024: The Manual, a publication that accompanied the programme of Multiply 2024, which explored multiplying a younger church. You can find related content below.