Winfield, Kan., March 9, 2022 – Two online courses have been scheduled at that will help congregations ensure safe spaces for vulnerable persons. “Creating Safe Spaces for Children and Youth” and “Creating Safe Spaces for Vulnerable Adults” will both begin May 2 and last two weeks. 

Rev. Beth Perry

Taught by church consultant and trainer Rev. Beth Perry, the courses are especially appropriate for leaders looking to write or edit a policy to reduce the risk of abuse in their churches. This might include personnel committees, trustees, or Christian education leaders. 

“The ‘Creating Safe Spaces for Vulnerable Adult Ministries’ is new and in addition to the above people, there might be someone in senior ministries—a deacon, Certified Lay Minister, or parish nurse, for example — who is especially sensitive to the needs of vulnerable adults,” Perry adds. 

She expects participants to come away with a variety of education and skills that will help them better serve and protect the children, youth, and vulnerable adults of their congregations. 

“My hope is that learners will write or edit, adopt, and follow a policy in all their children, youth, and vulnerable adult ministries,” Perry says. “In fact, we’ll spend the last three days of the course looking at how to do that follow-through—and how to celebrate when they do all that.” 

As with all BeADisciple courses, these offerings will be held online. Daily assignments are completed over the two weeks but learners can participate at the time of day most convenient for them. 

“Something unique to these two May sessions is that they are being held simultaneously. It’s always best when two people register from the same church so they can support each other in the process—but this time they could each sign up for one of the courses and have double the information,” the instructor adds. 

“We have a biblical mandate to take care of the vulnerable among us,” Perry says, “but we also know the potential financial costs of not having a policy (or not following a policy already in place) are enormous. Caregivers are also looking for the reassurance that a risk-reduction policy provides to their vulnerable loved ones.” 

Finally, Perry says, this topic should hit home even for those who are not currently in the vulnerable categories. 

“All adults are likely to become vulnerable adults at some point in their lives. This is one of those topics where we aren’t talking about ‘us’ and ‘them’ but about everyone!” 

More details on the courses are available at 

The Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship is based at Southwestern College, a United Methodist-affiliated college in Winfield, Kan.  It manages and supports a variety of educational programs — both online and in person at the college— that increase discipleship and Christian leadership skills.