With many aspects of safe ministry training going online, a new role has been created within local churches – the Local Safe Ministry Online Assistant (Online Assistant).
Their role is to assist those who would like to do online or face-to-face training but may lack the ability to access the internet, or require assistance to:
- create a Safe Ministry Training account,
- enrol and pay for online or face-to-face training,
- navigate through the online course, or
- participate in the online webinar.
The role is managed in the local church and is an important way to enable and support leaders as they enrol in or complete safe ministry training.
It is ideal that there is one Online Assistant in each church and this role is well communicated to leaders so they know where they can receive assistance in accessing training.
The PSU (Safe Ministry Team) will provide ongoing support to Online Assistants, primarily via the support ticket system.
The Online Assistant is appointed by the Senior Minister, and is an entirely local appointment, requiring no paperwork or notifying of the PSU.
A suitable person may be the previous local Safe Ministry trainer or another person in your church who is committed to Safe Ministry.
This person should have a basic understanding of computers and feel comfortable using the internet e.g. anyone who uses a computer on a regular basis and has purchased goods online, would be well suited for this role.
The PSU (Safe Ministry Team) will also provide ongoing support to Online Assistants primarily via the support ticket system.
Yes this is absolutely fine and we greatly appreciate you taking on both roles.
The Online Assistant reports to the Safe Ministry Representative in the local church and so they may be involved in the selection, recruitment and appointment on the Senior Ministers behalf however, he will need to be involved in the decision.
As it is an entirely local appointment, it requires no paperwork or notifying of the PSU.
Training for the Online Assistant role can happen at any time as we have the training video and resources on this page.
The Safe Ministry Team are also available via the support ticket system to assist Online Assistants as they help people with aspects of their training (particularly creating an online account, enrolling in face-to-face or online training or participating in an online webinar).
It may be that participants meet in a public place such as coffee shop that has wireless internet or a library or it might be in a person’s home however it is important that Safe Ministry practises are implemented for this role.
The training is provided online. The online assistant enables participants to access the training and navigate their way around, book into/attend the webinar and assist participants to retrieve their certificate.
The Online Assistant role is not a training role in any capacity.
Many of the people that Online Assistants will be asked to help will be older people or people with some disabilities.
Here are a few suggestions to help smooth the path for such people wanting to do online training:
- If someone struggles with technology, don’t attempt the training on device like an iPad.
The smaller screens will just add to the challenge.
- For a better experience with such people, we recommend using either a desktop or laptop computer – ideally with a LARGE monitor to make viewing more comfortable.
All laptops these days allow the plugging in of an external monitor.
- Consider having a morning at one location with internet where two or three devices can be set up, and two or three people doing the training at a time, with an Online Assistant overseeing the session.
- If you are experiencing unreliable internet, try and arrange to have the device connected by cable to the router rather than Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi is great for email and browsing the web, but was never designed for more serious usage (with some rare exceptions).
Also, see articles in our Knowledgebase
We realise that some couples share a single email address, and other individuals may not even own a computer but need to register on the site for face-to-face training.
Here is a simple approach which may help – especially for churches assisting those without a computer/internet, and is easily adapted for other situations:
- Set up a free Gmail account for your church for this purpose e.g: firstname.lastname@example.org, or use an existing Gmail account.
- An easy way to get multiple versions of that address delivered to the one inbox is to include periods (‘.’) or plus signs (‘+’) in the first part of the address.
- So in our example, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org will both end up in the same inbox as email@example.com. This is a great way to leverage this for our purpose.
- This will work with any existing Gmail account.
Using this simple method, you can very easily have people with no email address create a Safe Ministry Training account for online or face-to-face training, and one person (e.g. someone at the church) monitor the emails the system will send them.
This method also enables couples who share a Gmail address to create different email addresses without setting up a whole new email account e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com are unique email addresses for our system but information for both addresses will end up in the same inbox.
More information on this technique can be found here: https://www.labnol.org/internet/multiple-email-addresses-in-gmail/17426/
If you are interested in becoming an Online Assistant, we have a recording of the webinar originally conducted on September 19th 2017.
‘Online Assistant Information Webinar
Online Assistant Training Webinar
Originally held Oct 3 2017