The best way to improve congregational life is by knowing those who serve. While you could already be on a first-name basis with many volunteers, knowing those you’re inviting to serve goes beyond face value. There is more to a person than a name. Ask yourself, “how well do I know the character of my volunteers?”
This important question must be answered in order to promote safety within your church or parish. No matter the size of your church, selecting church volunteers is an important process. Those in smaller church settings may have an advantage over larger congregations in getting to know prospective volunteers where one-on-one conversations are more frequent. Yet, those within larger churches may have an advantage due to a larger volunteer applicant pool. Whether small or large, the emphasis remains the same. You must know your peoples’ backgrounds in order to safely welcome them to the volunteer team.
If you’re struggling to connect with your congregation and intimately know those wanting to serve, you’re not alone. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you connect with the people of your church and understand their backgrounds to determine if they’re the right fit for your volunteer team.
The Use of Background Checks
It’s easy to rationalize reasons not to look into a church volunteer’s background. In theory, they share the same faith and are generously donating their time, so they must be a good person…Right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. According to recent statistics, those convicted of violent crimes neared record-breaking numbers in 2021 meaning potential safety threats are prominent across the U.S.
Good and trustworthy volunteers are identified through background checks and screens. When running a background check or screen on volunteers, you gain information on their:
- Previous convictions – Whether major or minor, screening a volunteers’ background will uncover previous convictions.
- Identity checks – A background check will prove that a volunteer is who they claim to be.
- Overall character – Understanding their past will help determine whether they’re presently fit to serve.
- And more
A background check will provide a comprehensive picture of a person’s life inside and outside of the church. It’s the most trustworthy method to vet volunteers before they serve and protect others within the congregation.
Background Checks and Your Ministry
Whether greeting church-goers or providing information for those wanting to join the congregation, your volunteers are people-centered. Because of this emphasis on hospitality, all volunteers should be vetted through a basic screening package that gleans a general understanding of their personal history. From that point, you can assess further background screening needs by understanding your ministry.
Some churches need volunteers to drive church attendees to and from services, some need children’s church teachers, and some need volunteers to handle donations. There are specific searches that can help determine a volunteer’s fit for any role within the church besides general hospitality roles. Here are some common background searches that many churches utilize:
- Motor vehicle records – checks the driving records of an individual whose position requires driving
- Criminal history – checks an individual’s past criminal convictions
- Education references – checks an individual’s academic references for those offering biblical courses or like services
- Consumer credit report – checks an individual’s credit report for those working with finances
Running a Background Check
Once you’ve determined if additional screens are required on top of general service volunteer screening, you’re ready to start. But finding the resources on your own could be time-consuming and expensive. There’s another way to check your volunteers’ backgrounds besides manually completing each one.
You can utilize a background screening provider to handle all of your screening needs for you. ACS Technologies partners with Verified First to not only provide you with a screening solution but one that integrates with your church management solution to better manage and maintain background checks all in one place. We have a list of packages, including a package specifically for serving volunteers, that checks all the boxes for volunteer screening as well as checks for those in permanent positions. All of our packages contain these checks:
- Nationwide Criminal Database Search (including millions of state and county records)
- Global Watch Lists/Homeland Security Lists and Sanctioned Lists
- International & Interpol of 190+ Countries
- Nationwide Sex Offender Database Search
- Social Security Address Trace Report (including Death Index)
All searches are compliant and utilize the freshest possible data. When you screen with us, we can offer peace of mind that those who join your volunteer team are the right people to serve your congregation.
It’s All About Trust
The best way to build relationships is through trust. You want to trust those you place on volunteer teams to hold the same values as your church’s. In order to identify the best fit for your volunteer needs, screen your candidates with background checks. Background checks and screens are the most secure way to understand a person’s past and determine their present character. By vetting your volunteers through service screening, you’re working to make your congregation a better place for all who walk through your doors.
Sign Up and start screening today!
Verified First is the leading comprehensive background screening processor partnered with ACS Technologies. Together, we lead the market in knowing how best to help churches manage, grow, and protect their church with easy-to-use, integrated solutions. Verified First has received accreditation and is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). This accreditation means Verified First has dedicated itself to providing the highest level of standards in the following areas: information security, legal and compliance, client education, researcher and data standards, verification services, and business practices.