One of the most important parts of your ministry is your people. The many people who attend your worship services, volunteer for your events, participate in your small groups and mission projects…all are at the heart of your church. That’s why protecting them should be a top priority. But you’d be surprised to know the number of churches who simply “trust” their people instead of running a thorough background check. Let’s take a look at church background check trends, and specifically how the recent pandemic played into them. Here are the Top Church Background Check Trends in 2023.
Pre-pandemic, 48% of our ministry partners who signed up for Realm Background Checks were actually running background checks.*
This means a whopping 52% were not actively screening their staff and volunteers. To put that simply, out of 100 churches, 52 could possibly have someone dangerous on their staff or volunteering at events around their people. You may ask, what is “dangerous”? Well, that varies depending on the ministry they serve. They could be driving your vans or church bus and have a reckless driving history. It’s possible they could be a child sex offender and be serving in your children’s ministry. Or, they could have a history of theft or money laundering and be working with your finance committee. All of these put your church and people at high risk.
As predicted, when church doors closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of churches not screening through their Realm Background Checks account increased to 90%.*
When many church doors closed, worship services, events, and other in-person activities came to a screeching halt. Background checks lessened in priority as the focus shifted to finding ways to reach a virtual audience using your website and streaming your services and events.
However, do you think churches began screening staff and volunteers again once doors began to open again post-COVID?
In the past few months, we’ve seen only 34% of churches with Realm Background Checks actively running background checks, a 14% decrease from pre-pandemic.*
We understand churches are getting back into the swing of things, but as your ministry partner, we want to make sure you’re protecting what matters most to you.
Be sure to screen all of your staff and volunteers. And not just once! Check your state and local guidelines on how often you should renew background checks and create a renewal process to ensure protection is ongoing.
With Realm Background Checks, you can quickly run a background check from someone’s profile within Realm.
We have packages built for the most common roles we see needing to be screened in churches, such as Serving Volunteer, Child and Youth Volunteer, and Staff and Leadership. You can also add on additional searches, such as the Nationwide Sex Offender Registry Search, Motor Vehicle Registration, and Credit Checks.
You set the renewal frequency for staff and volunteer background checks and choose how far ahead you would like to be notified for those about to expire allowing you to better track those needing to be re-screened. Also, search for cases where follow-up is needed, as well as report on other key background information.
You may be thinking…our church budget is already tight, how can we afford to screen all of our volunteers? Our Applicant Pay Serving Volunteer package allows your volunteers to support your ministry by paying for their background checks. Most members would be happy to do so as it is a part of them answering God’s call to serve in ministry.
We don’t charge a monthly or setup fee. You only pay for those screens you run and any additional fees that may come from county and state court access fees, DMV access fees, and employment/education verification fees.
With education comes knowledge, and knowledge builds confidence.
While these ministry background check trends show a decrease in churches protecting their people, we want to equip you with the knowledge needed to feel confident in creating your church screening policies.
The Know Your People: Background Check Screening to Protect Your Church guide walks you through the types of searches. Who you should consider screening within your church. And answers common questions from other churches running background checks.
Start protecting your church today!
To sign up for Realm Background Checks and start protecting your people today:
- Sign in to Realm with administrative permissions.
- Under the Admin menu, click “Manage Realm Account.”
- Click the “Additional Features” tab.
- In the Background Checks section, click “Learn more.”
- Click “Sign up for background checks.”
- Complete the provided application form.
*Church screening trends in this blog are provided by our partners at Verified First. 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.
Everything you need to screen your staff and volunteers properly.
Background checks can mitigate the risks you have when hiring new staff, recruiting new volunteers, or welcoming new members into your ministries. But do you know there are many different search options and screenings available for background checks?
So many options, but which do you use and when?
Don’t leave your doors open to risks to your people and ministry. Learn how to protect them today!
Leigh Ann Shelley joined the ACST team in 2019 as a Product Marketing Manager. She oversees the launch and overall communication of key solutions to support the church’s needs. Prior to joining ACST, she spent several years in communications and graphic design roles. Most notably as a Communications Director for a large church in Florence, SC, where she leveraged Realm to help solve key ministry challenges.