Your church is filled with wonderful people and families who gather in person and online to worship each week. Your staff works hard to manage your church and equip those volunteers who serve in your ministries.
While this is all encouraging to us as we live out the Gospel, it can be frightening to have your trust broken by a staff member, church member, or volunteer who has been welcomed into your church family. So how can you lessen the chance of that happening and better protect your church and those you care about within the church?
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?
Here are your options, but which do you use and when?
Motor Vehicle Report
National Sex Offender Public Database
Sex Offender Registry
- Note: The difference between the sex offender database and the sex offender registry is the timing of how frequently that information is updated.
County Criminal Database Search
Unlimited County Criminal Database Search
Statewide Criminal Database Search
Nationwide Criminal Database Check
- Note: There is no legal authority that forces counties to report their criminal records histories to the Nationwide Criminal database.
Social Security Trace
Do all the roles within my church staff and volunteers need background checks?
- Serving Volunteer – greeters, hospitality roles, lectors, eucharistic ministers
- Child/Youth Volunteer – daycare, nursery, teachers, youth groups, etc.
- Staff and Leadership – bookkeeper, office staff, church leaders
Surely I don’t have to do searches on all my volunteers and staff. Some of our staff has been with us for years. Most of our staff have had background checks in the past, so we don’t need to redo them, right? Can you afford not to know the answer to these questions?
When it comes to safeguarding those attending or working for your church or parish, how far do you need to go? Consider the liability your church is responsible for if something should happen. Offerings start disappearing, and questions start arising about the nursery, even rumors regarding individuals. You don’t just have financial consequences but also your church’s reputation. Both could seriously impact your future. Knowing and taking the proper steps can prevent most incidents that could cause pain to your church and church family.