Church background checks and volunteer screening can be a controversial topic in some congregations. I mean, how real is the risk that a predator will attend your church searching for his next victim? And beyond that, would someone really attempt to volunteer in a vulnerable area…just to commit a sex crime?
According to LexisNexis, the industry leader in screening solutions, every 11.5 hours a registered sex offender attempts to obtain a position at a nonprofit organization. In the six years of screening religions organizations and non-profits, LexisNexis conducted more than 850,000 background checks and discovered that 15% returned with a ‘hit’ for a criminal offense.
So what’s the solution?
- Use a background checking service that offers a nationwide criminal search. The key is to find one that is “deep and wide.” State-only searches do not account for the transient nature of those with criminal convictions.
- Re-check often. Most background checks are conducted in a pre-screen scenario or when new employees or volunteers first come onboard. This is just a snapshot in time, and does not provide updated information if a criminal activity would occur.
- Keep an active list of those who have been screened. With church leader turn-over, it’s vital to maintain a file that lists who’s been screened and when.
**Does your church conduct background checks or screen your volunteers? Why or why not? Share your thoughts …
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