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Volunteer & Pre-employment Background Checks

Background checks are an unfortunate requirement for for staff and volunteers of all churches, regardless of size.

Church Background Checks - Tips & Articles


Before you read the below article from 1999, just think how much the issues that we deal today with have worsened in the past 7 years. 

8 Reasons to Screen Church Staff and Volunteers

1. Protect the children from abuse or death.

2. Protect the members from injury or death.

3. Protect the Finances and Assets of the Church.

4. Protect the Reputation of Your Church

5. Protect your witness to the world.

6. In some states, you are required to do so by law.

7. Protect your church from lawsuits

8. Protect staff and officers from personal lawsuits.


Screen Church Workers with ScreenNow - Special Pricing for Ministries

Any editorial emphasis in the text is mine, for purposes of making a particular point. - Ed.

In God We Trust: All Others Must be Screened

Children's Ministry Magazine, November-December, 1999

Critical safety policies to protect your church and the children in it.

by Pastor Steve Alley

On Palm Sunday in 1998, a 12-year-old girl disappeared from Memorial United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was 11 a.m. when someone noticed that the girl was missing, and a few adults searched for her as the worship service began.

Ned Owens, the pastor of the 903-member church, instructed his ushers to go quickly throughout their building to find the child. A few moments later, a child said, "She went with a man to get some flowers."

Indeed, 41-year-old Robin Wayne Martin allegedly entered the second- floor education area, pretended to need help from children, and lured the girl to his van. Throughout the afternoon, church members prayed, passed out fliers, and searched for the child. Seven hours after the abduction, a motorist found her on the side of the road, her hands bound by duct tape. She was alive.

Martin, it turns out, had been a member of Memorial, had grown up in this church, married there, and even raised his two children in it. Martin's mother is still active in the church.

Seven months earlier, Martin had allegedly molested an 8-year-old in another community. That case was pending. In this abduction case, Martin has been charged with 13 counts including kidnapping, sexual assault, and rape.

Think this could never happen at your church? Think again.

Safety issues-not only those like this situation are the top critical concern for children's ministries today. And for good reason. God is all-trustworthy but people and situations aren't always to be trusted.

Church safety is something for which the wise prepare. To wait until a crisis happens to create safety plans is too late. To believe that "this will never happen to us" is risky.

Churches are sued every year. Lawsuits arise for several reasons including accusations of negligence in the areas of screening and training staff, supervision, event planning, and emergency preparedness. Church Mutual Insurance Company, the leading insurer of churches in America, averages four to five new sexual molestation and misconduct claims each week.

Consider these statistics from James Cobble, the executive director of Christian Ministry Resources in Matthews, North Carolina:

In the past five years, one out of 25 churches has responded to an allegation of sexual molestation in children's ministry. One percent have actually gone to court.

Less than half of all churches screen their paid children's ministry workers.

Less than one-third of all churches screen their children's ministry volunteers.

The frequency of court cases involving injury to children is directly proportionate to the size of the church. Urban churches are at a higher risk of being accused. Suburban churches with more than 500 members have the highest risk of being sued.

During the past three years, 52 percent of churches reported having accidents that required medical attention. That percentage increased to 68 percent for churches with a worship attendance between 250 to 1,000 and 84 percent for churches over 1,000.

Steve Alley is the children's pastor at Crossroads Christian Church in Corona, California, and an associate professor of children's ministry at Hope International University in Fullerton, California.


The above is an excerpt from the Article by Pastor Steve Alley.  For the full article, go to

Reprinted by permission, Rev. Magazine, Copyright 19996, Group Publishing, Inc., Box 481, Loveland, CO  80539.


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