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Risk Management Minute

Valuable Information to Help You Protect Your Ministry

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Imagine your worst case scenario. You receive a call that there have been allegations against one of your volunteers involving a young girl in the second grade class. What are you feeling?

Horror?

Fear?

Anger?

Guilt?  

Performing Church Background checks has become as essential as unlocking the doors in the day-to-day operations of the church. The news is filled with stories and it seems these days that rather than being a place of safety, the church represents an environment of opportunity for those with intent to harm the unsuspecting, weak and defenseless. 

In our litigious society, churches need to exercise reasonable care as they carry out their various ministries. Conducting background checks is one of those areas that the courts have determined as one of the basics of “reasonable care.” Every 43 hours at least one convicted sex offender tries to attain a position at a youth-oriented non-profit organization. Yet, only 57% of pastors conduct a church background check, or have background check programs of any kind. The following is an example of how conducting background checks helped prevent a catastrophic outcome.  

There was one individual who contacted several of the pastors at a church, developing relationships with them and dropping hints that he’d like to be involved with their junior high ministry. By the time he had befriended several of the pastors, there was a presumed outcome of his acceptability to volunteer in that ministry. Thankfully, they had a risk manager who ensured their standard procedures were followed. Completion of the criminal background check showed this man to be a registered sex offender who was seeking access to their junior high girls.

 

It matters not how well you think you know someone, setting the policy in place and adhering to the policy in every case without exception, is essential to a healthy operation. As part of our risk management services we have created background check forms to assist you in this process. These are included in your manual as well as available on our website, along with tutorial training videos to help you conduct a background check meeting with all staff and volunteers regarding this process. Feel free to contact us for assistance and we will gladly help you in protecting your ministry. 

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