Christ taught that children are important and that they need to be protected (Matt. 18:1-6). A church can never be too careful when it comes to protecting children from harm. Criminal background checks are a tool that will help you protect the children that God has put under your church’s care.

  • The primary reason to do criminal background checks is to keep people with records or problems out of your children’s ministry.  It is unlikely that you will “catch” anyone with the background check, but when someone with a record hears that you require one, they will simply move on to another church.
  • Background checks provide a better defense for the church if a problem occurs and a lawsuit results.  Generally speaking, a church can lose a lawsuit if it has failed to meet adequate standards in the recruiting/hiring process or because it has failed to oversee a worker properly.
  • Be aware that people will object to giving out their social security number for background checks.  Even if they are aware and supportive of the need to pursue the check, they are fearful of disclosing that piece of personal information.
  • The price of not doing background checks far outweighs the inconvenience and relatively small price of doing the background check.  The damage that results from sexual abuse cannot be understated.  Sexual abuse devastates the victim and the family of the victim.  Its affects will reverberate through your children’s ministry, your pastoral staff, and even your ability to evangelize the lost.
  • Background checks reassure parents that their children are safe and that your church is serious about protecting children.  If a parent thinks that a child isn’t safe, that child will not be in a children’s ministry and the parent will tell other parents. Bad news spreads faster than good news.

Mike Plog, pastor
Faith Baptist Church
Amherst, Ohio