Churches are trusting and often times too trusting of individuals who want to work in the church, especially with children. Churches are so anxious to have people who want to "volunteer" their services to help out in the church without considering their past or reasons why they may have an interest. A prudent church must protect their children, reputation, and its mission by doing everything possible to avoid using anyone who might damage and harm others.
Preditors seek out the church for two reasons. First of all, it is a natural place for children. Members are trusting and assume the best in every individual. preditors will prey on this. Secondly, many churches do not have any plan or policy to do background checks or have volunteers to fill out an application. Preditors usually avoids seeking any further interests. People with a tarnished past may also be reluctant to follow through with information. Depending on their past (legal issues), some people could still be used in some form of service (not preditors!).
By having information available, it allows the church to provide safety for all its members and helps prepare the church if anyone inside or outside of the church questions the integrity of a volunteer. It may be impossible to screen and catch 100% of the people but in most cases, especially involving law suits, the church that consistently checks out its volunteers, runs background checks, and maintains an adequate safety plan for its people, has been held blameless due to their policy and procedures.
We have seen leaders who were reluctant to bring such policies to their church, calling it a nuisance or inconvience. Such churches are jeopardizing their existance by ignoring the warning signs. The church is no longer immune from such tradegy. Today's church must do everything possible to prevent such tradegies. We hope this outline will help your church or provide additional information on existing forms.
Pastoral Care, Inc. Staff
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