Getting Started with Background Checks (Best Practices)

Getting Started with Background Checks (Best Practices)

If you are just getting started with background checks at your church, here are some things to help you get started successfully. 

(1) Make a Plan, Establish your Church Policy

We give some suggestions below, but your church needs a clear plan and policy for background checks.  Criminal Watch Dog lists this as one of the biggest legal threats to churches today – neglecting the diligence and responsibility of knowing the people who are serving within your church.  Creating a clear plan and policy gives you peace-of-mind, and also builds trust as people know your leadership team takes safety and security seriously. 

    • Make a list of all your Volunteer Teams, and decide which teams need background checks.
    • Decide which background check each team/role should have.
    • Commit budget to making sure these background checks are ran initially and maintained yearly.

      • NOTE: This policy should be documented in the Bylaws of your church if they are not already.


Faith Teams Recommendations:

    • Motor Vehicle Record (MVR)
      • Anyone who drives any of your church-owned vehicles
      • Anyone transporting church members (kids or adults) in their personal vehicles
    • Basic Check
      • Some examples of teams that may suffice with the Basic check:
        • Parking Team, Greeters, Hospitality, Media Team, Store/Resources, Janitorial.
    • Standard or Pro Check
      • The Standard and Pro checks are both great.  They both include COUNTY Criminal Records, which is very important.  The Standard check only includes their CURRENT county of residence, where the Pro check includes UNLIMITED counties, making it the best choice.
        • Standard Check
          • Worship Team is a good example of a team that may suffice with the Standard check
        • Pro Check
          • Teams where you should strongly consider using the Pro check:
            • Kids, Teens, Security, Medical, Financial Teams, Group Leaders, Team Leaders, Paid Staff.


(2) Prioritize your list.

    • Since there is a cost for background checks, if you do not currently have the funds to execute your entire plan, Prioritize your list starting with the ones that are most important (Kid’s, Security, Financial, etc).


(3) Notify People First

    • Send a TEXT MESSAGE or EMAIL to all these people BEFORE you order the report, letting them know what is happening and what to expect.
      • Example: “Hey Team. Just a heads-up. We are updating our records for our Kids Team. Part of our policy is to have a current Background Check on file. You will be receiving an email from “Checkr” asking you for some personal info and approval to run the check.  There’s no cost to you and we will maintain privacy if something surfaces in the report. This process keeps us compliant and legally sound. Thank you so much for all you do to impact Kids!”


(4) Start

    • Order your first run of Background Checks and watch for the results.

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