Q & A – Church Volunteer Screenings


Dad -and -daughterIn a
blog post last week
, I talked about church safety and the fact
that that fewer than half of all churches screen their paid
children’s ministry workers. Around that same time, I found out
about Group’s background checking service, Shepherd’s Watch, which
has been revamped and improved. As I looked into the service, I
found Melissa Towers, who is the Adult and Church Leadership
Product Manager for Group, and I spoke to her about why it’s so
important for churches to screen their volunteers.


David Jennings (DJ): Why is it more important
than ever to screen your ministry volunteers and workers?

Melissa Towers (MT): In this day in age, it
seems that we hear about more and more cases of child abuse and
sexual predators taking advantage of minors. This is probably the
number one reason that churches do background checks-to keep their
children and youth safe. Predators look for places that would be
easy for them to gain access to children and youth. In the past,
churches have been seen as places for easy access. However, because
having a background check policy in place has become more
commonplace in the church, predators are learning to stay away from
them. When churches are consistent about requiring background
checks for anyone working with minors, then it deters predators
from volunteering or obtaining a position at their church. Of
course, this isn’t the only reason a church needs to run background
checks. They would also want to be sure to screen those who are
working with vulnerable adults, driving church vehicles, and those
handling church money such as ushers and treasurers, to name a

It’s important to note that background checks aren’t the only
way to keep the church and the people within the church safe, but
they are an essential piece of the puzzle. Background checks only
warn you of someone if they’ve been caught and have a record. So
it’s also very important to get personal references and do other
things to ensure the people coming to your church are safe. Because
we understand this, Shepherd’s Watch not only helps with getting
affordable and accurate background checks, but we also help you to
understand the other things to do to ensure your church is a safe
place to be.

DJ:  What is unique/better about
Shepherd’s Watch?

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MT:  Shepherd’s Watch is a service offered
by Group
. Group has been in the business of working with
churches since 1974. Because of our history with churches, we
understand the needs of the church. We understand their unique
risks, we understand how the church operates, we understand a
church’s budget, and we understand who the church serves. Plus,
we’re trustworthy and we’ve negotiated low-cost background checks
for our members. It’s just a one-time fee to become a member and
there are no minimum orders or hidden fees.

DJ:  Any testimonials or a story of
someone who screened potential volunteers that our readers should

MT: When we talk to churches who don’t run
background checks, we like to ask them why. One misconception we
hear is that they’re just too expensive. With Shepherd’s Watch, we
have background check packages starting at just $9. When you
consider the possible risks associated with not running background
checks, this is actually a very small price to pay. We also
commonly hear “our church is small and we know everyone” or “our
church has been around for so long, everyone knows each other.” But
think about the last person you saw in the news who was convicted
of a terrible crime. Often- times when their neighbors or friends
are interviewed, they express  surprise about how they never
would have expected it from that person. The fact is, people aren’t
going to tell you they’re a bad seed. So it’s the church’s
responsibility to make sure that they keep their church and the
people in their church safe. Background checks are a crucial part
of that.


One out of every 10 people who try to work with children has a
criminal conviction. As Melissa said, background checks are one
piece of a puzzle to keep your ministry and kids safe. I want to
hear what other steps you take for security. Let us know what you
do in the comment section below!


About Author

David Jennings

David has served kids around the world for the majority of his life. From Texas to Romania, he has followed where God has led him. Most recently, he served for six years as a children's director in the great state of Alabama before moving to Colorado to work for Group as an associate editor. He is now serving in the church again! Our loss is kids' gain!

1 Comment

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