More Churches Are Signing Up for Background Check Services to Ensure Safety

NASHVILLE (BP) — As churches become aware of potential safety issues, more are signing up for background check services through LifeWay Christian Resources’ OneSource program.

“The numbers have increased dramatically since we began our relationship with backgroundchecks.com,” said LifeWay’s Jennie Morris. “On average, we add 160 customers a month.”

Since January 2009, more than 16,000 customers have conducted more than 320,000 screenings with backgroundchecks.com through the LifeWay OneSource program. In 2018, more than 1,800 new churches signed up for the program.

Part of the growth, Morris said, comes from offering a $10 price point for a search that includes nationwide sex offender registry, various terrorist watch lists, more than 600 million felony, misdemeanor and traffic records searches, as well as Social Security number validation.

According to Morris, around half of the searches return some type of offense. Most are only for minor incidents, but historically, close to 2 in 10 discover a misdemeanor or more serious crime.

Churches have begun to recognize how pervasive abuse in churches can be.

A 2018 LifeWay Research survey found 12 percent of Protestant pastors say someone on church staff has sexually harassed a congregation member at some point in the church’s life, while 16 percent say a staff member has experienced sexual harassment in a church setting.

Having some peace of mind is part of the reason Rachel Steele, a ministry assistant at Mountain Creek Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., said her church uses the service. The background checks are the “first level of due diligence,” Steele said.

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Source: Baptist Press

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