Most churches use the national sex offender registry
Close to a third of Southern Baptist churches have joined the OneSource program initiated by LifeWay Christian Resources. The opportunity to combine all their resources and purchase background checks on employees as well as volunteers was offered to all Southern Baptist churches 11 years ago.
The Southern Baptist Convention hasn’t created their own database as they’ve argued that the national registry is more dependable. LifeWay has released data which reveals that 16,000 congregations, as well as different church organizations, have used a service called backgroundchecks.com to run checks on women and men.
In addition to this, there are more denominations than ever before using databases to see if prospective employees have a shady background or not. All of this is picking up steam as the #churchtoo movement alters the church’s perspective on prevention as well as sexual abuse.
Many background checks run through felony, traffic as well as misdemeanor records. In addition to these records, these checks also go through the nationwide sex offender registry. However, some have argued that this might be giving religious groups a sense of security about preventing abuse, which might be misplaced.
Josh Weis, Ministry Brands’ executive vice president, said his organization is crystal clear about the fact that a more in-depth search effort must be made. He went on to say that all background checks aren’t equal. Some are more thorough while others aren’t.
The law on a federal level has mandated that all 50 states in the U.S. implement sex offender registries. However, the law skims over lower-level convictions of sex abuse. Each state has different laws about sex abuse. This has resulted in many sex offenders slipping through the system.Many have argued that churches aren’t doing enough and must invest in more in-depth background searches for volunteers and employees. They mustn’t settle for less expensive searches in the area that the congregation is located as some sex offenders avoid being registered in a state by committing crimes in different states.
Some churches only check their volunteers and employees records once. They don’t recheck them. Weis has said that his organization recommends that churches check annually.
An organization which offers services to prevent sexual abuse is Protect My Ministry.