It’s been called a “nuisance” and an “outrage” by some people and a “godsend” and “good thing” from others. However, there’s no doubt that performing background checks (even if it’s just handled through fingerprinting) on church volunteers does provide more than a small measure of protection for the members of any house of worship.
Though some folks are quick to assume that background checks keep people from volunteering at religious centers, there’s no hard data to back that fact. Actually, it seems that having background checked volunteers gives a church an excellent way to encourage members to allow volunteers to watch children, help out with the nursery, etc.
Do church workers need the most comprehensive background checks available? Perhaps not. But even a simple one will let the religious institute’s powers-that-be find out quickly if someone should be working with children or others who could be vulnerable.
In the end, it’s a sign of the times, but it’s also an incredible opportunity for churches to step up to the plate and prove that they are serious about keeping their flocks secure.