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Stats show need for background checks

Editor’s note: The stats reported below are not derived from a representative sample. They reflect clients who purchased background check services through LifeWayStores.com/BackgroundChecks without regard to organizational type, denomination, region, demographic make-up or any other determining factors.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In 2008 LifeWay’s direct marketing department began working with backgroundchecks.com to offer background screenings to LifeWay customers at discounted prices.

Since launching LifeWayStores.com/BackgroundChecks, more than 900 different churches or organizations have conducted 11,277 background checks. Of those 11,277 checks, 40 percent (4,458) returned a criminal hit. A “hit” is any kind of incident, ranging from minor traffic violations to felony convictions.

“Churches need to exercise due diligence by running background checks,” said Jennie Taylor, marketing coordinator in LifeWay’s direct marketing department. “There is a $10 base-level background check option that includes a national criminal and sex offender search. It’s a nominal expense to obtain such important information.

“A lot of people out there have speeding tickets or minor offenses,” Taylor said. “Those generally aren’t the people that make background checks such an important part of staffing your organization with volunteers and employees.”

Excluding traffic and non-traffic infractions (jay-walking, noise pollution, etc.), about 21 percent (2,320 searches) returned records with misdemeanor or felony results. More than 600 of those 2,320 searches returned felony offenses.

“Background checks do not predict the future or expose harmful behaviors from individuals who have never been caught,” Taylor said. “But checks can help organizations learn of volunteers or employees who have documented criminal pasts.”

Unfortunately, background checks are a necessity in today’s world, Taylor said. The possibility of uncovering even one potentially dangerous individual makes checks an essential part of the hiring process, she said.

“Most people who volunteer or work in churches are kind, loving, genuine people with hearts for service,” Taylor said. “Background checks help to ensure you avoid situations with the select few who could do a lot of damage.”

For more information, visit LifeWayStores.com/BackgroundChecks.
Brooklyn Lowery is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

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