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Does Your Church Conduct Background Checks?

by Desiree Bryant 10/28/2008 5:30:00 PM

Pastor Pleads Guilty to Stealing 200K from Church…

Churches and all other nonprofit organizations need to take a closer look at the risks of hiring pastors, volunteers or anyone without conducting background checks.  In a recent case reported by Cleveland’s Newsnet5, a pastor took money from a fund for the poor, stole another church member’s identity, and took out loans against the church’s assets. This man, Donald Robinson, had already served time in a federal prison for real estate fraud in another state. A simple background check would have prevented him from victimizing this church and its members.

There are countless historical and recent incidents of pastors, priests, and other religious leaders taking advantage of their positions and financial contributions from members.  Affordable background checks are now readily available to help stop these individuals from infiltrating your organizations.

All nonprofit organizations seek to gain from background checks for many reasons other than embezzlement and identity theft.  Child sex abuse is a growing problem for religious organizations as well as other areas of society. The Baptist Press issued a press release last month on the initiative of the International Mission Board (IMB) to increase the use of background checks, mainly to protect children from sex abuse.

If your organization is concerned about affording background checks, the costs are far less than that of a catastrophic incident. offers a Volunteer Tracking System for Nonprofit organizations that encompasses an overall risk management program at minimal costs. This program is recommended by the National Council of Nonprofit Associations.

Please visit for more information and resources.


12/22/2008 8:43:15 PM #

I am amazed that in this day in age Churches do not conduct background checks.

I know they are running things by faith, but they can still check things out and be informed.

Barry United States

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