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We're asking some questions about procedures as we update our Church Safety Policy.  Any advice or direction or resources to help would be appreciated. 

1. Are background checks necessary each year for volunteers?

2. We ask every volunteer to sign the Church Safety Policy each year.  Some volunteers have been signing the same policy statement for several years now, even though the policy has not been updated.  We're considering moving to a procedure that would require a signature when first volunteering, but only if the policy updates in the future, or if the volunteer switches posiitions to a different ministry whithin the church.  Thoughts?

3.  We're updating protection policies for posting pictures of parishioners, especially children, on our website.  What's the current thinking on that?  We don't post names by policy already. 

Jim Buss, Elder


Hello Jim,

Our current insurance company requires us to renew our Police Checks every 5 years. We go with that. Most of our volunteers get Vulnerable Sector Checks as they work in Children or Youth Ministry programs, Friendship or are doing pastoral visiting with the elderly or infirm. A very few positions such as Counting Team require Background checks. We have an Attendant Application for those 12-18; and once they turn 18 they are required to complete the Adult application and PVSC.

We have a Safe Church Pledge and Code of Conduct that each person signs, along with an application at the beginning of their volunteering. Every fall we have Refresher Training where we review the basics and any changes that have been made to the policy. We track attendance to make sure everyone is trained.  

We have all our ministries include a media release in their registration forms. The leader of each ministry is required to be aware of who can and cannot be included. Only the leader is allowed to post pictures. Generally they funnel event pics through the office, our Ministry Director does those postings. If children are wearing name tags, we make sure that the name is redacted or cut out of the picture. In the case of a group photo, we occasionally need to substitute a face. We never include names or tag anyone.

Hope this is helpful


Thanks for this question! If you have any more questions or would like to discuss anything further, please don't hesitate to reach out to [email protected] and I'd be happy to connect with you. 

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