It seems that the words “pastor,” “priest” or “Sunday school teacher” used to bring good thoughts to mind. Unfortunately, it seems that the headlines of late are filled with bad examples of people that hold these titles.
Many of you have probably followed the story of the 8-year-old girl that disappeared on March 27th, only to be found last week in a piece of luggage pulled from an irrigation pond near her home in Tracy, CA… about an hour from my house. Sad story. Keep the family of this little girl in your prayers.
Last Saturday I woke up to reports from my local news announcing that her Sunday school teacher was just arrested in the slaying of the 8-year-old. The next morning, newspapers were filled with headlines like this article : Sunday School Teacher Arrested In Cantu’s Death.
Two thoughts about these headlines:
1. Regardless of how this turns out, the church’s reputation is being dragged through the mud once again. Thanks to a small percentage of weirdos, It’s getting more and more difficult to place positive adult role models in the lives of kids because of incidents like these. If a female Sunday School teacher- also a mom– isn’t safe… who is? (I touched on this before is this blog)
2. The church needs to be better about screening volunteers. It’s sad, but we sometimes get either too lazy or too desperate for help to go through the proper steps of recruiting and screening volunteers. I go through these steps in great detail in my book THE NEW BREED, a book about Recruiting, Training, Managing and Occasionally Even Firing Today’s Volunteers.
My dad, who co-authored that volunteer book with me, recently pastored a church where they needed to implement some policies and procedures to screen volunteers. They all used GROUP’s Church Volunteer Central – an online package for background checks, etc. I highly recommend using something like this to screen our volunteers.
I just started coaching track as a volunteer for my daughter’s middle school. I had to get fingerprinted, a background check, the whole deal. As churches, we need to provide the same sort of care and professionalism with our volunteers.