A Sunday School Teacher

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.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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One Response to A Sunday School Teacher

  1. Paul Loeffler says:

    I am amazed at the places that still don’t do background checks. Granted, I live in Montana, where you might get shot rather than mess with calling the cops if you get caught doing anything to their kids. On the other hand, it’s the state with one of the highest number of registered sex offenders per capita. I bring this all up to say that I started volunteering at a middle school track team last year. This year, one of our home-school high schoolers is joining me as a way to reach out to students who don’t know Jesus, and one of our middle school church volunteers may be also joining me. So far, none of us have even filled out a volunteer application for the job. I did get fingerprinted and checked when I applied to substitute teach, but that was specifically for the paid job. Amazing.