Don't Take a Vacation from Background Screening 

Even summer staff should be screened and trained

In addition to Vacation Bible School, youth ministry outings, and other fun events, the summer months mean a change in Sunday school volunteers at many churches. Those who serve in children’s or youth ministry through the school year often take the summer months off.

In the midst of filling empty slots, don’t forget about the importance of properly screening and training all staff and volunteers who work with the children and young people at your church. Just because school is out doesn’t mean that your children’s ministry can take a vacation from safety.

Step 1: Recruit

If your church finds itself in need of some new volunteers this summer, offers some excellent volunteer recruitment tips. Keep in mind that Brotherhood Mutual recommends ministries employ the six-month rule when it comes to children’s ministry volunteers. This means that adults who want to volunteer in the children’s ministry must attend the church regularly for at least six months prior to serving. With that in mind, here are some good places to search for those summer volunteers:

  • College students who are home for summer break.
  • Teachers, professors, and other professionals who have summers off.
  • Retirees who may be gone through the winter months but spend their summers attending your church.
  • Older teens who regularly attend youth group can serve as excellent assistants.


Step 2: Screen

Once you’ve identified your summer recruits, don’t forget the most important step: conducting background checks on each of them. Brotherhood Mutual offers information about background screening and several articles and other resources to help your children’s ministry ensure a safe environment for the young people you serve.

“Vacation Bible School Safety Precautions” may be about VBS procedures, but many of the staffing tips in this article also apply to Sunday school and other children’s ministry events.

Another helpful resource may be our “Employee Training Checklist.” While it addresses training paid staff, many of the checkpoints are also helpful for training volunteers. And don’t forget the importance of having each new volunteer fill out a “Youth Worker Application.” If your volunteers have served during previous summers, the “Youth Worker Renewal Application” is an excellent way to update your records. Because criminal background checks cannot be effectively conducted on minors, it's especially important to use a comprehensive worker application that asks for the names of two or three references--teachers, coaches, youth leaders, or other people who know the applicant well. For more information about screening minors, see "Hiring Minors for Ministry Work."

Step 3: Have Fun!

Fun is a natural part of the summer season. Once you’ve put the right volunteers in place, sit back and enjoy the warm weather, sunshine, and fellowship that follows.