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Background Checks are on the Rise in Churches

More than 25,000 background checks conducted by churches or organizations on prospective workers in the past three years have turned up more than 1,600 felony offenses, with the number of organizations conducting background checks having risen 27% in the past year, according to LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since launching LifeWay.com/backgroundchecks in 2008, more than 1,656 different churches or organizations have conducted 25,470 background checks. Of those, more than 45% (11,656) returned a criminal hit. A “hit” is any kind of incident, ranging from minor traffic violations to felony convictions, explained Jennie Taylor, marketing coordinator in LifeWay’s direct marketing department. Excluding traffic and non-traffic infractions (jay-walking, noise pollution, etc.,) more than 20% (5,107 searches) returned records with misdemeanor or felony results. More than 1,600 of those 5,107 searches returned felony offenses. “Churches are realizing that this is something they need to be doing,” Taylor said.

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