Screening service is mandatory for volunteers working with children.
As of June 18, 2019, Verified Volunteers, a company that provides volunteer screening and background checks for non-profits and service organization, changed its name and began operating under the name Sterling Volunteers. Among its clients is the North American Division (NAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and at the time church leaders in that territory thought the company name change was a good time to select a name to easily identify its own services, leaders reported.
The name chosen for all NAD background screening and training needs is Adventist Screening Verification.
“It is a common practice for a company to change its name as needed,” explained Ernest Hernandez, director of the NAD Office of Volunteer Ministries (OVM), regarding the name change of the organization that partners with the NAD. “But that can be confusing for some, so we have determined that it is now a great opportunity for the church to select a parent name that can remain in our publications and website landing pages on a permanent basis.”
The web-based verification platform features a training and screening system for both employees and volunteers across all conferences in the division. Those over 18 who are voted to serve in volunteer roles in Seventh-day Adventist churches or organizations within the NAD, and those who are employed by the church and working with children and youth, are asked to complete a criminal background check (known as the FB 20) and child protection training through Sterling Volunteers by way of Adventist Screening Verification. This should be completed every three years.
“As we see in the Bible, particularly in Matthew 18:1-6, Jesus placed a high value on the protection of children,” Hernandez said. “Child protection is therefore an essential element in all church-sponsored children’s activities.”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual states, “Church should be a safe place to bring our children. Everyone involved in work with children who are minors must meet all Church and legal standards and requirements” (2018 edition, pp. 168, 169.)
OVM works with thousands of short- and long-term volunteers and mission workers each year and has taken the lead on facilitating the name update. Church leaders are quick to reiterate, however, that the Adventist Screening Verification is for all adult division volunteers and workers who engage with minors.
“As followers of Christ in Seventh-day Adventist organizations in the North American Division, we believe it is our responsibility to nurture and protect the vulnerable within our communities, including our children and youth,” they said.
The original version of this story was posted on the North American Division news site.