When directing a cm that had a director before you – How to improve the Team Screening

Your Question:

“I am directing a CM that had a CM director before me. How do I establish or improve the team screening process?”

The Issues:

Effective and safe CM team screening should not be free, and it should involve saying “No, thank you” to people who may not qualify to serve on the team.  If your current process is free and lets everyone in to serve on the team, you may not be protecting the children or the ministry.

Scripture Foundation:

“Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.”  Matthew 7: 15-20

Short Answer:

The CM team screening process must not be swayed or influenced by “political” pressures! ALL who serve on the CM team must go through the same screening process, or the protection may be weak. 


Since you are directing a CM that has had a director before you, you may inherit a CM team that hasn’t been completely screened.  Your mind instantly asks, “What if I lose current team members because they either don’t want to be screened, or because they don’t pass the screening process?”  To be a good shepherd of the children’s safety, you must choose the children’s protection over any possible hurt feelings of anyone on your current team! If the current CM doesn’t employ a screening process, work diligently to rapidly establish one!  If you would like to see a sample screening policy, download a sample CM policy manual and customize it to suit your particular church or ministry. You can also download the sample CM forms that are mentioned in the sample policy manual.


If the current CM team does use a screening process, check the CM records to verify that everyone currently serving on the CM team has been screened.  If the screening process that is currently used is only the free Department of Justice (DOJ) background check, there may be team members on the current team who shouldn’t be around children.  An effective CM screening process costs money for each background search! The free DOJ background check ONLY checks for convictions within your particular state.  If a person was convicted of a crime in another state, or if he/she has moved from state to state to avoid criminal conviction, the free DOJ check will not reveal this danger.  A background check that reveals prior arrests, frequent moves, or name changes costs something!  If you need to improve the screening process, and it will cost more than what is currently budgeted, ask God to help you stand firm as you present this additional budget cost to your ministry supervisor or to the senior pastor. If you encounter resistance for the increased expense, remind those who question this expenditure of the “cost” of having a child abused at the church.  What would be the effects of news reports that list the alleged abuse connected to the church name?  What could be the financial effects of a lawsuit for all who are responsible for letting the abuse happen, including the senior pastor? The financial costs of permitting abuse in the CM pales in comparison to the “cost” of stumbling children! Jesus said it would be better (for those who permit a child to be stumbled) for them to be drowned in the depth of the sea! This implies that the results of permitting a child to be stumbled (abused) is more destructive than being drowned!  God cares deeply for the protection of the children, and so should we!


If you need to establish a new screening process, or support the current one, you may be faced with screening those who are currently serving in the CM.  You can almost guarantee “push back” from doing this.  You must stand firm and remind those who resist being screened that everyone, including yourself, will be screened!  If there are those who resist, you must kindly thank them for their service, and excuse them from serving in the CM.  Before you do this, make sure you inform the senior pastor or your immediate supervisor.  If there are “strong supporters” (significant tithers) among those who may need to be retired from the CM, you may be told to excuse them from being screened for the sake of causing disruption in their support.  This challenge is something you must deal with between you and God. Do you stand firm on your commitment to protecting children, or do you compromise for the sake of your job?  Hopefully, you never have to face that decision! For more help on this challenge, click the links below.

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