Six-Month Rule Before Serving
Should the six-month rule apply to pastors' spouses?

Question:
Our church implemented a child protection program based on Richard Hammar's Reducing the Risk curriculum. We train everyone who serves in our children's ministry using the RTR video. We also have volunteers fill out applications and reference information, and we do background checks on people who are just joining the team. Recently, one of our pastors married. His wife wants to serve in our children's ministry. However, she has only been a member of the church for a couple of months. We require volunteers to be part of our church for at least six months before serving in children's ministry. Should this rule apply to the pastor's spouse?

Answer:
In many cases, the six-month rule cannot be applied to employees (and their spouses) since they usually have not been members of the church for at least six months prior to their date of hire. It would be unreasonable in these circumstances to make the person become a member and then wait for six months in order to be qualified for service. In such cases the legal obligation remains the same—to exercise reasonable care in selecting the worker. All of the other precautions identified in the Reducing the Risk program would still apply, and implementing them would go a long way in establishing an exercise of reasonable care.

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Posted: March 8, 2011
View All
from our store
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws

State by state laws to report child abuse.
Essential Guide to Children's Ministry Safety

Essential Guide to Children's Ministry Safety

Understand and implement best practices to protect kids in your ministry.
Confronting Peer Abuse in Your Church

Confronting Peer Abuse in Your Church

Learn how to watch and protect the children under your care from peer abuse at church.
Check-In and Check-Out Procedures

Check-In and Check-Out Procedures

Learn how to establish check-in procedures that keep children safe.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.