A Church That Doesn’t Take Any Chances With Youth Safety

KUER Radio

December 3, 2018

By Lee Hale

On a typical Wednesday night at South Mountain Community Church in Draper, about 60 teenagers are gathered for youth group. There’s loud music playing over the speakers, lots of chatter and a very competitive foosball game in the corner of the room.

The youth night vibe is typical for a non-denominational Christian church: laid back, casual. But at SMCC they are anything but laid back when it comes to keeping the youth in this room safe.

In the past year, a rekindled national dialogue has focused on child and youth safety in religious settings, driven in part by revelations of abuses by Catholic priests, sexually explicit questions in a Mormon bishops office or #metoo accounts with pastors of megachurches. But SMCC is one church that hasn’t taken any chances when it comes to protecting children.

In fact every adult volunteer in the room — and there are a lot of them — has undergone a background check through Utah’s Department of Public Safety. Youth pastor Shane Lingo sees vetting the volunteers as one of the most critically important parts of his job.

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