The Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service has warned that current safeguards against child abuse were very low.
Its survey suggests most churches fail to check references before appointing youth workers.
The Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service questioned 750 churches of all denominations and found the safeguards were dangerously low.
Barely a third of churches took up written references of people applying for jobs and almost one in ten asked no questions at all.
Training in child protection was also deficient with one in six providing no instruction whatsoever.
The charity's director David Pearson said failings in the quality of information kept about Ian Huntley had ultimately led to the murders in Soham. He said immediate action was needed to avoid a repeat of the tragedy.
Both the Church of England and Catholic church in Britain have been affected by the convictions of priests for child abuse in their parishes.
Both have maintained that much work has now been done to ensure everything possible is done in making sure cases of abuse are quickly identified and dealt with.
A spokesman for the Church of England added: 'Ninety percent of Anglican Churches use Criminal Records checks for new children's workers, and we would like to see this figure reach 100%.
"We welcome the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service research and hope it will encourage churches to do what the Church of England's House of Bishops Child Protection Policy has already asked them to."