Your Church Is At Risk!

When it comes to managing risks in any church or ministry setting, prevention is most important.  Prevention is anticipating what might happen and then developing policies or procedures to reduce the probability of something happening. Preventing or reducing the possibility of something bad happening can have a major impact on your ministry. That’s easy to say, but ultimately more difficult to accomplish. Losses leading to litigation can happen in virtually any ministry settings. Even if you do everything right, the possibility of being sued still exists.

I have noticed four trends in church and ministry operations that seem to come up at some time or another. Chances are your ministry will face one or more of these issues. My goal is to help you identify the risks and manage them. The four risk and safety trends discussed in this article shed light on risks that churches and ministries have faced in recent years.

Sex Offenders at Church-Today, it is becoming more common for ministries to have registered sex offenders attending services. Three things you need to have in place:

  1. Written policies and procedures
  2. Adequate supervision
  3. Ministry restrictions

I have a useful set of policies and procedures for you to consider. Contact me today and I can help you through the process.

Employment Liability– When it comes to employment litigation, churches are sued at about the same rate of private business. Much of the litigation has to do with improper termination of pastors or other staff. It used to be unthinkable for Christians to sue one another, but today that is not the case. Every ministry needs to have a complete set of employment policies. It is most important that you follow the procedures in your employment policy handbook. In addition, Employment Liability Insurance can be added to your church package at a very reasonable cost. I recommend that any ministry with employees have Employment Liability Insurance.

Security- The development of a safety and security team is an excellent start to preventing occurrences. A safety and security team can be useful in responding to all emergencies, whether they are related to weather, medical illness, injury, or a traumatic incident. Churches are now considered “soft” targets. A “soft” target is a facility that has easy access to a lot of people with very little security.  Developing a security team will reduce your risk of the next wacko targeting your ministry.

Background Checks- I recommend that all staff and volunteers be required to submit to a background check. A good rule of thumb to follow is to check with the local school system to determine the schools screening process, and whether or not school policy would prohibit an individual with a particular conviction from working within the school system. Checks don’t have to include everyone every year. But all new employees and volunteers should be checked. For current employees and volunteers you might consider checking one third annually. If you have a small staff I recommend checking everyone at least every three to five years.  You may be surprised what you find.


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