Is Your Ministry as Safe as It Could Be?

Have you thought through potential dangers that may confront your ministry? Taking steps to consider and address these risks provides important protection from injuries, lawsuits, fires, and dozens of other hazards that may affect your ministry, especially your employees and those you serve.

Here are some ideas to help you develop a risk management plan for your church or ministry:

  • Choose good people. Create one or more committees of people who understand and value risk management. If possible, choose professionals involved in your ministry to help in specific areas; e.g., an accountant for financial issues and a building contractor to evaluate facility risks.
  • Take small steps. Break the process into several steps. Focus on the areas most central to your ministry, such as your children’s ministry or sports program.
  • Identify hazards. Consider any risk that can cause injury, illness, death, loss, or damage to equipment or property. Such risks range from weather and medical emergencies to child sexual assault and counseling liabilities. Identify risks specific to your ministry.

Develop the Plan

Once you have finished preparations, you’re ready to begin work on your risk management plan.

  • Assess the risks. Estimate the probability and severity of each potential risk. Think in terms of worst-case possibilities to get a credible measure of how severe a risk could become. With the results, you will have a useful tool for identifying which risks you should give closest attention.
  • Analyze risk control measures. Identify specific strategies and tools that reduce or eliminate risks. There’s a range of options, from deciding not to take a risk at all to finding ways to reduce, accept, or transfer the risk. Consult with your church’s attorney for assistance.
  • Make risk control decisions. Once you have chosen a strategy, determine the level of risk remaining. Do you think the remaining risk is acceptable? Should you modify the plan to develop measures to better control the risk?
  • Implement risk controls. Document your plan fully and implement it with appropriate resources. Communicate the plan to church or ministry employees, volunteers, and others involved in your ministry.
  • Supervise and review. Make sure everyone follows your plan. Review the plan periodically. Seek feedback from people involved in all aspects of the plan, and use their comments to modify it as needed.

With these suggestions, you should be able to create a risk management plan for your church or ministry that can help you keep everyone, from infants to the elderly, safe.