June 9, 2011
How to Manage Risk at Church
Four steps to develop a risk management plan
David Middlebrook, editorial advisor for ChurchLawAndTax.com and ChurchSafety.com’s “Ask the Expert,” has developed an easy way to understand and develop a risk management plan. Each letter of the word “risk” stands for a step in the process:
R – Rate Your Risk
Do you intentionally try to understand your church’s risk profile? Which of the following is most like your church?
- A risk-friendly church engages in risky conduct to preach the gospel. Intercity ministry, working with homeless and hungry people, is a good example of this.
- A risk-neutral church stays away from many risky activities but has not done any planning to understand its risk profile. This church would need to understand each of its activities to start risk management planning.
- A merely risk-conscious church knows that it is engaging in risky activities yet has no policies or procedures to deal with these risks.
I – Insuring Your Church
Write a list of everything your church is doing and share this with your insurance provider to make sure your church has proper insurance coverage and policies in place to reduce risk to your ministry.
S – Strategy
Check if your church has the proper strategies in place to deal with risks at your church. If not, start writing policies and procedures.
K – Know How to Communicate Your Church’s Risk to Your Church
Develop a plan to communicate these risks and any policies and procedures to manage these risks.
After you’ve developed a risk management plan for your church, keep these steps on hand for the next time your church discusses and starts a new activity. Assessing your R.I.S.K. will give you a quick way to determine what additional measures you should take to protect your church.
For comprehensive risk management information, see the Risk Management Handbook for Churches and Schools (Christianity Today International).