Although the church provides a loving and nurturing environment for all members of the family and community, there are still risks that come with gatherings and events in every arm of ministry. It is the church leader’s job to be aware of these risks and develop risk-assessment plans that protect the church and its members over time. A risk management plan must be comprehensive in order to fully protect the interests of the church. Given the right management and attention, making small strides towards protecting the flock can lead to big successes in the future.
One Step at a Time
While the process can seem daunting at first, the key is to start small by identifying minor risks and vulnerabilities in specific areas of the church. From this small stepping stone, you can build on your plan and policies as you move towards the future. A big part of success is putting the program under the supervision of good, motivated people as well. Form a committee that is dedicated to the project and understands the value of the plan as a church asset. Additionally, the people given charge must also possess enough authority in the church to actually make things happen. It can also be important to give the leaders a strong start by incorporating professionals in the community such as accountants into the structure of the directive.
The Critical Areas
Getting the program off the ground running can mean targeting areas where the risk to church members is the most evident. For instance, many small churches have great success in addressing daycare centers and transportation services in the beginning. As they begin to build policies and develop their skills for this area of management, they will be better equipped to deal with other areas of the church where the risks and the dynamics of programs may be more subtle or involve more complex legal issues.
Taking Action and Responsibility
Once plans and precautions have been established, it is important for the lines of communication to remain open. There should be periodic training for established procedures as they evolve and volunteers or central employees continue working in the church. The plans should be continually updated as new problems are identified and addressed through the existing risk-management plan.