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Church Risk Management, Developing An Effective Program For A Dynamic & Growing Ministry
Church Risk Management, Developing An Effective Program For A Dynamic & Growing Ministry

Developing An Effective Risk Management Progam *

Assisting ministries with developing, perserving and restoring trust, with excellence.

Our principles are designed for ministries that desire to be dynamic and growing by bringing effective balance to the demands of our challenging culture.

As a person boards an airplane today, they may find the screening and checking which is required bothersome, but most would not think of boarding without it being done, because of their perceived view of the risk involved today. In like manor people are likely to avoid attending or working with your ministry when these are missing for the same reasons. We believe effective risk management is necessary for a ministry to be dynamic and growing today. We offer to assist your ministry with time saving up to date information, suggested safeguards and other written procedures, workshop at your ministry location, that are effective in bringing your risks into a more manageable position.

The need for risk management has always been present for ministries, but today it is even more critical. Without the completion of quality risk management studies and written safeguards which you develop and apply for the realized risks of your ministry, there is little left to protect your ministry leaders or those that you minister too.

The most critical element, begin the process of developing effective plans today, this can provide the road map of recovery for realized factors, that could develop into possible disasters. These development principles given below should provide you and your ministry general guidelines for application. Specific assistance for our clients is available upon request for resources, or consultations in person or other as it is felt necessary for development and implementation. Our assistance for most elements and levels of assistance are provided to our clients at no cost.* Our goal is to assist a ministry with effective written "safeguards" procedures, that provide the protection their Christian workers need so that they do not feel unduly happered as they minister. These developed written "safeguards" and procedures must also satisfy the critical issue of trust for parents and their children, as they attend ministry events.

There is a critical need for checks and balances to be included elements of your risk management for the effective protection of your staff as well as those who attend. This can provide an effective environment for developing, preserving, and restoring trust, without ministry compromise. Dynamic and growing ministries today must have as one of their core values of excellence, unwavering trust. This enviroment must offer a balanced set of standards, safeguards and procedures for both ministry leaders and those who attend. We believe a little higher expectation should be in place with accountability for leaders but parents and children who attend should also be accountable for their deeds as well, agreeing to support the safeguards and procedures by their actions and expectations so as not to place an undue burden on ministry leaders. This balance can provide an enviroment in which all involved persons can feel the security that is necessary for a dynamic and growing ministry today.

Ministry risks and disasters are real in many unexpected ways and levels of intensity in today's rapidly changing culture. Be proactive and begin with results in mind, waiting to react could result in irrational decisions and choices adding to the development of server damage to the ministry and possible demise. Our culture has changed today and is very hostile and unforgiving toward ministries they preceived have errored accourding to their standards.

  • Consider the disaster of the Titanic, the result of having missing risk management plans is quite obvious, even as the Titanic disaster was developing many chose to not believe it was happening, resulting in their demise and others since they did not know how to properly respond no what to do. It is most unfortunate that today's society has been lulled into blissful sleep believing that all things will continue as they are because we are invincible, and for some because invincibility is our right. Then 911 happened, Columbine, fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes have happened.
  • A review of recent disasters as 911, Katrina, Columbine and others have shown that it is critical to "think out of the box" when reviewing worst case scenarios during the risk management study. The 911 report showed that the possible risk management considerations for the World Trade Center Buildings were based on the development of a "small to medium" fire and its development as the worst case risk factor to prepare for, and was noted the buildings were properly prepared for that. Today it is critical that probability and consequences for possible frequency and severity of risk factors must be balanced with possible financial and procedural prevention resources which fit the resources of the entity. Even so because of the World Trade Tower risk factor review more and better fire proofing is now required for all steel in buildings and stronger and wider stairways since it was noted that the stairways were not strong enough to accommodate the weight nor the numbers of people that attempted to evacuate at the same time from the buildings. These two risk factors would has shown themselves during a regular (min. once per year) possible risk management practice, however the risk planners stated in their report when the building was constructed people were smaller in size. The sixe and heat of the fire that developed in the World Trade Towers was not thought possible as one of that size and tempature had never happened before. The added finial critical point noted was that it was thought that the towers were so safe that a risk management plan of the magnitude required for the trade tower disaster was not necessary nor practiced. The choice to not have a plan for the worst case scenario thus did not show the critical construction weakness as was the case for the Titanic disaster. The Titanic was warned of the ice field but navigators of the ship were not alarmed believeing they would not harm the ship much, choosing rather to set a record trip to America for the sake of financial gain. The authorities were aware a possible disaster was developing for the towers but thought no person in their right mind would do such a thing. Today we know that to often events thought impossible can happen and develop disasters of great consequences. In both the Titanic disaster and the 911 disaster, structural integrity and safety was not properly studied for the worst case scenario effectively.

Critical objectives and points to reveiw as you develop your program which we offer: We offer to study and develop plans with our clients to increase their effectiveness. We offer consultations for the development, preservation, and restoration of trust, for our clients as they feel is needed with the use of our Ministry Stewardship Tools. Risk management, disaster recovery plans, insurance, employee benefits, and financing.

  • According to reviews of disasters that have happened throughout history, the first 90 days following the disaster are the most critical for survival.
  • An important critical risk factor is that all procedures "safeguards" be wrtten, followed, and, practiced which are chosen to be applied to each realized risk.
  • Effective communication communicated by the right person is a critical element during and after the first 90 days following a disaster both to the outside world and news media, as well as internally for your ministry. It will lay the foundation for that which follows.
  • Ministries missing effective written "safeguards," procedures can leave ministries with a possible uncontrollable crises when a risk happens as possible irrational decisions are apt to result.
  1. If you are a family, church, church school, denominational office, camp or retreat facility, college, or business these points are basically the same, call a meeting of persons that will bring together all aspects and elements of risk that should be reviewed for potential probability and consequences for possible frequency and serverity of each risk factor so each can be properly discussed by those most closely involved with each.
  2. Next review the collected information from the above group to consider the potential impact of each on the property, life, health, financial, reputation, on going daily operation, and continuity. Some risk factors may have little impact on some of the above aspects while others may bring total destruction to an aspect and others the total entity.
  3. Probability and consequences for possible frequency and serverity of each risk factor must be calulated and factored for effective risk management and proper application of the five risk management techniques.
  4. Probability and consequences for possible frequency and severity of disasters must be balanced with possible financial and procedural prevention resources which fit the resources of the entity.
  5. Most risk factors can be broken down into modules for more effective study, possible prevention, and a proper insurance financial benefit match, or other necessary reserve financing for effective management.
  6. It is critical to note the possible modules of each risk so that it is possible to track possible development and how each module should be dealt with as they develop. This should allow for the coordination of all modules of that possible risk to develop effective management and resolve with as little damage or interuption to all affected aspects of the entity.
  7. Ask worse-case scenarios as it relates to each possible risk factor, to preserve property, life, health, reputation, financial, data integrity and its security, on going daily operations, and continuity.
  8. It is then important to sort out what aspect of the entity is the most critical and then follow with the other aspects in order of importance noting how possible risk factors can effect each.
  9. At this point it is then possible to develop a set of predetermined set of procedures to help the entity recover from each possible potential risk and ensured minimized inconvenience and potential disruption. .
  10. These procedures should identify who will do what, their financial funding, and what priorities based on the above developed information will be used, during the recovery process.
    1. This would include trained people that could step into key positions left vacant from the loss of a person by death or another reason.
    2. This would include trained people that could give helpful and appropriate communication to the ministry, the community, and others as necessary including the news media.
    3. The appropriate timeliness and intensity of the elements of each procedure is as critical as the proper procedure. This can be only developed by observation and discussion of other possible similar risks those involved, and your own practice and application.
  11. Possible module reserve financing is then critical, some provided by properly matched insurance benefits that offer cost effective financing for risk factors, other reserve financing may also be necessary to meet those risk factors insurance can not cover or you feel you can more cost effectively cover yourself. There are also possible risks that were missed with the risk study, that require reserve financing. It is thus necessary to have a financial reserve that is a minimum of one month of expenses and ideally six months in an easily liquid form.
  12. Possible equipment availability, maintenance, and practiced use should be considered as it pertains to the procedures adopted for each potential risk factor with proper reserve financing for it.
  13. Each building should have practice evacuations to test structural integrity and safety factors for all building elements and building safety equipment noted as lacking by the Titanic and World Trade Tower disasters above.
  14. The location of possible emergency facilities for continued daily operations, life, health, with financial reserves should be readily available if and when necessary for them to be needed.
  15. The results of all procedures, priorities, personal, and equipment should have regular specific testing to review results for possible modifications that may be necessary for each to be effective. To ensure their continuity and continuation a signed short report which is continually kept to cover possible accusations of neglect should be done. These can be computer kept from scanned documents.
  16. As a known fact, all things today seem to be in continuous flux so risk management plans must be tested and modified to meet possible changes continuously.
  17. Good records and up to date inventories kept at multiple locations and in multiple formats are as basic to a risk management plan as the plan itself.
  18. Today it is not only critical to develop prudent hiring and firing practices for volunteers and employees but for all ministry leaders in writing. Each ministry worker should be presented annually with all ministry safeguards and procedures that affect their area of ministry, for a required review of understanding, agree to follow, as well as general ministry philosophy, beliefs, direction, and line of authority. A form should be provided for this annual review for then to sign and date and kept on file indefinately in the workers private file.
  19. The critical factor for effective risk management plans are balanced safeguards for the ministry staff as well as those that attend ministry events.
  20. Effective privacy statements should specifically state how you deal with people's personal data and your ministry procedures to keep that data secure. Effective privacy statements and their procedures are an often overlooked very critical element of ministries today.  Data should be kept indefinitely for only those that need to know and be protected for its integrity and security. The violations of people's data could develop into a real disaster. 

To unpack point 19; there should not be two sets of standards for safeguards. We believe a little higher expectation should be in place with atountability for leaders but the paretns and child that attend should also be accountable for their deeds as well agreeing to support the safeguards and procedures by their actions and expectation so as not to place an undue burden on ministry leaders. This balance can provide the effective enviroment in which all involved persons can feel the security that we feel is necessary for a dynamic and growing ministry today.  A "bomb" aspect in your ministry must have its fuse "lit" for an "explosion" to happen, thus it takes the bomb and someone to light it for the explosion.  Working to keep these aspects apart or having effective risk management may save your ministry the resulting harm that could result from missing or ineffective risk management.

The results of effective risk mangement plans should provide an efficient and timely response to all realized risks that may develop into a potential disaster so that your property, life, health, reputation, financial, data integrity and its security, on going daily operations, and continuity, are ensured to have minimized inconvenience and potential disruption. It has been said in some disaster reports, that there were many 911 tower businesses that had disaster plans in place which effectively operated during and after 911 so they were able to resume operations with in hours as well as assist with the aftermath. 

A critical factor:

Insurance, without the foundation of a quality comprehensive risk and disaster study which deals with each realized risk factor, is really a disaster in waiting for your staff and those of your community of faith. Would you think it a wise choice to never take the time to timely check your auto brakes feeling justified with this decision because you have auto insurance? Healthy life choices, as are checking your auto brakes, are the risk mangement safeguards you choose to put in place in your life, to lesson the risk of the premature loss of your life. Ministry insurance is like life insurance, which can not stop you from dying, but can assist with the possible financial aftermath of your death.

Contact us today for assistance in developing effective risk management plans for your family, church, church school, college, denominational office, camp or retreat facility, or business, we offer step by step assistance for our insurance clients.

*This material is not give as an exhaustive or complete developmental plan but is given to prod persons to action in the development of a plan that can reduce their risks. We can not warranty that the application of these points will guarantee you or your entity to be free from any and all adverse effects of any risk, however, their application should reduce adverse effects of the risks you review. As with all material on our web page we encourage you to seek the advice of your legal advisor and other necessary advisors as you develop a plan that may meet your specific needs before implantation. You should also check with appropriate local, state and federal agencies that are an important source of assistance and information noting any of their directives or restrictives specific to you or your entity that you should follow as you develop your program. Plans may need to vary from state to state or local governmental agency that may require conformity of some aspect to bring your risk management in line with them. Your size, your type, complexity, and the risk factors of your location should also be reviewed since these can have a great bearing on necessary risk management.

* The consulting contracted fees for non-clients are usually $100 per hour plus the cost of materials, usually a small amount. Any felt legal assistance is offered at an agreed fee as contracted with each attorney for requested work for written safeguards/procedures reviews, other reviews, incorporation issues, or other matters including defense. Each attorney charges very resonable fees and has worked with us and our clients for many years.

Last updated 10/01/07

Last updated on Sat, 09/15/2007 - 16:06.
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