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Church Risk: Do Your Policies Need a Checkup?

Church Finance Basics

The beginning of each new year is a great time for churches to set goals for reducing and managing risk. A crucial step in the process involves taking time to review and assess all church policies to uncover areas of risk and discover ways to improve. Use these guidelines to conduct a thorough policy checkup.

Risk Management Policies

Policies to review and implement, if you haven’t already, include the following:

Abuse prevention for minors

The number one reason churches end up in court is sexual misconduct. Because of this unfortunate fact, it’s absolutely crucial to perform background checks on all staff and volunteers who work with minors—no matter how long they’ve been with your church. In addition, require and check two personal references for each person. Maintain a two-adult rule: no child should ever be alone with just one adult. Finally, make plans to conduct regular training on abuse prevention/response for all staff and volunteers.

Cell phones

All church employees, including the pastor and staff, should be required to sign a written agreement prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones and other devices while driving for church business and while driving church-owned or rented vehicles.

Social media

A good policy will require documenting current and intended social media use, implementation of safeguards such as disclaimers and confidentiality protection measures, employee training, and monitoring of all church and church employee social media use.

Emergency Response

Implement (or fortify) a church security/safety team. This team will formulate emergency action plans, train staff and volunteers how to carry out the plans, monitor premises, and more. Local law enforcement can be a great source of help to your security team.


Accidents can be the result of unsafe vehicles, poor driving conditions, distracted drivers, and a lack of training. Develop pre- and post-trip vehicle inspection checklists, and make sure all drivers complete the checklists. Ensure that all vehicles are regularly maintained. Finally, consider requiring all drivers to attend a defensive driving course every few years. Many insurance companies will provide online defensive driver training.

Insurance Policies

Review all church property and general liability insurance policies. Many churches do not understand the types or amounts of coverage they have. Call your agent and ask for a policy review. They will be able to clearly explain what is covered and what is not.

By conducting regular policy checkups, you can greatly improve the safety and security of everyone in your church. If you have questions or would like more information, feel free to contact one of our certified risk managers at 866.662.8210 or email

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