We have a duty to protect the assets we have been entrusted. We must provide an environment that is safe for employees, members, guests, and volunteers so the ministry of our church can grow. We must continue to invest in risk management as a part of ministry.Complacency in risk management is one of the greatest threats we as leaders face. This can be remedied by making risk management a key priority at all levels of our organizations. Additionally, we must provide more intentional education for our leaders, staff, and volunteers. Together, we can accomplish this.
The 2018 North American Division (NAD) Risk Management Initiatives are comprised of five main areas that organizations can focus on in the following 12 months. The emphasis on these initiatives in no way should take away from current processes and practices of safety and risk management.
The emphasis during 2018 will create opportunities for organizational leadership to support, through quantifiable actions, risk management initiatives throughout their organizations.
The 2018 NAD Risk Management Initiatives are:
- Risk Management Committee
- Pastors Risk Management Awareness and Education
- Preparing for International Chosen Camporee
- Emergency Planning
This is a continuation from 2017 because it is important that we set organizations up for success. Setting the tone from the top by addressing risk management is a core part of ministry with key leadership. This is critical if risk management strategies are to be effective. It is important for leadership to designate the time and resources to address the protection and stewardship of the assets entrusted. Implementation of a safety committee will set the tone that identifying risks and managing them is important to our organizations’ long-term ministry.
RISK MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
Take the time to schedule or form a risk management committee by no later than January 31, 2018. Set at least two committee meetings on the calendar for 2018. Key members should include the President or Pastor depending on your organization, as well as other key department leaders.
Review and create opportunities for educational presentations during 2018. Review received surveys/self-inspections and recommendations and responses. Identify actions to follow up with local church/school as needed.
If your organization still owns or uses a 15-passenger van, set an actionable plan in place to remove them from all use, including renting or borrowing.
PASTORAL RISK MANAGEMENT AWARENESS AND EDUCATIONPastors continue to be the key leaders in our churches. The areas that the pastor values and understands become the priorities of the church. If our churches are going to be more effective in risk management, we must support our pastors through educational opportunities and resources to raise their awareness and knowledge in this area. This initiative is focused on providing pastors the knowledge and resources that will equip them to lead their church in risk management. The goal is not to detract from the spiritual role of the pastor, but educate in the following areas:
- Local church big picture issues such as: apparent authority, contracts and contractors, child protection planning, and physical plant maintenance and insurance.
- Delegating with a system of accountability and follow-through by electing a safety officer(s)/committees that reports to the board. Prioritizing self-inspections and follow-up on recommendations, as well as life safety and emergency planning.
Pathfinder clubs across the NAD and around the world will be traveling to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the Chosen Camporee in 2019. This event represents a significant ministry opportunity that should not be diminished by loss, injury, or harm. Pathfinder leadership will need to be equipped with the knowledge and resources to plan ahead and lead their clubs effectively in the travel to and from the event, as well as on-site logistics at the camporee.
PREPARING FOR THE 2019 INTERNATIONAL PATHFINDER CAMPOREE
Clubs face many risk management issues including child protection, supervision, transportation, activity planning, and more that can be challenging to maintain as leadership changes over time. The priority should be on educating our leadership teams with up-to-date guidelines and practices in a way that will equip them to meet these risks.
Review and provide training for your Pathfinder leaders in the following areas:
- Activity planning and parental permission
- Travel aspects including travel insurance to the camporee, 15-passenger vans, and renting buses
- Implementing a child protection plan
- Providing adequate supervision
- Health and safety guidelines
SURVEYS/INSPECTIONSMaintaining your facilities will keep members and visitors safe as they lead out and participate in the ministry. Many slips, trips, and falls have led to large claims. While we as an organization can choose to pay for these claims through our retentions and insurance, it is always better to prevent potential injuries. We must also maintain our buildings so they last longer, and are available in good repair for ministry events and activities.
ARM has partnered with various vendors to conduct surveys of many properties across the NAD over the last three years. Noted issues can include safety hazards, vacant or damaged property, or other conditions that might make the property unsafe for use and uninsurable. These notifications have been shared with the insured for follow-up. Local churches and schools can also make use of the opportunity to conduct self-inspections on a regular basis. Presenting the results to the board and following up on recommendations is the key step in closing the loop on this process.
EMERGENCY PLANNING – ACTIVE SHOOTER INCIDENTSOur churches have a moral and legal obligation to those worshiping with us to provide a safe environment. Churches are ‘open’ places for individuals to come together. Emergency situations will arise that require evacuations, shelter-in-place protocols, and the ability to address scenarios such as a missing child.
The only way for these processes to work well is with practice. Knowledge and practice is helpful for those in the pews, but also for the individuals (pastors, deacons, deaconesses, Sabbath school leaders, and others) who must coordinate the activity.
Safety Sabbath 2018 will take place on March 24 – a day to emphasize safety and emergency planning. Each church should conduct at least one type of drill by or on that date. Churches are encouraged to conduct drill activities more frequently throughout the year.
Church leadership should visit SafetySabbath.com and register for updates, information, and all needed resources. They are asked to report back to ARM on their experience after their drill to receive a certificate of completion.
The drill of emphasis for 2018 will be the Active Shooter Drill to prepare churches for potential violent incidents. There will be resources for other drills, including fire and earthquake drills, that churches can also use. Emphasis must be given on conducting drills in a safe and friendly manner in order to educate the congregation and equip attendants with knowledge and experience rather than causing injury, fright, or conflict.