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Property and Casualty

Risk Management for the New Church Model in a Post-Covid World

Caring for the church and the Church

2020 produced many challenges for pastors and churches as we moved online or outdoors and reset our ministry expectations. Many churches went back to the basics of what it means to be the Church — with a capital “C” — finding this to be a refreshing time of allowing God to provide for them. Some have realized they no longer need large facilities. And others have remembered and reflected that high-touch services are only one avenue of many that the Lord uses to fulfill the Great Commission.

The Lord has gently reminded us He is not limited to inside the walls of the church; the Lord is limitless when it comes to His glory and life-changing work through the Church.

One thing is certain — the Church will survive and fulfill her calling to be salt and light during challenging times. As we move forward in a prayerfully post-Covid world, we’ve identified a few models for “how-to-do-church” in this new normal and specific risk management recommendations for each:

  1. For growing churches looking for more affordable expansion solutions like repurposing a commercial building, we recommend finding a partner in insurance and risk management that understands your specific needs as a church. As you look for a risk management partner, consider:
    • Will they provide a thorough inspection of the facility?
    • Will they conduct a clear survey of the property?
    • Can they insure the property to replacement cost?
    • Can they help us set appropriate policies in line with local building codes and zoning restrictions?
    • Are they aware of and experienced in addressing liability issues that pertain exclusively to churches and ministries (e.g., religious freedom, child safety, etc.)?
  2. For churches seeking to put their facilities to use during the week through schools, daycare or coffee shops, consider:
    • Adding a new legal entity for any non-church sector created
    • Creating a facility use policy and contract for each entity, requiring tenants to operate in accordance with church values
    • Requesting proof of insurance
    • Requiring tenants to follow worker’s compensation laws

    As churches are generally non-profits, engaging for-profits in business can be tricky. Make sure you discuss your ideas and potential partnerships with a qualified Christian accountant and lawyer before entering any agreements.

  3. For adapting “home churches” serving small groups, consider:
    • Equipping leaders to prioritize safety and prevention of issues that could arise — with a plan in place if something does occur (e.g., injury or abuse)
    • Creating clear policies for childcare needs
    • Find out what policy (the homeowner’s or the church’s) is primary
    • Accounting for cyber and media liability as you broadcast ministry resources

While not exhaustive, the above list is intended to be a starting point as we enter this new age of church ministry.

ChurchInsure is a division of Anchor Insurance Agencies specializing in the unique insurance and risk management needs of religious institutions. Visit our website to learn how we can serve you at anchor-insurance.com/churchinsure.

Originally posted on GuideStone

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