Years ago we had a dream of creating a risk management system for churches. We started with researching and writing a couple sample policies in order to help our ministries. Then we decided to create an entire risk management manual and deliver one to each of our pastors. What we discovered is that our churches now owned another book. Those sample policies, although in the manual, weren’t doing the ministry any good if they weren’t being adopted and implemented.
So now, we have a new idea and we think you might approve. Take your current risk management manual. Not sure where it is? It’s probably on a shelf! *insert sarcasm* Now, remove all the sample policies and throw them away, leaving only the dividing tabs. Why are we telling you to do that? Pick your jaw up off your desk and I’ll explain.
Those sample policies will not help you in a lawsuit anymore than a dictionary; unless you want to look up the definition of lawsuit. The only way they become useful is if you actually adopt them, and can show documentation of when that adoption occurred. For further reading on policy adoption check out this blog. Meeting Minutes
On our website we have a risk management library for our clients to use. Simply log in and go to risk management documents. See, we made it really simple for you. From there you click on a policy and it will automatically download. Most of our policies use the term “Sample Church” in the forms. You can use the “Find & Replace” tool in Microsoft word to replace sample church with the name of your ministry.
As you work your way through tweaking the samples to make them your own, print them out and add them to your folder under the appropriate tabs. Once they have been adopted I recommend putting a copy of the meeting minutes with that policy in the manual. That way if you are ever questioned as to the origin date, it will be easy to find. As to documenting communication of the sexual misconduct policy for example, have a sign in sheet for everyone who has received a copy. Place that sheet in the manual with your sexual misconduct policy as well.
The purpose of this to make sure that the risk management manual sitting on your shelf is full of policies and procedures you have agreed upon, adopted, documented and communicated to your congregation. That is what makes the manual priceless.