General Secretary's Office Global Ministry Center
17001 Prairie Star Parkway, Lenexa, KS 66220
DON'T WAIT UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE: RISK MANAGEMENT AND REVIEW
The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to encourage every local church to conduct a comprehensive risk management review for all areas of its ministry. Far too often the only significant assessment of an organization's risk management strategy comes when it is put to the test because of a catastrophic loss, an injury, or a lawsuit. By thinking ahead and keeping the importance of risk management in front of ministers and boards, churches can protect themselves against situations that could otherwise devastate their mission, and they can make sure they are getting the best protection for the best price.
Does the insurance policy cover all areas of the church's ministry?
Frequently a church maintains coverage with the same insurance company for years. While the coverage may have been adequate at the time the policy was issued, many changes may have taken place in and around the church that could affect its need for insurance protection. It is also possible that the insurance agent is unaware of what the church does and how it operates. It is always good to sit down with an insurance representative each year to walk through all of the things in which the church is involved. Ministries that are frequently overlooked but should be addressed in a policy include day care, before- or after-school latchkey programs, schools and preschools, compassionate ministry centers, food pantries, bus/van ministry, and youth mentoring.
Are any ministries separately incorporated?
Compassionate Ministry Centers and schools are just two examples of church outreach that are frequently incorporated as separate organizations. Be sure the insurance representative understands the legal
structure of all church ministries, including how the boards are selected and how they relate to the church board, how funds are received and distributed, the use of employees and/or volunteers, and any use of church-owned property. Discuss the impact on the local church if there is any liability or loss experienced by these separate corporations. Finally, be sure to discuss the day-by-day way in which these ministries operate. Many churches establish corporations with the goal of shielding the church from liability. Unfortunately, far too many churches continue to treat the corporations as part of the church, without regard to the legal requirements needed to actually preserve any hope of liability protection. If that is the case, the church should seek sufficient insurance protection, in case that corporate veil is pierced.
Is the insurance coverage contingent upon adopting or maintaining certain policies?
If so, have the policies been adopted? Are they current? Are they being followed? Most insurance plans require the church adopt specific policies. A common example is protection against claims of sexual misconduct. These policies are only of value if they are followed and enforced. Should there be an incident and it is determined that the church was not enforcing its policy, don't be surprised if the insurer refuses to cover the incident. The policies are supposed to make the church safer, but no policy in the world can help if it isn't followed.
How does the coverage from your insurer compare to other available policies?
If a church has enjoyed a good relationship with a particular insurer for a number of years, that relationship should not be discarded without good cause. At the same time, talking to competitors is a good way of finding out what might be missing from existing coverage.
PARLIAMENTARY TIPS: HELPING PASTORS WITH ANNUAL MEETINGS
Absentee Voting: The prohibition for this is not just in the Manual; it is Robert’s Rules of Order (RROO) Newly Revised. If someone votes by absentee ballot, but then there is discussion on an issue in the actual meeting, the person who voted by the absentee method will not have been informed about this information before he or she voted. (RROO423-424)
Ballot Approval: The ballot for an annual meeting should be presented to the voting body in advance of the elections. If desired, the ballot could be presented in a church meeting on one Sunday, and then the voting could begin the following Sunday. (RROO434)
Nominating Committee: This is the method for determining what names are placed on the ballot for the annual meeting. A pastor should not simply provide the names for the ballot without coordination/consultation with members of this committee. NOTE: Our bylaws override RROO by making the pastor the chair of the nominating committee. (Manual 113.10)
Ballot Presentation: Church members may not be instructed to vote “yes” or “no” for reelection of the entire church board on a list as one complete group. The church members must have the option of voting “yes” or “no” for each person nominated for a board member position. (RROO 441 – lines11-24)
Polling Place: It is permissible to have a polling place designated in a separate area. With this allowance, attention should be given to ensure that each church member only votes one time during an official election period.
A basic premise of parliamentary procedure is that the will of the majority will be carried out, but that the minority will be heard.
LOCAL/DISTRICT LICENSE CANDIDATE FORM INFORMATION
The process for checking names of local and district minister’s license candidates, (which was implemented and communicated by the General Secretary’s office in February 2011, as a result of a non-monetary agreement to a lawsuit settlement), continues to be in effect indefinitely for all USA/Canada districts. A few reminders and clarifications are:
- Applicable for any newly local licensed minister and any newly district licensed minister (not necessary for renewals with either of these licenses)
- Form not required for any person who is already a Nazarene ordained minister
- Use separate form on each candidate with every submission
- Verify that the candidate’s name is complete and legible on each form
- Communicate to pastors that when the form is submitted for a local minister’s license candidate, it should first be directed to the district office; then district should forward it to General Secretary’s office
- Final response on every form will be provided to the district office
- Forward response for any local minister’s license candidate form to respective pastor
- Process does not involve an official state or federal background check—local churches and districts should have separate procedures for those checks for all ministers
- Form available on the General Secretary’s page at www.nazarene.org at this link:http://nazarene.org/ministries/gensec/loca lforms/display.html
KEEPING KIDS SAFE: NAZARENESAFE.ORG
By Leslie Hart
In a few short weeks, Nazarene Safe will celebrate its first anniversary. Following its unveiling at M11, Nazarene Safe workshops have been hosted by districts across the U.S. as well as on the Africa and Asia-Pacific regions. We will never know how many children and communities have been spared the trauma of sexual abuse or how many effective ministries will continue unabated because their districts heeded the BGS’s call for zero-tolerance and chose to meet their challenge through Nazarene Safe.
Perhaps your district is still undecided about the value of hosting Nazarene Safe training. Having presented in local, district, and regional settings, I am convinced that district workshops offer the most cost-effective and efficient way to equip local churches to protect children from this clear and present danger. As local headlines attest, doing nothing is no longer an option. As uncomfortable as it is, we can no more avoid the subject of sexual abuse than we can the devastating consequences unleashed by its occurrence. Few things deter a child’s openness to the work of the Holy Spirit as cruelly and effectively as being sexually molested, especially when the perpetrator is someone in their church. That is why I preach prevention as the best protection for those entrusted to our care.
Nazarene Safe offers tools to help raise the awareness of sexual abuse and its impact. Seven downloadable videos with accompanying worksheets are provided for free as well as a 90 second promotional video that both highlights statistics on the effects of sexual abuse and also presents the hope of prevention through implementing a Nazarene safe approach. Visit www.nazarenesafe.org and click on resources to see other educational tools and links to helpful websites.
Having spent nearly two decades in full-time pastoral ministry, I recognize the challenge of implementing and sustaining effective change in the local church and know how overwhelming it can be. That is why Step One of the Five Step Nazarene Safe System is “Raising Awareness.” The need for change becomes clear when church leaders become aware of the unimaginable problems created by a single incident of sexual abuse. That awareness is the key to overcoming our natural resistance to change and motivates us to adopt, implement, and sustain a comprehensive solution like Nazarene Safe. Awareness is the first step to effective prevention and prevention is the best protection.