Unfortunately, Churches Aren't the Safe Havens They Once Were

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New Resources Make it Easier than Ever for Churches to Protect their Ministries

This Week's Safety Watch

Research shows that only two out of every five churches in America have any type of safety and security program in place.

Because risk management issues are not always top-of-mind with busy church leaders, the GuideOne Center for Risk Management began celebrating October as "Church Safety and Security Month" in 2004, as a time when churches can focus on this important aspect of their ministry. And this year, GuideOne has teamed up with Group Publishing to offer churches two new resources to help them tackle this important part of ministry.

"The SafeChurch.com Web site is the most comprehensive resource of safety and security information available to churches," explained Eric Spacek, senior church risk manager at GuideOne Insurance. "The site offers access to in-depth information on church safety topics that you won't find anywhere else, including assessment questions that churches quickly answer in order to generate customized reports and project plans to protect congregation members."

SafeChurch covers topics that are most applicable to churches using the EFFECT approach, which is a quick and easy way to remember the following risk categories:

  • Emergency Preparedness;
  • Facility Safety;
  • Financial Safeguards;
  • Employee and Volunteer Safety;
  • Children and Youth Safety; and
  • Transportation Safeguards.

For each of the above categories, there is an extensive library of risk management fact sheets, video hazard examples, checklists, sample policy and procedure documents, articles, training modules, access to affordable background check services, assessment tool questionnaires, customized project planning documents, and more - with about 300 total resources. The cost to access the site is $10 per month, by purchasing an annual subscription for $120. All members of the Church's Safety and Security Team then automatically have access to their church's specific resources. Churches that are customers of GuideOne Insurance receive free access.

To accompany the SafeChurch Web site, the GuideOne Center for Risk Management also has authored a book on this topic, titled "The Missing Ministry - Safety, Risk Management, and Protecting Your Church." The new book provides religious leaders with an essential how-to guide for developing a ministry of safety and security. With the easy step-by-step approach highlighted in the book and its accompanying resource packet, churches can better protect the people, property and gifts God has entrusted to their care using the same EFFECT approach that is incorporated into the SafeChurch Web site. The book retails for $17.99 and can be purchased at http://www.SafeChurch.com, which also is where the resource packet is posted.

Beyond the new SafeChurch Web site and "Missing Ministry" book, churches that are interested in learning more about how they can protect their people and property are encouraged to take advantage of several month-long promotions. During Church Safety and Security Month (Oct. 1 to 31), the following are being offered:

  • Two Free Background Checks - New SafeChurch background check users can set up a Shepherd's Watch account today and receive two free "Package 1" checks.
  • Discounted and New Online Training Modules - All the online training modules on SafeChurch.com will be offered for the discounted price of $1 per session during this month. And, there is no limit to the number of sessions a church can purchase at this price.
  • Launch of Weekly Safety E-Newsletter - "This Week's Safety Watch" is a new safety e-newsletter that is launching in October. This new resource will provide churches with a weekly tip on a variety of safe practices that churches are encouraged to implement in their facilities. All SafeChurch members will automatically receive this new resource along with the monthly "SafetyShield" e-newsletter that is currently being distributed. Interested churches can sign-up to receive this newsletter by sending a request to JOblander @ GroupPublishing.com.
  • 2009 Church Safety Calendars - Calendars featuring winning entries in a youth poster contest will be given away to interested churches. Send an e-mail to supply @ guideone.com to order a copy.

Founded in 1947 and headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, GuideOne Insurance is one of the nation's largest church insurers, with nearly 45,000 church customers. GuideOne also insures faith-based private schools and colleges, as well as senior living communities. In 1999, the company created the GuideOne Center for Risk Management in order to help churches and faith-based organizations safeguard their ministries. GuideOne's personal lines products include auto and homeowners insurance, as well as life insurance products underwritten by the Kansas City Life Insurance Company. GuideOne is licensed to do business in all 50 states and markets its products and services through nearly 1,600 independent and career agents. The company carries an "Excellent" rating from A.M. Best.

Emily Abbas, Corporate Communications Manager
GuideOne Insurance

Interviews with Eric Spacek are available upon request.

Churches are encouraged to visit http://www.safechurch.com to find the many new resources being made available during the month of October.


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Emily Abbas
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