As our society evolves, one of the biggest things to change in the church world has been insurance and liability.  There was a time when churches wouldn’t think of having liability insurance.  If you did have such a policy, it was cheaper than dirt for congregations.  You were trusted and there was the assumption that good church people would never sue their congregations or pastors.  There was the assumption (and statistics bore these assumptions out) that you would not be sued by an outside person. Sexual misconduct was not an issue for various reason. (Those reasons aren’t  the purpose of this entry.)   

In this litigious world, all that has changed.  Yes, it is still much less expensive to insure a pastor than a doctor.  Yet, no church or parachurch ministry should be without insurance.  And no ministry can afford to not think in terms of liability.  If, like The Special Gathering, you don’t own any property, you may feel that you are exempt from the need of this additional expense.  That is a false conclusion.

Working with a vulnerable population, a ministry within the mentally challenged community must be as “wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove” in regards to liability issues.  Whenever you take a group of people to camp or a retreat where there may be risk involved, you should be sure that your insurance covers the event. 

Each year, The Special Gathering takes our members to Camp/Retreat Agape.  It is a four day, three night event.  The contract with the campground we rent is not valid until they have received our Certificate of Insurance, listing them as “additional insured.”  The golf cart company will not allow us to rent carts without this assurance from our insurance company.

In a way, this is an inexpensive safeguard for your members, volunteers and staff.  At The Special Gathering, we have been blessed with an executive director who has traveled far ahead of the curve in regard to these issues. 

Be sure that you and your ministry have the additional safeguard of good insurance.  We have found that GuideOne has been a good company.  There are a lot of other insurance companies who carry excellent liability policies.  Do you research, bite the bullet and get insurance.

What are some of the things you feel are needed in an insurance policy?  If you don’t have liability insurance, is there a reason?