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Tips, Tutorials, and Checklists to help manage ministry risks

Develop a Risk Management Strategy Step-By-Step

A step-by-step approach to developing a risk management strategy

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A man slips on a banana peel

When you're just starting to develop a comprehensive risk management plan, the process can seem daunting. Keep it manageable by breaking the project down into smaller steps. Ask the right people (and enough of them) to complete each one and develop a project plan with firm delivery dates along the way.

Here are six steps for developing a workable, well-thought-out risk management plan for your church:

  1. Identify the hazards. Determine what areas of your ministry might pose risks. Consider any hazard that can cause injury, illness, death, loss, or damage to equipment or property. Consider a variety of “what if” scenarios.
  2. Assess the risks. Estimate the probability and severity of each potential risk. Think in terms of worst-case possibilities to get a credible measure of how severe a risk could become. With results in hand, you'll have a useful tool for identifying which risks should be given closest attention.
  3. Analyze risk control measures. Investigate specific strategies and tools that reduce or eliminate risks. There's a range of options, from deciding not to take a risk at all to finding ways to reduce, accept, or transfer the risk.
  4. Make risk control decisions. Once you have chosen a strategy, determine the level of risk remaining. Do you still think the remaining risk is acceptable? Or should you modify the plan to develop measures to better control the risk? Capture your decisions in writing.
  5. Implement risk controls. Document your plan fully and implement it with appropriate resources. You'll also want to communicate the plan—or at least the relevant components—to church employees, volunteers, and members.
  6. Supervise and review. Make sure everyone is playing his or her role appropriately once your plan is in place. As time passes, review the plan periodically to ensure it's still working. Get feedback from people involved in all aspects of the plan, and use their comments to modify it as needed.

Download our Creating Risk Management Plan Checklist >>