Updated: Jul 26
Our unfortunate reality is that churches and worship gatherings are being attacked at increasing rates. From 2014-2018, the rate of violent attacks on houses of worship increased by 34.8%, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The United Methodist Insurance Program (UMIP) prays that your ministry will never be faced with a crisis but is here to help you prepare a response in the unlikely event of an attack.
Establish protocols There is a distinct difference between an internal and external violent threat. Your ministry should consider its protocols in response to both scenarios. Having the ability to initiate a “lockdown” or “shelter-in-place” protocol in a time of crisis can help your ministry respond until law enforcement arrives on the scene. As you make your crisis response plan, consult local law enforcement, or contact a security firm for assistance in developing and implementing proper protocols. Training your staff, volunteers, and members in your established protocols, like how to shelter-in-place, can help your church respond efficiently in a crisis.
Church emergency preparation plan
Your church may already have response plans ready and prepared for other emergencies. If not, first prepare a fire safety and weather emergency plan. Often modifications to your current crisis emergency plans can provide a solid foundation for a violent crisis response plan. Both internal communication and communication with local law enforcement are key to responding to a crisis. Establish who and how information is communicated within your ministry before a crisis occurs.
First Response Supplies
When someone suffers an injury or is attacked, your ministry’s initial actions are critical. Whether it’s the application of basic first aid or coordinating an evacuation, be sure to check your church’s inventory of first response essentials prior to a crisis. Proper first aid kits, flashlights, radios, etc. can help your ministry respond more effectively in a crisis. Examine your emergency preparedness plan and make sure your ministry has any supplies necessary to execute your ministry’s plan.
Cleaning Up and Recovery
The chaos and commotion of a crisis can provide tense moments for your staff, church leadership, and members. For many people, the church is a place of peace and if an incident of violence or crisis happens at your facility, it can be very stressful for many. Cleaning up and repairing any damages to your facility can help restore the peaceful feeling after a crisis. These repairs are cosmetic but the spiritual and emotional care of your community may also need some repair. Consider partnering with local mental health and emotional support professional to provide crisis counseling services for your ministry.
UMIP is here to help your ministry plan, protect, and restore your United Methodist ministry. Join us on September 22nd for our Active Shooter Webinar with Strategos.
When you are covered by UMIP, we will be there when you need us. Churches have unique needs. As a part of the denomination, we understand the unique needs of United Methodist churches and their operations, which is reflected in our coverage options. Your ministry deserves outstanding insurance and UMIP works for you each day to help protect your church’s people, property, and finances.
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This content has been prepared by United Methodist Insurance Company (UMI) for informational purposes only. No article or document may accurately contemplate all possible scenarios or church resources. As such, this information is meant to foster discussion by the individual church and its members to develop a plan tailored to its own circumstances. UMI is providing this information with no warranties or guarantees of any kind and it should not be viewed as legal, financial, or other professional advice. All liability is expressly disclaimed. Any claim examples described herein are general in nature, may or may not be based on actual claims, and are for informational purposes only. Any coverage available for a claim is determined from the facts and circumstances of the claim as well as the terms and conditions of any applicable policy, including any exclusions or deductibles. In the event of a conflict with the content herein, the terms and conditions of any issued policy will control. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.
The commercial insurance coverages for United Methodist Insurance are sold and serviced directly or indirectly by Sovereign Insurance Agency (CA Lic. No. 0B01380) ("Sovereign") and underwritten by various available insurance markets. Sovereign pays United Methodist Insurance a royalty for the use of its intellectual property.