The R-A-C-E Is On: What to Do When Your Church Encounters a Wintertime Claim


There’s something about the Christmas season that makes us want to view our cup of coffee as half full, not half empty. This time of year has us overflowing with thankfulness and optimism! 

However, in the delight and busyness of the holiday season, don’t allow your church to become distracted from managing potential risks.

For example, do you know what to do if:

  • A Christmas Eve candle sparks a fire in your sanctuary?
  • A winter storm damages church property?
  • A person slips and falls on an icy sidewalk?

At GuideStone®, it is both our privilege and our priority to help the churches and ministries we serve stay safe and manage risks. But we also know that even with the most prudent planning and best intentions, things can still go awry in your church. 

So, we put together a helpful to-do list to ensure that you and your ministry are prepared for whatever may occur, because when your church encounters a wintertime claim, the R-A-C-E is on.

Record What Happened

In the unfortunate event of a loss, time is your enemy. Be sure to record a description with specifics and the extent of the damage as soon as possible. Remember to include details such as the date, time, location and people/goods affected. 

Assess the Damages/Injuries

Quickly evaluate any damages or injuries that may have occurred. If damaged property could potentially put others in harm’s way, address that immediately. If someone is injured, seek medical attention right away.

Contact the Authorities/Agency

In cases of burglary, vandalism, auto accidents or personal injury, you should first call the police and/or emergency medical services immediately.

After you make sure everyone is okay, contact your agent or Service team member directly via a personal phone call or online claim. They will need to know: 

  • Your role 
  • Your contact information
  • The church’s name
  • The policy number
  • The date and type of loss 
  • A description of the loss

Establish a Plan for the Future

After submitting your claim, it is time for your church to take action to help prevent further damage or risk of injury. Gather your Leadership team together to discuss lessons learned and strategize what you can do better in the event of a loss in the future. 

It is extremely important for your ministry to have safety and security prevention plans in place, but no church is perfect. Be intentional about training your staff to complete the R-A-C-E so that when you encounter a claim, you can handle it both confidently and compassionately.

For further resources to aid your ministry in managing potential risk, please visit GuideStone Property and Casualty’s Safety Toolkit or Brotherhood Mutual’s Safety Library

Note: While we hope these guidelines are helpful in most situations, we feel compelled to note that if you receive a claim of abuse, the very first call should be to the authorities. 

GuideStone is a leading provider of employee benefits for SBC churches, ministries, organizations and institutions. Visit to learn more about how they can help you with retirement, insurance, investments and more.

Greg Love joined GuideStone in 2012 and serves as Director for Retirement Solutions, specializing in church retirement plan design and employee education. Prior to his current role, Greg served as a Senior Account Manager within GuideStone Property and Casualty. He holds degrees from both The University of West Alabama and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Dallas Baptist University. Greg holds the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ professional designation. 

Greg is passionate about helping local churches thrive, make disciples and impact the globe for Christ. He and his wife, Jaime, have been married since 2001 and enjoy raising their two children — John Parker and Georgia Grace.