Property Preservation and Stewardship: A Christian Approach to Church Risk Management 

By Nadeena Kersey, GuideStone Chief Insurance Officer

Planning events, preparing sermons, meeting with members, recruiting volunteers, paying staff and scheduling building maintenance — these activities are likely a familiar part of your day-to-day tasks. Daily duties can become so routine that it’s easy to lose sight of potential risk exposure that could damage your ministry without the protection of church risk management. 

Why Organizational Risk Management Matters

Embezzlement, a broken leg at VBS and a missed felony in a volunteer’s past pose costly incidents — both to your ministry’s finances and reputation. Instead, protect your most valuable assets by identifying potential risks and putting safeguards into place.

A Christian approach to risk management is centered around faithful stewardship in three areas: people, property and mission. 

People — The Hands and Feet of Your Ministry

Staff, volunteers and members keep ministries running, serve those in need and advance the Kingdom of God. Every person involved contributes in their own way with a unique gift. 

Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. Romans 12:4-5 (CSB) 

Protecting individuals empowers them to continue serving faithfully.   

When it comes to church risk management for people, it is essential to cover employees, volunteers and those who participate in services and activities. 

  • Employees: Consider what would happen if an employee injured their back after slipping in a wet hallway or twisted their knee while setting up chairs in the sanctuary. Fulfilling your legal obligation to offer workers’ compensation helps pay for medical, disability and rehab for work-related injuries and illnesses. Also, it would guard your employees in the event of a lawsuit with liability insurance. If someone files a lawsuit against a staff member, they’ll have legal representation for their defense. 
  • Volunteers: It’s common for volunteers to welcome people into their homes once a week for Bible studies organized by the church. If a guest falls and breaks their arm, liability insurance, including medical payments coverage, offers the volunteer protection from having to pay medical bills. This safeguard frees volunteers to keep their doors open for fellowship without exposing themselves to potential financial responsibility in the event of an accident or injury.
  • Members: Who’s responsible for medical bills if youth group members suffer minor injuries in a church van accident on their way to a weekend camp? What happens when someone’s luggage is lost on a mission trip? Having proper insurance coverage shields these members in the event of injury or loss.     

These are just a few of the ways to protect the people of your ministry. Liability insurance covers additional incidents to empower faithful servants to fulfill what they’re called to do.

Property — Your Ministry’s Gathering Place

Church property provides a safe, welcoming place for people to gather, worship, study and serve. Most church activities and functions would cease without a dedicated place to gather. Protect your property to preserve your cherished meeting place and all that happens inside your doors. 

It’s possible to avoid many catastrophes with simple prevention. Do you follow a regular maintenance schedule.  to ensure that fire safety systems work, heating and air conditioning units function and the roof is free from leaks? Regular maintenance helps equipment run at peak performance so it lasts longer and saves money associated with replacement costs. 

Natural disasters, vandalism and theft are additional areas of property risk management for nonprofits such as churches. Whether a tornado destroys the roof, a vandal spray paints graffiti across the front doors or a thief steals valuable video equipment, you can protect your ministry from expensive repairs and replacement with property insurance.

Mission — Your Calling from the Lord

Your mission is at the heart of your ministry — it’s the compass that guides your plans, goals and activities. It should be protected. Guard your ministry’s reach and reputation by assessing, reducing and managing potential risk. 

Your mission also includes your personal ability to fulfill your calling. How much time could you dedicate to your purpose if a lawsuit was filed against your church or you discovered significant fund embezzlement from a staff member? Take preventive measures and ensure you have the right liability coverage so you can focus on your calling instead of costly, time-consuming incidents. 

Establish Strong Protection with Diligent Stewardship 

When the unexpected happens, your people, property and mission can be guarded thanks to careful planning. At GuideStone®, we walk alongside you to ensure thorough church risk management. We take your whole picture into account to help you strategically select the right insurance coverage to prevent massive claim expenses from devastating your church and mission. Even as your circumstances and needs change, we help you cultivate resilience so you can start well, stay well and finish well. 

If you have questions or need additional assistance, you may reach a property and casualty representative by contacting us at or (214) 720-2868, Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT and Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.

Nadeena Kersey provides executive leadership and oversight to the Insurance line of business at GuideStone, including product development, sales and marketing, services and operations of life and health plans, property and casualty coverage and ancillary products. Prior to joining GuideStone in 2022, Mrs. Kersey was the chief financial officer of a university in Georgia and served as vice president in various roles for a large health-sharing organization for 15 years. Mrs. Kersey holds an MBA from Campbell University and a bachelor’s in applied mathematics from Georgia Tech. She has served the Lord as an active member of her church with 20+ years in youth and children’s ministry and more than ten years teaching adult small groups and speaking at women’s events.