John 4 reminds us that the fields are ripe for harvest. The church has a mission and directive to gather the lost and bring in the Kingdom harvest! What an awesome privilege to a part of this process and to be the hands and feet to carry this out. Many times as insurance advisors, we are blessed to visit with many ministries that are bringing in a harvest for the Kingdom and it is a huge perk to our job to be involved on a daily basis witnessing and hearing the testimonies of the goodness of God.
While the laborers are busy gathering the lost and carrying out the vision and mission of their prospective ministries, we often find that silos in communication can begin to appear. For example, there are various ministries in a body of Christ such as (a) youth, (b) music, (c)pastoral care, (d) facilities, (e) school, (f) administration, and more. When policies and procedures are implemented, how are they communicated across departmental lines? Let’s take the example of entering into a contractual agreement to illustrate this point.
Anywhere church USA is hosting an event involving the community. The children’s minister wants to have bounce houses and pony rides at this event. The vendors are notified and the children’s minister signs the contracts to be sure everything is reserved. The day of the event arrives and one of the children falls off a pony and sustains serious injuries. The vendor had insurance, but the church is only defended if the church was listed as an additional insured on the policy. The minister thought the church was covered because the vendor gave them a Certificate of Insurance; however this vendor’s coverage only extends to the church in the event that is was “as required by written contract”. The children’s minister does not normally handle insurance issues and did not realize that the contract should have been amended to state that ABC Pony Rides should name Anywhere Church USA as an additional insured on the General Liability policy. So the pony ride vendor was sued and the church was also named in the lawsuit. The vendor’s policy responded for the vendor, but not the church. Guess what? On the church’s liability policy there is an exclusion for animals on the General Liability coverage (as is sometimes applicable depending on the carrier). Therefore, since there is no coverage, there is also no defense for the church. Had the Administrator of the church been involved in this initially, they most likely would have been aware of this exclusion and that the church needed to have either the vendor name the church as an additional insured (and stipulate this in the contract) or that a Special Event policy should have been secured. This is a typical example of a silo.
One of the challenges is how to break down these silos and effectively disseminate this information. Had a policy been implemented across departmental lines that no one enters into a contract on behalf of the church unless the contract is reviewed by administration, this may have been avoided. Or possibly the answer was training the different prospective departments regarding the importance of the additional insured status and that coverage is many times not automatic unless it is by ” written contract.” The main concept here is to depend on each other. Every church needs the different “gifts of the body of Christ.” One person may be detailed and function in the gift of Administration, where another is very mission-focused or a visionary. The visionary needs the detailed person to take care of the details and then the church functions more completely as a team. Communication is key.
Some points to consider when breaking down silos:
- Identifying there are silos is the first step
- Leadership must be on board
- Communication method developed
- Training done across departmental lines
The church as a whole is challenged with this so look within your own organization and see if you are operating as one unit or multiple departments operating singularly. In many cases it’s the latter and once identified, then you can work towards making the necessary corrections and staying on path to protecting your ministry and achieving that Kingdom harvest.