The Church has always faced and will always face threats that can derail our ability to reach more people with the Gospel. Some threats may have a spiritual origin and others may be manmade, but regardless of the source, our job as church leaders is to identify the risks and eliminate or minimize their effects so our ministry can flourish. While not always pleasant, it’s prudent to carefully consider what could go wrong so you can take appropriate actions now to prevent those risks or at least lessen their impact.
10 ways church leaders put their ministries at risk
Here are ten risks to prepare for and considerations to make sure you are not caught off guard:
- Sexual sin, abuse, and misconduct. Perception matters. What is the worst possible conclusion people can draw based on what they see? It is those worst assumptions that will wreck the careers of ministry leaders.
- Mismanaging funds. While there are certain measures your church can take to recoup lost funds, financial mismanagement causes church members to lose trust in your leadership.
- Neglecting security and safety. In the worst-case scenario, you’re putting the physical safety and even lives of your church members and guests at risk. Litigation is often a secondary risk.
- Moral failure of senior leadership. Personal moral failure could be anything from an actual affair or physical abuse to an abusive leadership style and lack of self-control.
- Not planning for messages outside your control. A negative perception formed from a social media crisis or inaccurate or sensationalistic journalism could destroy your church’s reputation. If your church doesn’t have a dedicated communications pastor, delegate someone to manage the message of the church and coordinate all outgoing news releases.
- Not caring for church staff. Because the work you do is significant in the Kingdom, hiring the right people and managing them with integrity is critical. If you aren’t sure about this area of your work, ask for help.
- Mismanaging volunteers. Whenever you fail to develop a plan for strategically placing or equipping volunteers in your church, you open yourself up to putting your church members in physical or spiritual danger.
- Failing to plan for succession. You don’t get a merit badge for carrying the load alone. It is egotistical to think that the ministry can’t continue without you. Real leaders plan for the future by empowering other leaders to serve effectively.
- Compromising giving data. The past year has been filled with stories of companies getting hacked or being negligent with personal data. When this happens, it is a big story, and the theft of personal data can take years to clean up. Data security is an increasingly important topic as we rely more on technology to run vital aspects of our churches.
- Failing to maintain your facilities. While many church leaders may consider this to be serious structural issues, it could be something as simple as someone falling on your property. We’ve all heard stories of businesses being sued by customers because of injuries that occurred on the business’s property. Unfortunately, churches aren’t exempt from the same.
Risk may not be one of the most fun topics to discuss, but we’ve all heard of churches that have had horrible things occur within their congregations that altered the course of their ministry. So many of these risks are preventable. I want to encourage you to download the free resource I’ve written with Deborah Ike so you can learn about these ten risks and how to avoid them.
Which of these risks feel close to home for you? Do you have a plan?