There are many things pastors and elders do at the start of the year to set up their churches and leaders for success. Some set church New Year’s resolutions, while others schedule events for the year. In any case, the first month of the year is a great time to perform those tasks that will help you, your leaders, and your ministry stay on the right path throughout the year.

An essential task to complete during the first month with your church leaders is to conduct a safety committee meeting. Meeting with your safety committee at the very start of the year will demonstrate to your leaders that safety is important to you as a pastor and to the church. It will also allow you to create a culture of safety and risk management, encouraging your leaders to make safety a priority in all areas of your church.

To help you start the year on the right foot, Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) has put together a few items for you to discuss in your first 2019 Church Committee meeting.


1. Conduct a Church Inspection: If you haven’t completed one yet, it is a good idea to start the year with a full church inspection. Conducting an inspection allows your safety committee to be aware of any potential risks, items in need of repair or replacement, and equipment that is in good standing for use. The important thing to remember is that the job is not done once the inspection is complete. Address items needing attention with your safety committee and assign dates for completing the necessary tasks. Then follow up with your safety committee to make sure those tasks are completed.

2. Update Your Emergency Plan: It’s also important to update your church emergency plan at the start of the year. Review the risks and emergencies your church faced in the last year. Did your current emergency plan work well? Update and adjust your emergency plan to make the response to emergencies a smoother process. Then think of potential emergencies your church may face in the coming year, and create a response plan for those potential risks.

3. Choose a Safety Officer/Check in with Safety Officer: Your safety officer should be part of your safety committee and be part of all committee meetings. This is a great way to regularly check in with your safety officer and allow your safety officer to voice concerns, recommend areas for improvement, and confirm where safety measures are working well. If you don’t have a safety officer, choose a safety officer this month to ensure that safety and risk management are a priority throughout the year. For more information on the duties of a Safety Officer, see ARM’s Safety Officer Description.

4. Schedule Your Next Emergency Drill: As the year continues, your church calendar may quickly fill up with Bible study meetings, youth group events, and special services. But it is important to make time in your calendar to conduct an emergency drill. Practicing drills with your church will provide a necessary refresher on what to do in the case of an emergency, as well as inform visitors and new members how to respond if an emergency occurs. Schedule at least two emergency drills for your church during the year. ARM invites you to join churches around the world and conduct an emergency drill for the annual Safety Sabbath event. For free resources and more information, register at

5. Keep Your Congregation Safe During Programs and Activities: Whether it’s a church social on a Saturday night, a special Easter play, or a Christmas concert, your church is sure to have special programs scheduled throughout the year. While these large events can be exciting and a great way to minister to your local community, it’s important to be aware of and prepare for the potential risks that come with those large-scale events. Discuss with your safety committee different ways to ensure the protection and safety of both members and visitors, and find ways to prevent and minimize accidents from occurring. Find church safety resources on ARM’s website.


As you meet with your Safety Committee for these items, it’s important to remember that safety and risk management is a team effort. The only way to accomplish these tasks is if each committee member makes risk management a priority in each area of your church. Together, you can be sure to accomplish your risk management goals and have a safer 2019.

Elizabeth Camps is a writer and public relations specialist for Adventist Risk Management. This article is excerpted from Best Practices, January 25, 2018. Used by permission.