COMMITMENT

SERVING AND SAVING

On April 27, 2011 an F5 category tornado tore through Alabama’s Goshen Valley and completely destroyed the Piedmont Seventh-day Adventist church.

The slab upon which the church stood was wiped clean. Even a heavy stone, erected as a memorial to

noted charter member Desmond Doss, was transported by the storm to a nearby

farmer’s field. What a devastating day for the Piedmont church family! In many ways the Piedmont church was blessed. There was no one on the property at the time of the tornado. No one was hurt. As Pastor Rick Blythe said, “Our church structure is gone but our church is alive and well.”



For Adventist Risk Management, loss prevention is one of its ministries and usually takes the form of risk education."

Robert

The Piedmont church family was

especially invested in their church.

Members who are contractors, plumbers, and electricians built the church

from the ground up. The construction was

finished only four years before the tornado occurred and through the grace of

God they had just paid off their mortgage. The note burning ceremony took place

the weekend after the building was destroyed.



In the midst of this setback

the ministry of stewardship was clearly evident. These church members are wonderful examples

of faithful stewards in the way they used their resources to construct their

sanctuary, to pay off their mortgage and in the way safeguards were put in

place to replace the building should a disaster like this tornado occur. Pastor Blythe and the conference leadership were in contact with Adventist Risk Management (ARM) almost immediately after the tornado struck, sharing vital information. This would allow for a faster, more efficient recovery.



Within a week of the

destructive event, ARM claims personnel were on site helping the local

congregation chart their course to rebuild their church. The ministry of ARM is based on three guiding principles: loss prevention, loss control and loss financing. Following these three guiding principles ARM and our church clients can collaborate to minimize the impact of unfortunate events, disasters and human error.



So what do these principles mean when it comes to

stewardship?

For Adventist Risk Management,

loss prevention is one of its ministries and usually takes the form of risk

education. We have a team dedicated to

educating churches, schools and denominational institutions about risks

inherent in their ministry and how they can best avoid or minimize those risks.

Most people take good care of their personal belongings As good stewards shouldn’t we take even

better care of the resources God has entrusted to the community of faith?



We have a team dedicated to educating churches, schools and denominational institutions about risks inherent in their ministry and how they can best avoid or minimize those risks."

LOSS PREVENTION

Loss prevention also means faithful maintenance of property. In fact, faithful maintenance goes

hand in hand with beautification. Keeping property clean and properly

maintained will help save tens of thousands of dollars that can be used for

ministry. The simple routine of walking around a property collecting trash can

raise one’s alertness to potential hazards that could turn into expensive

liabilities.



Torn carpets, damaged floors and broken windows scream out

“We don’t care!” They could lead to liabilities such as hazardous slips and

worse, provide easy access to property and invite vandalism and other such

criminal behavior.



Regular maintenance and upkeep will not only keep the

property looking its best but will help prevent costly repairs and liabilities.

The Risk Management Education

team prepares printed resources, videos and travels around the world speaking

at events and visiting church ministries to raise awareness about important

issues—everything from simple maintenance, to how to better protect children

from harm and abuse. Our risk management specialists also conduct inspections

and teach ministry leaders how to do this themselves. Above all the ARM

education team is ready to provide simple, practical solutions for the church.



LOSS CONTROL

Loss control is a subtler

concept but is part of property stewardship.

When a loss occurs, there are often many things we can do to minimize

the impact of that loss. For example, if

a building is located in an area that regularly experiences hurricanes or other

windstorms it is a good idea to keep extra tarps available should a bad storm

come through and damage the roof. Having

a tarp readily available (when many others are trying to buy them from the

store) means that the roof can be covered immediately and avoid additional

water damage, which can be quite costly.

Perhaps one of the most

important ways to minimize loss is by reporting it immediately to ARM. It should be reported to the local insurance

carrier if the loss is outside of a territory served by ARM. Waiting several

days or even weeks before reporting losses

can cost the local church, ARM, and even the Seventh-day Adventist

Church more. Every day that an insured institution waits to report a claim the

potential for greater loss increases and

this can impact mission. There is no better stewardship practice or easier way to control loss than to make timely insurance claims.



RISK FINANCING

Risk financing can take several

forms; however, most know it as what is most commonly referred to as

insurance. Sometimes a loss cannot be

prevented. In the case of the Piedmont church, no amount of maintenance or loss

control would have helped prevent the damage caused by the deadly tornado. They were blessed by the foresight of church leaders to partner

with Adventist Risk Management to provide them with insurance. This helped them rebuild not just the

building, but also their ministry. Their church was destroyed in April and they

were meeting in their new building only four months later!



A COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

The practice of stewardship in the form of risk management is not just the mission of ARM and its employees; the opportunity to participate in risk management is one that belongs to all of God’s people."

The idea of risk financing in

the church is not a recent one. In 1935

a layman by the name of William Benjamin presented the General Conference with

his idea for creating a fund that would be there to minimize the impact of any

accidents or losses. In 1936 the General Conference set up the International

Insurance Company of Takoma Park Maryland with US $25,000. Over the years the church has created various

organizations to serve their growing needs in a changing global

marketplace. Today a family of companies

is operated by Adventist Risk Management, Inc. to serve the church’s risk

management needs around the world.

The practice of stewardship in

the form of risk management is not just the mission of ARM and its employees;

the opportunity to participate in risk management is one that belongs to all of

God’s people. God asks all of us to use

wisdom, prudence and to take good care of the property and lives that He has

entrusted to our care. Being a wise

steward in the field where we are can mean simple things like watching for

tripping hazards and keeping the sanctuary clean. If we take care of our home to ensure that

the utilities are well maintained, think also of how the Lord’s property should

be cared for with even more diligence.

When we fail to care for those things that belong to God there is

inevitably a cost that must be paid.



Let us all do our part to take

care of the gifts that God has given us.

At Adventist Risk Management we are here to support the church and its

members and to help restore things when something has been lost.



ARM has resources such as an

electronic newsletter that highlights common risk issues and provides solutions

on how to prevent losses. Guides are

available on our website that show how to draw up a risk management plan for

your organization or facility. All of

these and other resources prepared by ARM are available to you! We are your

partners so that together we can keep the church’s mission going forward until

the day we hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter

thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt. 25:23).



The ministry of Adventist Risk Management is a ministry of

practical stewardship; our ministry is to protect your ministry!

Robert E. Kyte

President, ARM (Adventist Risk Management)

Bob Kyte leads the risk management

and insurance for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, handling the full range of

risks for a global church. Kyte is an attorney with more than 20 years of legal

experience; he previously served as general counsel for the Seventh-day

Adventist Church.

'+element.CommentMessage+'