According to Fraud’s Magazine: “13.4 percent of church leaders interviewed acknowledged they had experienced fraud within their organization in the past five years.”
When I look at some of the stats I see, with some churches having some large thefts by employees, pastors and staff, some who have been there a while, it makes me wonder if the number is not larger, or they don’t know or want to admit it maybe?
I can’t help but wonder IF they have done good background checks, not only including criminal records but also actually going to past references to verify employment issues. Or perhaps they just don’t have the controls in place and are too trusting to question?
In some churches I’ve seen or talked with, there is so much “trust and faith” in letting things go with the thought that if they pray and trust God He is all they need to trust. The problem with this is that His word tells us to be Good Stewards of what He gives or provides to us, and the pastor should be the Good Shepherd caring for his flock by also checking on things himself and not just looking at “the Big Picture” and leaving too much up to others to check, verify and not doing independent audits to verify checks, have more than one signature on larger amounts and checking vendors, invoices and verifying that the services or goods were correctly authorized and actually provided.
Too many churches are just lax, from the taking up of the offering to how it is carried out and where it goes and who counts it and takes it to the bank as a deposit or drop. The same goes for some office and accounting staffs who don’t have the experience and the supervision or over sight that is needed to be sure all is well and nothing is missed.
We see the same problems with break-ins where assets are not properly protected, stored or accounted for, there is possibly an alarm, maybe even CCTV cameras, but it was designed by the salesman who wanted to make a sale and not a real security audit by a professional who looked out for the churches interest and not the vendors needs.
Alarms, Access Control systems and locks instead of too many keys out or missing and good CCTV and the monitoring and use of the systems, can make a big difference. We try to assure prospects or clients that it is important to plan, have a written Plan that is well-known by all who are involved, have Teams to carry out and act on the Plan plus practice so that all involved know what do and how and when to do it to be truly ready for any emergency or problem from natural disasters to thefts medical illness or injury, thefts, missing or abducted children or adults, disruptions or even attacks.
Some churches think the pastor or a few staff can do it all and don’t really have a good Team that has been recruited for their skills, experiences and training, and can be members who volunteer or contract services to avoid staffing and liability problems. Once they have a team they need to train and practice, even do evacuations and Fire Drills, lock downs and “stay in place evacuations” if there is no time or way to get out.
After they have the Teams, Safety, Security, Medical, Greeters, Parking Lot and even Personal Protection for Pastors in some churches, they need to be supervised by one who also has the experience, training and skills to do a professional job with the task.
A lot goes into Safety and Security and most church insurance companies can help with materials, reports, surveys, training, etc. and may give discounts for what’s done. Alarms should have a back up communication or “line cut” monitor, CCTV should be monitored during busy and active times and even remote monitoring or motion set up so the CCTV will act as a back up to the alarm and give visual verification on any alarms.
www/ChurchSecurityInstitute.wordpress.com has some info, News and Training events listed as well as suggestions, ideas and comments on how to make your facility safer.
http://www.ourchurch.com/member/c/churchsecurity for more info.