During the COVID-19 pandemic, your church leadership team has been left to figure out how to lead your congregation, how to continue the fellowship of believers, and how to continue ministering to your community as a virtual church in a safe and effective way. Many have utilized live streaming video to maximize your impact and keep your congregation as physically safe as possible.
As you continue to navigate the realities of virtual church and trying to make a visual impact, we have compiled a list of the most popular cameras available on the market, ranging in price from an entry level, minimal budget all the way to the top tier, professional gear. Thankfully, while you can spend thousands on camera, lighting, and audio equipment to produce high-quality content, this doesn’t need to be the case. As with most aspects of photography and videography, the financial barrier to entry is low, with your creativity being the most important key to success.
Best Cameras for Video:
Microsoft Lifecam Studio for Business
Logitech BRIO Webcam
Canon Vixia HF R800
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Sony A7 II
Canon Vixia HF G21
Epiphan LUMiO 12x PTZ Camera
Panasonic Lumix GH5
Canon EOS C100 II
Panasonic AG UX180
While it may seem overwhelming to figure out how to get your service online quickly, start with a road map of where you are now and where you want to be. Take note if you already have video equipment available and what type of new equipment you would like to invest in. Consider where you want to stream your sermon. This will determine the platform you end up using to live stream the church service.
It is also important to ensure that your internet connection is fast enough to stream. You can get a dedicated internet connection for your stream. Work on your lighting. When you work on your lighting within the church, your live stream will have a better-quality picture for those watching. Set up your camera with the view you want people tuning in to see. Pick a live streaming platform that’s right for your church. Create your account, set up your stream, practice streaming it and then hit go on Sunday morning.
To view our complete risk management library of articles for churches and non-profits, click here.
After weeks of mandatory lockdown to help slow the spread of COVID-19, churches across the country are reopening their doors to parishioners. Many are grappling with the risk that worshipers may contract COVID-19 and may try to hold the ministry liable for the resulting damages. Thoughtful deliberation is needed when considering the potential impact of COVID-19 on your congregation.
One option to help minimize this risk is to require worshipers to contractually waive their right to hold the church liable if they contract COVID-19 on premises. Although requiring churchgoers to sign a COVID-19 liability waiver may help insulate you from liability, the enforceability of COVID-19 liability waivers presents some legal uncertainties, as courts have not yet analyzed such waivers in any detail. The enforceability of liability waivers is a matter of state law, some of the more specific legal questions about waivers will have different answers in different jurisdictions.
Guidelines for churches drafting COVID-19 liability waivers:
All COVID-19 liability waivers should be drafted in clear language that is understandable to the ordinary person, and these provisions should be very conspicuous if included within a larger contract.
Waivers should include language regarding the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and warn that even with heightened cleaning procedures, social distancing, face masks, etc., the church cannot fully eliminate the risk that churchgoers may contract COVID-19. They should be drafted so that visitors agree that (1) they understand this heightened risk, and (2) with that understanding, they agree not to hold the church liable for any damages resulting from contraction of COVID‑19 due to the organization’s negligence.
Waivers should comply with the applicable state laws and public policies regarding traditional liability waivers.
Even organizations with COVID-19 liability waivers should strive to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local recommendations for practices that can help lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission. If a court determines that deviance from such guidelines is grossly negligent or reckless, a COVID-19 liability waiver may not protect you from being liable for a visitor’s resulting damages.
Hurricane damage can’t always be prevented or eliminated, but with some careful forethought, it can be mitigated long before a storm arrives. There are some obvious preventative measures that can be conducted that require out of pocket expense like inspecting/repairing/upgrading the roof cover and perimeter flashing or installing hurricane shutters, but for the purposes of this article we will focus on the activities that churches can perform that require little to no investment other than time and energy. These are broken into Pre-Hurricane, Warning, During, and After-Hurricane phases.
In most cases, hurricane planning activities should be implemented prior to Hurricane Season which begins June 1st and continues through October 31st. However, there are plenty of measures you can take immediately before, during, and after a hurricane to reduce loss.
Widespread damage begins when a hurricane reaches around 110 mph. At this speed, the wind is sufficient enough to literally suck the roof cover from all or part of the building. In addition, high winds have the ability to turn most windblown debris into missiles, thereby breaking windows and doors. These openings then allow more wind to enter the building which creates additional upward forces on the roof. If a roof hasn’t been sucked off the building from the primary forces, once there are openings in the building, these secondary forces are sure to help blow the roof off the building. Once the roof is all or partially removed, and additional secondary holes have been punched in a building, the interior and contents are much more likely to be damaged or destroyed by rain that typically accompanies a hurricane.
Pre-Hurricane Preventive Measures
Once a hurricane is on its way, resources start to become scarce and much more expensive. Highlighted below are activities churches can perform prior to hurricane season so that they can resume operations as quickly as possible after the storm.
Create or customize a checklist of activities that can be used during all phases of the storm.
Appoint an individual to monitor weather forecasts and track impending hurricanes.
Compile an Emergency Contact List with 24-hour contact numbers for essential employees and volunteers.
Identify vital records and make backup copies.
Qualify and pre-commit contractors and suppliers for post-hurricane repairs. (Use firms not likely to be affected by the same hurricane.)
Stock supplies and prepare needed equipment (rations, generators, radios, flashlights w/ batteries, medical supplies, and lumber/tools/hardware).
Relocate valuable on-floor equipment/storage to protect from water damage.
As the Hurricane Approaches (Warning Phase)
CASH is king! Obtain and keep accessible as much as possible as banks may not be open following the storm.
Brace lightweight doors from the inside to minimize the chance of them blowing in.
Fill fuel tanks, generators, vehicles, etc.
Protect or move valuable papers and important documents to a safe location.
Print a complete copy of the property insurance policy and note the policy number and claim filing information
Close valves on gas lines and, if possible, disconnect the electric supply at the service entrance.
Clean the roof drains, gutters, and downspouts.
Initiate orderly shutdown of equipment sensitive to sudden loss of power.
During the Hurricane
Remaining personnel should check for roof leaks, broken windows and piping, fires, and initiate emergency responses as needed.
If power failure does occur, disconnect circuits so they cannot be reenergized without checking for damage.
After the Hurricane
Survey the damage and establish priorities.
Board up openings.
Check circuits and equipment before restoring power.
Follow your pre-established salvage reconstruction and recovery plan using key employees and outside contractors.
Photograph and/or video all damage and contact the insurance carrier directly to submit a claim.
Damage from hurricanes may be inevitable, but with some careful pre-planning and diligent execution of strategic activities, you can significantly reduce the cost associated with a hurricane. Costs can escalate significantly once you consider property/wind insurance deductibles, lost production time, and supply chain disruptions. A risk manager or insurance agent can help you identify and prioritize the most critical exposures for your church.
To view our complete risk management library of articles for churches and non-profits, click here.
Raise your hand if you ever thought that churches across the country would be shuttered and pastors everywhere would be relying solely on live-streaming their services to connect with members…
This has a lot of churches and other non-profit organizations questioning how these forced (or otherwise strongly encouraged) shutdowns will affect their tithes, donations and other revenue that is dependent on donors. After all, if the doors aren’t open, will giving be forgotten? Second, if the church had to shut its doors through no fault of its own, is the loss of income covered under the insurance policy, like a closure due to a fire or hurricane? To answer this question, let’s take a look at Business Income Insurance – what’s it’s intended for, what it covers and how to best estimate how much is needed.
The Intent of Business Income Insurance
Business Interruption (BI) Insurance, also known as Business Income Insurance, is a type of insurance that covers a business for the reduction in revenue after they suffer a loss. The intent is to carry the business through the time of restoration or rebuilding after a disaster. After a major loss, rebuilding can take several months, and this is after waiting on things like adjuster investigation and permitting.
The key to triggering coverage for a business income loss can come from a couple of places (1) physical damage to a covered property that forces a closure or (2) a civil authority forces a location or whole area to close. The caveat to a civil authority closure is that there still needs to be physical damage to property, maybe not even owned by the church, that makes the closure necessary. For example, after a major hurricane, many streets are impassable and power lines are down which forces road closures. There may not be anything wrong with your insured building, but people just aren’t allowed to get to you. Whether it’s damage to your building or surrounding property that forces a shutdown, property damage by a covered item is a requirement.
This leads us to our current pandemic situation. Will insurance companies pay for lost revenue due to forced closures? The intent and language of the insurance policies say no. This doesn’t mean that you can’t file a claim, or that the policies won’t be challenged in the courtroom, but business income insurance policies are not intended to cover for quarantine due to a global pandemic.
What our current pandemic situation has taught us, however, is how important the coverage is if we were to find ourselves out of business due to a physical loss, like a hurricane. Business Income insurance can include things like payment of ordinary payroll for all staff members, payment of extra expenses (for things like renting offsite space for services or preschool education), or payment of other ongoing expenses like mortgages or leases.
Business Income Worksheets Calculate the Need
Determining the appropriate amount of BI for a church is unique to its needs and exposures. The need will change if the following are present: tuition-based preschool, thrift stores, fee-based counseling services, summer camps, concerts, or other revenue generating events. Fortunately, similarities with other churches have allowed insurance carriers to create a reliable “benchmark” for churches and religious institutions. The benchmark BI limit for churches is 80% of total revenue (assuming 12-month value and including 100% payroll benefit).