Churches are home to fantastic communities and act as gathering places for children, parents, family, and friends. Now that churches are able to cultivate community in-person once more, it’s important that you continue to take precautions while you plan events.
One of the easiest ways to foster a culture of safety at your church is to implement online waivers to protect your congregation during events. This can help make sure you and your congregants are on the same page when it comes to what activities to hold at events and their potential risks. Let’s jump into the four times your church should use waivers.
1. Image Release
Nowadays, churches often have their own volunteer or hired photography team to record and capture imagery at events or services. Some individuals may not be happy if they find a picture of themselves in your brochure or on your website, so it’s always best practice to reach out to people with a photo release waiver prior to using their images.
It’s important to obtain a photo release from the congregants you’ve captured on camera before using their image in any of these formats:
- Church videos
- Website imagery
- Social media
- Promotional handouts
While it is unlikely that you’ll be asking someone if you can photograph them during the worship services, it is still important to obtain their permission later on. Try to speak with the people you’ve photographed after the service and direct them to a photo release form so you can use their image in any potential promotional materials.
If you’re hosting any church volunteer, fundraising, worship, or children’s events, add a photo release form to the registration form to stay ahead of the curve. This can let people know ahead of time that they may be photographed during the event.
2. Sports Events
Create a waiver for your sports event that includes a list of all potential activities and risks during the event. This ensures that attendees and congregants have the opportunity to acknowledge any risk they’re taking by participating in the event.
If you’re hosting summer camps, be sure to list any of the potential games and activities that children may participate in. This can help parents and campers make the most of events by considering how they would feel most comfortable getting involved in the camp activities, while also removing liability from your church.
Taking care of your congregants’ children can be a large responsibility to take on, and waivers can help ensure all parties involved stay safe. Whether it’s a team of volunteers during worship service or camp counselors during summer camps, it’s important that parents understand what actions your childcare providers are able to take.
To ensure everyone involved feels safe and secure about the work, create a waiver that lists the responsibilities of your childcare providers and what they will not be able to do for the children. Consider what daily activities you’ll be doing with the children, and be as detailed as possible for parents to review and confidently sign off.
Some of these responsibilities may include:
- Changing diapers
- Bottle feeding
- Serving packed lunches
- Administering first aid if necessary
- Monitoring children in play areas
Be sure to list the average ratio of volunteers to children at any given time in your waiver, so parents will have an idea about the level of monitoring their children will have. Ideally, there will never be any injuries, but be specific about the level of first aid and safety qualifications that your volunteers have and are willing to use if needed. This can help parents feel more secure about their childcare options while also protecting your church if any disagreements arise.
4. Hosting third-party events
Churches are often the crux of a community and can even be an established event venue for their areas. If your church rents out meeting rooms, your chapel, or any other part of your property, it is essential to have the third party sign a rental waiver.
Because you’re allowing people into a holy space that you won’t be able to monitor, you’ll want to ensure all parties are comfortable with the activities being held. Start by describing what renters are able to do with your space, such as rearrange tables and chairs, put up decorations, or bring in their own furniture.
You likely won’t be in the space while the event takes place, so be sure to clearly state that all liability for activities taking place in the space during the rental period is the responsibility of the renters. For example, clearly state that the event host is in charge of food, activities, or participant interactions. This ensures that your church can continue renting out your beautiful gathering space, support a safe environment, and remain separate from any liability involved with third-party renters.
If waivers seem overwhelming to implement into your safety practices, online waiver software can streamline the creation and implementation process. These platforms come with online portals for you to easily send to your congregants, along with templates for sports liability, photo release, summer camp, and even rental waivers.
Recharity’s online waiver software guide can walk you through the process of choosing and implementing software that fits your church’s needs. Don’t wait to implement waivers— protect your church’s congregation today by getting started with online waivers.