Churches and ministries often allow their facilities to be used by groups and individuals not directly related to ministry function, such as weddings, Young Life and Boy Scout groups, etc. When your organization opens its facility to public use, keep in mind these tips to help protect your ministry from any issues that may arise when allowing outside facility use:
Outline who can use your facilities and for what purpose in your policies and procedures. This is something an attorney or legal advisor can help you formulate. Whether you limit your facility use to specific groups or individuals (e.g., church members), make sure this is reflected in the policies and procedures. Having this outlined proactively can allow you to decline certain groups whose intentions may not align with your ministry without putting your ministry at risk for discrimination.
Require a signed Facility Use Agreement(FUA) when your facility is being used for both inside and outside facility use. The agreement should include your ministry’s statement of beliefs and require a signature from the renter to uphold those beliefs. The FUA also outlines:
Who can use the facility
Which facilities will be in use
The services rendered
The dates they will be in use
The costs associated
The rules in the facility while in use
Consider this sample FUA provided by Brotherhood Mutual.
Ensure the outside group has liability insurance or workers compensation insuranceif it is an employer. When your ministry’s facility is listed as an additional insurer on their policy, you will receive a Certificate of Liability. This certificate gives you proof that they have the coverage and that you are listed as that additional insurer directly on their policy.
Once you establish policies and a process for facility use, make sure to be consistent with all facility use and keep diligent documentation.
We designed these resources to empower your ministry and its people to stay protected. If you have any further questions about how to protect your ministry, feel free to reach out to a GuideStone® team member today at (214) 720-2868, and they'll be glad to help. With GuideStone on your side, your ministry can manage risks while focusing on spreading the good news.