The Importance of Documentation & Checklists for Church Protectors

photo of a checklist

Importance of Record Keeping

Recording incidents as soon as they occur is a crucial part of a proper incident investigation. Having a written record is the primary source of information about the people involved and the sources of hazards.

Think about this: slips, trips, and falls are the cause 15% of all accidental deaths and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. Over one million Americans suffer a slip, trip, and fall injury every year. Additionally, the three major church insurance companies: Church Mutual, GuideOne and Brotherhood Mutual each receive, on average, 110 reports of child sex abuse and other sexual misconduct every year – that’s over 330 reports. Imagine just one of those occurring at you church without being reported.

It's the job of the church protector to reduce risk while providing a safe and secure worship environment" - Guy Beveridge

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Another important benefit of record keeping is having an accurate account of an incident or event on the day it occurred. A good report will gather the who, what, why, where, when and how. This may not seem all that important on the day of the event but think about the timeline of a lawsuit. If there is an event that is significant for someone to sue your church having an accurate record of the event may prevent the lawsuit at all – especially if it helps disprove allegations. If the lawsuit goes forward, they typically take years to make it to court for resolution. Having an accurate report from the day and time of the alleged event will help refresh your memory of the event and may be the difference between your church being found culpable or being exonerated – and isn’t the job of the church protector to reduce risk while providing a safe and secure worship environment?    

Good record keeping gives the church protector data:

  • Data helps identify problem areas. The more you know, the better you can identify and correct hazardous conditions in the worship environment.
  • Data allows you the ability to better determine high risk areas and events (VBS, Trunk or Treat, etc…) in order to properly mitigate and staff appropriately.
  • As your team becomes more aware of the safety risks in your church and they are more educated through audits they will be more engaged in looking for life safety issues to mitigate and report them before they become a hazard.

Additionally, record keeping program will help you:

  • Measure the effectiveness of your safety program
  • Identify high-risk areas and procedures
  • Get management to support safety initiatives
  • Set safety goals
  • Measure progress
  • Pinpoint areas needing attention
  • Identify areas that were successful in preventing work-related injuries and illnesses.

There are many benefits to keeping training records. Compliance with legislation is a big one that comes to mind, but outside of legal obligations, there are many other benefits to keeping well-organized training records, such as:

  • Easily identify who has been trained and when they were trained
  • Identify training that is about to expire or the need for re-training and/or refresher training
  • Training records can be used to create incentive programs based on merits
  • Easily identify who has specific skills that can help employers streamline the organization’s work assignments
  • Writing performance reviews can be made easier by reviewing training records and scores
  • Having data on a company’s training initiatives can be a key part of a company’s overall growth and success
  • Merit-based compensation strategies depend on meticulous training records management

The Importance of Checklists for the Church Protector

While a checklist may sound awfully routine, it’s a tool that can truly help protect your church, assets and team as you move from being informal to formal. Something as important as the safety of people should be left to chance or good guesses. Checklists help you get all your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tasks completed and done on time. Checklists allow you to focus and stay on track to keep deadlines on all your projects. For a formalized team, checklists set the perfect example and gives them a point of reference to start and to finish.

At Protector’s Toolkit there is so much going on behind the scenes that it would be incredibly difficult to run the daily, weekly, monthly business without checklists. We have a ton of checklists and to ensure we don’t miss anything and everyone is set up for success we use Trello for all of our checklists. Here is a quick overview of Trell, if you would like to consider it for your church or any other area of your life (my wife even has one for me)

Seven benefits of using a checklist for the church protector


Organization: Checklists can help you stay more organized by assuring we don’t skip any steps in a process. They are easy to use and effective. A to-do list allows you to quickly and efficiently manage your various tasks. It’s simply a list that keeps all of your tasks and items to complete in one place. The to-do list is not only a great tool for team leaders; anyone will find this tool useful. The to-do list allows you to schedule activities and not let anything “fall between the cracks.”


Motivation: Checklists motivate you to take action and complete tasks. Since checklists can make us more successful, it becomes a virtuous circle where we are motivated to accomplish more due to the positive results. Completing tasks and checklists give you a shot of dopamine in the body – that is the feel-good drug. Dopamine is highly addictive so be wary, you may find yourself creating checklists for checklists to chase dopamine high.


Productivity: By having a checklist you can complete repetitive tasks more quickly and efficiently, and with fewer mistakes. This gives you more time in the day and assures fewer “firefighting” events. You become more productive and accomplish more each day.


Creativity: Checklists allow you and your team the ability to master the repetitive tasks and frees you up to utilize more brain power for creative activities. Since the checklist means less firefighting and less stress, you not only have more time to be creative, you can think more clearly.


Delegation: By breaking down tasks into specific tasks, checklists give us more confidence when delegating activities. When we are more comfortable that tasks will be done correctly, we delegate more and become significantly more productive.


Saving lives: Think about it - checklists save lives every day. Pilots use checklists every day to avoid failure and crashes. Also, checklists reduce deaths in hospitals. When checklists have been implemented for use by surgical teams, deaths dropped 40 percent. Doctors and nurses use checklists every day to prevent death. Checklists in the medical world are checked and rechecked several times by several different levels in the chain to ensure that no patient is mistreated.


Produce & Re-Produce Excellence: Checklists allow you to be more effective at taking care of your customers. By helping to assure that you provide superior customer service you can achieve excellence in the eyes of the customer. Excellence is a differentiator that improves brand equity, quality and loyalty. Using checklists ensures that once you get a process right you can reproduce the same amazing results over and over. So, if you do something again and again, and want to do it right every time, use a checklist.

Developing checklists in your church is an important first step in creating a safe and secure worship environment. Identifying potential hazards and developing procedures to handle them will ensure the safety of your team, guests, visitors and employees and show your commitment to building a culture of safety in your church.

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