Many churches nationwide use some version of waivers and release forms with their events and activities, especially ones involving children and youth. Leaders wish to notify participants—or the parents or guardians of participants—about the potential risks involved.
They want a signature signaling the participant or parent acknowledges those risks and will not attempt to hold the church legally liable should one of those risks somehow result in an injury either to themselves or their children.
While waivers and release forms are an important part of a church’s risk management strategy, they aren’t perfect. They can help limit a church’s legal liability but often, they cannot fully eliminate it.
Unfortunately, many church leaders get lulled into a false sense of security about these documents, and these misunderstandings can lead to costly situations. Richard Hammar offers 19 key points to consider when creating and using waivers and releases at your church.