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The Use of Principles and Policies

Principles provide an underlying sense of direction, while policies provide specific direction.

When it comes to supervision, many churches struggle with the concept of reasonable care. Often, two extremes emerge. On the one hand, some church leaders try to establish a policy for every situation. This rarely works. Plus, the worst position for a church to be in is to have a policy and not enforce it. On the other hand, some church leaders do nothing. They leave supervision to the discretion of each individual worker, sometimes with catastrophic results.

A better solution is to understand some basic principles of risk. Not all activities bear the same level of risk. As a result, the level of supervision should correspond to the level of risk. General supervision is appropriate for low risk activities where the potential for a serious accident or injury is low. As risk increases, however, the supervision should become more specific.

For example, while general supervision is appropriate ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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