Sunset Covenant Church had a pair of headaches last summer.
A burglar broke in and robbed the church, but the church had no inventory of its assets. So no one knew exactly what was missing.
Jelani Greenidge—co-pastor of the Portland, Oregon, congregation—had to sit down and make a list for their insurance company. Thankfully, it was short, he says. “I just know what’s in our storage closet and who uses what,” he says.
A laptop, a bass guitar, and some petty cash were missing, and the door had been busted in.
Many churches—especially smaller congregations—are in the same boat, says Brian Gleason, senior risk manager for GuideOne Insurance. They don’t have any kind of inventory of their assets, and if there’s a break-in or other loss at church, they’d be scrambling.
“If the church burned to the ground, all we have is a smoking pile of ash,” he says. “There is no way to identify exactly what all was in there. So the insurance company is going to ask for some kind of documentation.”
Still, churches are in luck these days, says Gleason. Modern technology—especially cell phones and video cameras—makes it easy for even the smallest congregations to keep track of their inventory.
Start with the big picture
Even a small congregation has a lot of stuff. And much of it is valuable, says Tom Lichtenberger, assistant vice president at the church insurance company Brotherhood Mutual.
He encourages churches to keep some kind of inventory—in part because they don’t always know how much they own.