Spiritual/Theological Risk Management 

The Presbytery and Synod of SA has been working in the risk management policy. 

They’ve already developed a good theological basis for risk management but they came to the view that they needed a spiritual/theological category of risk and asked me if I had any comments. 

These were the comments I sent, and I haven’t had an opportunity to meet with the committee to explain my thoughts yet. But I’d be really interested in other people’s thoughts on how to frame a category of spiritual/theological risk for a church’s risk register. 

It would be appropriate to include “spiritual risk” in the church’s risk assessment processes. Spiritual risks are those related to sustaining the church’s authentic ecclesial identity as the body of Christ, the people of God, and a fellowship in the Holy Spirit.

Sustaining its ecclesial identity depends on all aspects of the church’s life being aligned to the ethos and values of the Uniting Church in Australia – including its identification as part of the one church of God and its participation in the mission of God. This is both the gift of God through the Holy Spirit and the faithful response of the church. The risk assessment process concerns the church’s response:

An assessment of the church’s ecclesial identity focusses on the health of local congregations – “the embodiment in one place of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” (Basis of Union paragraph 15 (a)). Risks to the health of local congregations include:

• A diminishing use of the means of grace (regularly reading the Bible, praying, participating in the fellowship of the church and in its celebrations of the sacraments)

An inability on the part of the Presbytery to reliably ensure that the Word and Sacraments is made available in every congregation

• Systemic conflict among the people of God, either in particular local congregations or across the Presbytery

Any thoughts?