Conference policy works to protect mission teams

9/29/2017

Your church mission team is returning home after serving internationally, but the plane flight is cancelled due to mechanical issues. How do you get home without additional expense?
A team member suffers a heart attack in a remote village. How do you get that person medical attention as quickly as possible? Will the hospital or medical clinic accept your insurance?
One of your team members is in a car wreck on the way to the airport to depart for a mission trip. Is that person insured?
These crises actually occurred, although these stories were not collected from Oklahoma United Methodist mission reports.
It’s good to know that the Oklahoma Conference Volunteers in Mission (OKVIM) travel insurance and liability policy will ensure that such situations are properly handled.
The Conference is committed to best practices in mission in two major ways:
  • Preparing and certifying VIM team leaders to effectively direct volunteers on short-term mission teams.
  • Providing suitable and adequate insurance coverage.
The Annual Conference in 2011 approved a policy requiring all churches engaged in short-term missions to comply with a specific set of best practices, regardless of where the volunteers are serving, and regardless of whether the projects are UMC-related.
Recent natural disasters surely are prompting numerous Oklahoma United Methodists to volunteer for teams, to generously respond with hands-on help.
It’s a prime moment to remind all churches of the need for training and compliance with the Conference policy.
As our members prepare and deploy to serve people suffering in states along the Gulf Coast, in Mexico, and in the Caribbean, be sure you are fully equipping them for that service. Avoid any potential liability risks for your volunteers, churches, and the Conference.
For details on the OKVIM National and International Insurance Coverage, contact Kristin Terrell-Wilkes in the Office of Mission at 405-530-2029 or kterrell-wilkes@okumc.org.
Address further questions to Jeremy Basset, director of the Office of Mission, at jbasset@okumc.org or 405-530-2028.
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To view the Conference Policy on Short-Term Missions online: www.okumcministries.org/vim/vim_files/OKVIMPolicy_ShortTerm_Missions.pdf

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