Volunteer Handbook


Safety Management Team

A safety management team at the Apostolic Faith headquarters in Portland, Oregon, is responsible for developing and implementing policies related to the safety and security of the organization’s churches and staff, volunteers, and attendees. The team is comprised of the senior pastor, the youth pastor, the Sunday school superintendent, the safety team manager, and other designated staff members.

The headquarters safety team serves as the liaison with the church’s insurance provider for the organization as a whole. Based on the insurance company’s recommendations, the team oversees the production and distribution of safety materials and required trainings. They also supervise the collection and retention of necessary documentation from Apostolic Faith branch churches in the United States.

Each Apostolic Faith Church pastor is expected to establish a local safety team which will be responsible for implementing safety policies and procedures within that church. The local safety team will do the following:

  • Read the Safety and Security Manual. Those on the safety team should be thoroughly familiar with all safety requirements.
  • Work with the pastor to select and train Church Emergency Responders (CERs).
  • Do a local church assessment to identify any hazards.
  • Evaluate local environmental risks such as the potential for earthquakes or inclement weather.
  • Ensure that contact information for emergency services, security and building maintenance personnel, CERs, and ministers are kept on lists placed in easily accessible locations throughout the church building.
  • Inspect all first aid and safety equipment, making sure that first aid kits are well-supplied and placed in key locations around the church.
  • Copy and distribute safety information to the local congregation.
  • Ensure that workers are adequately instructed and trained in church safety policies and emergency procedures.
  • Facilitate regular inspections of church buildings, equipment, and vehicles, and ensure that records relating to such inspections and work orders for corrective action are retained in the church files.
  • Facilitate regular inspections of fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and the fire suppression (sprinkler) system.
  • Review Accident/Incident Report forms and follow through with any needed corrective actions.
  • Oversee periodic fire, earthquake, and evacuation drills with the frequency recommended by the church insurance provider.
  • Ensure that staff and volunteers are instructed in church policies and procedures related to safety.
  • Monitor all child/youth programs for ongoing compliance with safety policies on a regular (announced and unannounced) basis.
  • Make recommendations to the senior pastor regarding safety concerns.

Members of each local safety team should meet on a regular basis to discuss safety issues, risk management practices, and other concerns that could impact the safety or security of those who attend the local church or any of its activities.

Worker Screening and Selection

Those who serve as representatives of the Apostolic Faith work enter into special relationships of trust with the individuals they serve. Therefore, those who participate in any capacity in this organization undergo a careful screening and selection process. This process helps to ensure that candidates are both spiritually qualified and otherwise suited for roles within the church.

Prospective workers are invited to participate by the appropriate department supervisor or appointed representative of the organization on a case-by-case basis, after approval by the pastor. All prospective workers are required to:

  • Read the Apostolic Faith Church Volunteer Handbook.
  • Read the Procedure Guidelines for the area(s) of service where they will be involved.
  • Complete any other training requirements established for the area(s) of service where they will be involved, and submit any necessary documentation to the pastor or ministry supervisor.
  • Submit a Worker Application form (or a Youth Worker Application for applicants under the age of eighteen) which includes three personal references. Applicants are asked on this form to disclose any matter which may affect their suitability to work with children and youth. Authorization to do a background check is also included. (The information obtained through this process will be kept confidential.)

In addition, we recommend that all church workers who interact with minors in a ministry role read the document “What You Can Do About Child Abuse,” published by the Oregon Department of Human Services, publication #DHS 9061. It is available at

Anyone who has been convicted of child abuse will not be allowed to work with children. Allegations of abuse or other criminal offenses may also disqualify an individual from serving in the Apostolic Faith organization.

Retention Requirements

Prospective workers will be informed when they are invited to participate and/or submit their Worker Application (or Youth Worker Application) form that their certification as a church worker is limited in duration and includes an expiration date. At that time they will be required to complete any additional training and re-evaluation procedures designated by the Apostolic Faith organization in order to be recertified and continue serving in the designated capacity.

The Apostolic Faith organization reserves the right to immediately dismiss any volunteer or employee who is accused of violating the Apostolic Faith Church policies.

Worker Training

In some areas of ministry, new workers may be asked to undergo specified training; these requirements will be explained when the individual is invited to participate. In most cases, training will consist of reading this handbook and the Procedure Guidelines related to the role in which he or she will serve. Prospective workers who will be participating in ministries involving children or youth are required to take the online child safety training recommended by the church’s insurance company.

Worker Records

Based upon the recommendation of our insurance provider, the Apostolic Faith organization keeps records regarding its staff and volunteers. Those records are considered confidential information, stored securely, and made available only to those having a legitimate need to know. Of course, workers may request to view their own records at any time.

Worker files typically contain the following types of personal information.

  • Worker Application (or Youth Worker Application) form.
  • Copies of any completion-of-training certifications.
  • Documentation required by local, state, federal and/or private regulatory agencies.
  • Copies of driver’s license and insurance information for those who will drive for the organization.
  • Background checks.
  • Responses to reference requests.

Background Checks

All workers over the age of eighteen who take part in the Apostolic Faith work are required to submit a Worker Application form. Authorization to do a background check is included as part of this form. While we cannot eliminate risks, this step is recommended by insurance and legal professionals in every situation where staff or volunteers have access to vulnerable individuals such as children, youth, and the elderly. Incorporating this procedure is one indicator of our organization’s purpose to provide a safe environment for those who attend. Consent by the applicant is evidence of his/her willingness to comply with the policy of the church.

The primary type of background check includes a Criminal Record Indicator database check, and a Social Security number search. A Criminal Record Indicator database check reviews electronic databases of government agencies, including sexual offenders’ registries. A Social Security number search verifies an individual’s name, state, and last three addresses. This type of background check does not include disclosure of personal financial information.

Other screening procedures by the church might include a motor vehicle report and/or a local police record check.

Any screening may be repeated as frequently as needed, at the recommendation of our insurance company, or at the discretion of the organization.

Media Opt Out

Church photographers and writers frequently take pictures and produce articles or written descriptions of worship services, Sunday school, youth group activities, Vacation Bible School, mission trips, etc. These pictures and articles record, promote, and celebrate our church ministries through many different venues including the church website, printed publications, and media presentations. Individuals who prefer not to have their photos and/or names published may express that preference by submitting a Media Opt-Out Form to the pastor or head usher. That form is available on the safety page of the church website, or from the pastor.

Facility Usage Guidelines

The Apostolic Faith Church is committed to maintaining our church facilities in a manner that promotes safety and minimizes risk. With that goal in mind, we attempt to provide convenient access to our church buildings while still maintaining the security of individuals and church property. Workers are expected to assist by following these general guidelines related to the church facilities:

  • No smoking, alcohol, or illicit drugs are allowed in church buildings, on the church grounds, or at church-sponsored activities.
  • No sexually-oriented materials, in either electronic or print versions, are allowed in church buildings, on the church grounds, or at church-sponsored activities.
  • Church furnishings and/or equipment must not be removed from the church premises without authorization.
  • Movable walls within the church facilities are to be adjusted by authorized personnel only.
  • Any damage to the church facilities or property must be reported.
  • Those who use an area of the church are expected to leave it as clean and neat as they found it. Chairs, tables, and equipment should be returned to their original locations.
  • Volunteers are asked to help keep the buildings and grounds tidy and free of litter; this is a shared responsibility.
  • The church is not responsible for the personal property of parishioners or visitors. Items left behind and not claimed within two weeks may be donated to an appropriate community service agency or discarded.
  • Care must be taken not to disturb the neighbors in the vicinity of the church, or to infringe upon their rights in any way.