If you pick up a church building and shake it, what falls out? Inventory.
Everything that can be moved or removed from a church is inventory and all inventory should be documented. I’ve done inventory counts several times and several ways including the way that I dislike the most – paper and pen writing down an item count and a brief description: 6 chairs and 1 table. The problem is that type of inventory doesn’t differentiate between really nice chairs or crummy chairs (unless you go into a lot of description.
There is an easier way – shoot a video of the entire church, inside and out. Two people (or one person in a pinch) can video an entire church in a matter of a few hours. One person has the camera while the other person opens doors, drawers, and cabinets in order to film everything the church has. The video must include both inside and outside. If you have items of value, make sure the camera pauses over each item and doesn’t just do a pan shot; for instance, when filming a stained glass window, stop on each window for a couple of seconds which is long enough to capture a good still from the video. Shoot the video as many times as necessary to get a good take of the entire building. Modern editing allows the video to be sewn together if several videos were shot over several days or even months.
Once all the videos are done and compiled, then several copies are made. One copy is left at the church in a secure place, others are placed in members’ home, and one copy is given to the church’s insurance company.
Updated video inventories can be done every 5 years or so in order to capture any changes to the church buildings, grounds, furnishings, equipment, and other possessions.
If the church has a fire or theft, the video can be used to help the insurance company identify what was lost and come up with a fair value for a payment. Insurance companies like videos – they are much better because they document the actual item and it’s easier to see the item to get a value.
Finally, this is a project made for a couple of volunteers. Explain to a few people what you need and why and then watch them take over. Encourage them to edit it and get it ready for the insurance company. This is a great way to involve volunteers in a way that directly helps their church.