I am leading a church through a transition period right now. One area of my focus is helping the church become more organized. Some churches are afraid that the more organized they become, the more the church resembles a business. That fear is founded in the idea that if a church becomes businesslike it loses its role as a church. But an organized church will run more efficiently and be more effective. Let me suggest four documents that will help the church become more organized and move you toward your full potential.
Every organization must have a written document that guides their practices. Even when a denomination has a constitution, the local church still needs to have their own bylaws that give clarity to how they will function. This document directs how membership works, who can become a member, and what benefits and responsibilities members have. It clarifies how the leadership board is formed, including who is eligible for board roles and how they will be selected. Church Bylaws should include their Statement of Faith so everyone knows what their key beliefs are.
The bylaws should not include things that may change from time to time. Bylaws need to be reviewed regularly but should not be changed lightly. Instead, practices that may change from time to time can be included in a policy manual.
Every organization needs policies on how to handle things as small as who gets keys to the building and as complicated as how facility rentals work. Policies guide leadership in knowing how to address situations without requiring a unique decision every time when faced with a similar issue. For example, instead of addressing every request for a key separately, policies are established which can guide every distribution of keys without another board vote needed. This creates efficiency for both the leadership and church members in that each person should know what is required of them and the correct process for achieving their desired outcomes.
Further, a policy manual reduces the amount of decisions made at the leadership level because everyone can check the policy for how to handle situations that come up.
3. Job Descriptions
Many churches are lacking in providing good job descriptions. One church I served never even had a job description for their Lead Pastor – me. Good job descriptions give direction and hold people accountable. A good job description outlines the basic responsibilities that a person must meet to fulfill their role. This gives a board criteria to evaluate the individual’s efforts and keep them accountable to.
The latest job descriptions we were working through were for the Welcome Team at church. We established clear job descriptions for the Greeters, the Ushers, and the Coffee Crew. We even had one specific to the Head Usher who would captain the team on Sunday morning and cover a few extra responsibilities. Now, as we recruit people to these roles, each person will know exactly what we are asking of them.
Job descriptions need to include the job title, who the person will be responsible to and who will be responsible to them. It needs to list the qualifications for someone to step into this role as well as a list of responsibilities of the job. It is helpful to also determine a term, so everyone knows when this role is complete.
Job descriptions help identify and organize roles within an organization, which is valuable for ensuring everything that needs to be done.
This is something that many organizations, churches included, never even think of. It is helpful to have systems in place. These are basically a step-by-step instruction how to handle certain situations.
For example, a Welcome Team may have a system that guides them how to get contact information from new guests and how to pass that information on to the right people who will then follow up in some way.
The clearer the system is, the more likely it will be followed.
We all benefit when things become more organized. What documents have you found to be helpful for your organization or church?
I hope you have these documents in place. Let me know if you would like help developing these for your organization.
Keep looking up,