Procedures Sound Dull Until Someone Shows Up at Church With a Gun

3. Personnel policies.

If you have one employee, you need this.

Job descriptions. Does everyone have one?

Lines of accountability. To whom does each person answer? Who can hire and fire? What are grounds and processes for dismissal?

Vacations, sick days, days off. These need to be clearly defined.

4. Financial policies.

Having these can alleviate much stress and create much trust.

Who can sign checks or access funds?

How do expenditures get approved? I once served a church that required an expense requisition in triplicate if I wanted to buy a book for $10 that would be charged to my book line in the budget. That was over the top. However, are guidelines clearly defined?

Review. Our church brings in an outside firm every five years to do a financial procedures review. This is not a full audit, but sort of a mini-audit. Our financial health, as well as our policies (both stated and practiced), are examined, and we make any changes deemed necessary. Because of this, we run a tight ship, and the trust level is high.

I could go on, but for the sake of brevity, let me just add a few more brief suggestions.

  • Have a good insurance policy, not only for your facilities, but also with liability coverage for your ministers.
  • Make sure that you have clearly defined your church’s position on marriage and sexuality. You don’t want to be sued for “arbitrarily” refusing membership or not allowing a wedding in your facility because of someone’s sexuality.
  • Revisit your bylaws annually. Are you following them? If not, you are susceptible to litigation if a church member becomes disgruntled. Take a look at them every year, and if they are outdated or no longer useful, make the necessary changes.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Contact your local association or your state convention, and they will likely provide good counsel and possibly even sample policies. You can also talk to those at churches that have solid policies. I know our administrator has helped other churches walk this road. Get help where you can find it.  
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Mike Miller
I pastor First Baptist Church in Kenner, LA (New Orleans metro area). I am Campus Pastor and Associate Professor of Expository Preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Formerly, I was a corporate jet pilot. I have an MDiv with Biblical Languages, DMin in Expository Preaching, Thm, and PhD in Preaching. I'm married with 3 kids.