- Preamble: A statement of purpose for the bylaws.
- Identification: The legal name of the congregation.
- Affiliation: A statement of affiliation with the denominational organization. Both the regional and national judicatories.
- Membership: A definition of membership in the corporation.
- Meetings: It is required that an annual meeting be stipulated and provision be made for special called meetings. Instruction for absentee balloting should be provided.
- Corporation Officers: Michigan law requires at least three officers: President, Secretary and Treasurer.
- Governing Board: The proper name for the governing board is: Board of Directors. However, the bylaws may use a variety of designations (Trustees, elders, leadership team, etc.).
- Governing Board Powers: This board should have broad powers to act on behalf of the congregation.
- Limitations: The membership should define those decisions that they will not delegate to any board or officer.
- Committee Structure: It is not necessary to delineate complex committee structures. The governing board may appoint such committees, as it deems appropriate and necessary. A pattern consistent with the 1980-1999 decade set is to appoint temporary task forces to serve until their task is completed.
- Pastoral Relations: The matters of selection, call, discipline and termination of pastoral staff need to be clearly stipulated.
- Member Relations: Procedures for disciplining and removing members, as well as officers, should be clearly defined.
- Other Items: Additional items to delineate are:
- Terms of office: The length of term for each officer and how many times they can be re-elected.
- Quorum: What constitutes a legal meeting. ½ or 2/3 of voting members, or those who attend a duly called meeting.
- Dissolution procedures: This is a statement of what organization receives the assets of the non-profit should it cease to exist. This is required by Michigan law. The assets must go to another non-profit.
- Amendment requirements: This is the percent of vote of the members of the organization needed to amend the bylaws.
The purpose of the Governance Board is to champion the Church’s mission and vision. Working closely with the Pastor and staff, the Governance Board shall promote and support the life and ministries of the congregation.
The Pastor leads the vision and ministry of the congregation. The Governance Board approves, supports, evaluates, and governs the leadership and vision of the Pastor. Recognizing the role of spiritual authority and leadership in the life of the congregation, the congregation entrusts to the Lead Pastor the authority to manage spiritual matters and have oversight of business concerns of the congregation under the supervision and approval of the Governance Board. In turn, the Governance Board is accountable to the congregation.
The Governance Board shall:
- Seek continually the will of God for the overall purpose and direction of the church through study of the Bible, prayer, and consultation.
- Act as leaders of the congregation, reflecting the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
- Hold the Pastor and staff responsible for staying within ethical, fiscal, legal, moral, and emotional parameters. They will hold them accountable for being productive and effective in fulfilling their aspects of the mission of the church; training for evangelism and discipleship, teaching appropriate ages and groups, fulfilling their priestly responsibilities, and operating in a collegial and cooperative effort.
- Work with the congregation and staff to develop the overall policies that guide the congregation’s life and work.
- Work with the Lead Pastor and, through him/her, the pastoral staff to establish goals for their ministries, and to see that these are reviewed and evaluated at least annually.
- Review, approve, support, and govern the leadership and vision of the Lead Pastor.
- Conduct a review of the performance of the Lead Pastor at least annual, and provide input to him/her regarding performance of the pastoral staff.
- Oversee the process for reconciliation, restoration, and, if needed, discipline in the event that the Lead Pastor, pastoral staff, support staff, or ministry leaders behave in a way that is detrimental to the work of the congregation, or unfaithful to his/her trust to the Church of God.
- Be the Board of Directors of the congregation and the legal trustees of the property of the congregation, subject to and under the direction of the congregation, and to:
- Direction the business and fiscal affairs of the congregation, including all entities which it shall establish
- Have full charge and control of all property, effects, and assets of the congregation with the full power to use, regulate and control the same for the benefit of the congregation as authorized by the bylaws and/or the congregation; maintaining and caring for all properties owned by the congregation.
- Perform all legal transactions related to the property of the congregation as authorized by the congregation, such being done through the officers of the congregation.
- Hold in trust the title of the congregation’s property.
- Cause an annual financial review of the financial records by an outside-accredited accountant to be performed every ten (10) years, or more frequently if so desired by the Governance Board.
- Set the wages, salaries, benefits, and other compensations for all individual congregational employees within the approved annual budget.
- Research, create, and implement an Annual Budget, to be approved by the congregation; amending the budget during the year to reflect increases or decreases in revenue.
- Any single outlay of expenses involving more than five percent (5%) of the total budget shall require action by the congregation.
The Governance Board shall meet at least quarterly, and as often as needed.
A special meeting of the Governance Board may be called at any time by the Lead Pastor, Board Chairperson, or in the Chairperson’s absence or inability to serve, the Vice-Chairperson. A special meeting of the Governance Board may also be called upon receipt by the Secretary of a written request bearing the signatures of two-thirds of the Governance Board and stating the purpose for which they desire a meeting. A special meeting shall be held within ten (10) days of receipt of such written request by the Secretary.
Removal of Board Members
When in the aggregate judgment of the members of the Governance Board, the action of removal of a member of the Governance Board is deemed necessary for reasons of a blatant defect of character, for sustained lack of participation in the activities of the Governance Board, or for other such causes, the Governance Board shall have full authority to remove a voting Governance Board member providing such action receives the affirmative votes of at least two-thirds of the Governance Board members. Resulting vacancies for such unexpired term shall be filled by the Governance Board until the next annual meeting of the congregation.Return to top of page
(Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:1-13; Titus 1:5-9)
Members of a Governance Board serve to assist pastors and congregational members to be accountable and responsible to legal, ethical, and fiscal boundaries. They provide wisdom and counsel to pastoral-led vision and leadership. Those who serve the Church in this capacity should possess certain qualities and traits that lend themselves to this endeavor:
Their morals and ethics should not be open to attack, and their reputations should be clear. They should be self-controlled, avoiding extremes. Their thinking should balance mind and spirit. They are the examples of leadership to this congregation, and representatives of the ministries of this congregation to the community.
Experience in the Christian walk teaches tolerance and redemptive behavior; not given to superficial decisions based on immature or incomplete thinking. They should be stable in their faith, not hypocritical, and obedient to the Word of God in all respects.
Versed in the Polity of The Church Of God Reformation Movement:
Their work in the Church will require that they operate within the systems and functions of our Christian communion. A member of the Governance Board will need to “flesh out” the doctrines and practices of the Church of God Reformation Movement (Anderson IN) in practical ways. A thorough understanding of this Christian communion is necessary.
Understanding of Ministry:
As those who are responsible to be the primary advisors and counselors to the pastoral staff, their understanding of the life of pastoral, congregational, and community ministry is vital. They will be called upon to lend their wisdom to the pastor and congregation in such areas as pastoral ethics, legal requirements, and financial responsibilities.
All people will not agree on all things. Understanding that, the Governance Board should be composed of those who speak with a common voice and give full-throated support to group decisions.Return to top of page
- When the Governance Board of the XYZ Church of God deem it wise and valuable to strengthen its effectiveness and broaden its vision by incorporating outside advisors to help the church be more effective and reach more people for the Kingdom of God.
- In the initial implementation of the outside advisors to the leadership team will invite 2 people to be a part of the leadership team of the XYZ Church of God. The first outside advisor will be for a two-year term and the second outside advisor will be for a three-year term. Establishing a rotation of advisors for the future.
- After the initial implementation the advisors will be on three-year terms. Eligible for 2 consecutive terms before needing to step down for at least one year.
- One of the members chosen from outside of the Association shall be a recognized leader in the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana. The other member chosen from outside of the Association shall be a recognized leader in the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana, in another Christian church, or a Christian leader in a not for profit organization.
- Advisory Council members shall be confessing Christians and live lives that reflect holiness and manifest the fruits of the spirit. They shall be well respected within their own family, their church, their profession and their community. They shall have a warm welcoming spirit, a positive attitude and be able to see the good both in people and in situations. They shall be people who possess strong vision faith and wisdom.
- The outside advisor cannot be an officer of the corporation.
- Should the Leadership Team determine that there is just cause for the removal of an Advisory Council member, the council may remove a member by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) majority of the Governance Board.
- The outside advisory position is a volunteer position however, all expenses for travel, lodging, and food will be incurred by the XYZ Church of God.
- The outside advisors will not have voting privileges.
The Nominating Committee shall be appointed annually by the Governance Board and shall be comprised of not less than five (5) voting members, each of whom must be a member of the Congregation, but no more than two (2) of whom may be members of the Governance Board. The Senior Pastor or his/her designee shall serve as a non-voting, ex-officio member of the committee.
The Nominating Committee shall:
- Place in nomination two (2) persons to fill two (2) positions on the Governance Board each year, allowing the Congregation to ratify or reject these nominees at the Annual Business Meeting.
- Review the congregational members and name members of standing task forces for the coming fiscal/calendar year.
- Acquaint the members of the Congregation with the persons nominated for the Governance Board and task forces.
- Perform related tasks as needed.
Qualifications for Nominees
Each candidate nominated for a position on the Governance Board shall, in the aggregate judgment of the Nominating Committee, possess the biblical leadership qualifications as stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9, and as said scriptures are interpreted and articulated in Addendum A.
Procedure for Selection of Members of the Governance Board
- The Nominating Committee shall draft a list of nominees. These persons must meet the requirements of membership and leadership detailed in the bylaws and Nominating Committee policies. Nominees must be contacted and give permission to be considered for the position of member of the Governance Board.
The nominees will be given, in writing, the requirements and responsibilities of the office as described in these by-laws, as well being informed of the nominating process.
- After the nominee’s permission is given, each potential nominee will complete a Spiritual Gifts Inventory. The Governance Board is seeking people of faith, administration, and discernment.
- The Nominating Committee will seek to determine the nominee’s level of commitment and support to the Congregation through the Congregation’s staff, including the pastors and the treasurer.
- The Nominating Committee shall interview each nominee. Such an interview shall include a sharing of their spiritual conversion, their spiritual journey, and their present spiritual position.
- The final names will be placed on the ballot of the Annual Business Meeting for ratification by the congregation.
- The Nominating Committee shall perform due diligence by informing the Congregation of the qualifications, journey, and contributions of the nominee.
- The Nominating Committee shall cause the official ballot to be printed and shall cause the ballot to be made available in the church office at least two (2) weeks before the Annual Business Meeting
The Governance Board and members of the Pastoral Staff have the authority to appoint committees, task forces, and ministry teams to assist them in their duties. These groups may consist of as few as one (1) person or as many as are required to perform the stated function. These groups will be in existence for as long as needed and expire when their work is completed. No group, however, has tenure longer than one year. Hopefully, the individuals on these groups will be varied so that the maximum number of congregants may use their giftedness in the body of Christ. Such groups as may be appointed might be:
The committees of the Congregation shall be task-oriented committees known as "Ministry Task Forces," and shall carry on the work of the Congregation in designated areas. They shall be appointed by the Governance Board and consist of those members necessary to perform the duties. Task Force terms may be for one (1) year. Proposed Ministry Tasks Forces of the Congregation may be:
.. duties may include working with pastoral staff in selecting, enlisting, and supervising Sunday School teachers and staff; providing meaningful ministry and care to nursery, children, and youth of the congregation and community; assisting in the development and use of Christian education resources and programs.
.. duties may coordinate fellowship-oriented activities such as potluck dinners, banquets, Hanging of the Greens, Good Friday Observance, Church Picnic, Thanksgiving Dinner, etc.
.. duties may include communicating opportunities and coordinating efforts to serve those in the congregation and in the community who have specific needs. It shall work closely with the pastors in discerning such needs, and make decisions on how best to address each one. This Task Force is also responsible for keeping the congregation informed of the work of the missionaries supported by the church. Its duties may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Organizing the provision of meals and/or other services for those who have been recently hospitalized or who have serious illnesses.
- Matching up those in the congregation who are willing to offer services with those who are in need of such services.
- Sending notes or tokens of encouragement to those away from home in the military and in college.
- Coordinating congregational efforts in fund-raising for community needs (Relay for Life, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, CROP Walk, etc.)
- Disseminating information received regarding the missionaries supported by our congregation, and organizing fellowship activities when they are home on furlough.
- Organizing and conducting luncheons following funerals
.. duties may include working with personnel in securing instrumentalists, vocalists, worship leaders, dramatic arts and other elements of worship. Working with the Pastoral Staff, this Task Force shall acquaint itself with the talent of the congregation in the worship arts, utilizing these individuals and groups in an effort to continually improve our worship and praise. It shall further seek methods to develop other avenues of worship (drama, instrumental music, hand bells, etc.) and enhance the talents of all congregational members in the act of worship.
Building and Grounds
.. duties may include tending to improvements and maintenance of the church property as instructed by the Governance Board. It shall organize individuals within the congregation as it sees fit to help with the care and repair of the church property.
.. duties may include being familiar with giftedness of congregants and providing leadership in selecting individuals to serve in various positions within the body of Christ
.. duties may include creation of an annual budget for approval by Governance Board and congregation, supervising financial review and/or audit of books, review of budget to adjust it to meet changing needs.
.. duties may include setting up, conducting, and assisting the pastoral staff in organizing and executing baptisms, foot-washings, communion, Seder meals, and other ordinances and rituals of church life.
.. duties may include seeking pastoral staff members when required or when a vacancy occurs, as well as providing for fulfillment of ministries created by such a vacancy, such as preaching, worship leadership, Christian education or youth leadership.Return to top of page
- Only persons who meet the qualifications of a voting member according to the By-Laws shall be authorized to serve as congregational officers.
- The officers of the Congregation shall be a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.
- The Senior Pastor, by virtue of his/her office, shall be Chairperson of the Congregation. As Chairperson, s/he shall preside at all business meetings of the Congregation.
- The person selected as the Chairperson of the Governance Board shall serve as the Vice-Chairperson of the Congregation, and shall perform the duties of the Chairperson of the Congregation in his/her absence, in the event of his/her inability to serve, when the Chairperson relinquishes the chair, or in any other such circumstance.
- The person selected as the Secretary of the Governance Board shall serve as the Secretary of the Congregation. The Secretary shall keep or cause to be kept an orderly record of the business meetings of the congregation in a book provided for that purpose. This book shall be carefully preserved by the Secretary and shall remain the property of the congregation and shall remain in the church office.
- The Treasurer shall be selected by the Governance Board annually from among the membership of the Congregation in accordance with the leadership qualification as cited in Addendum A (see Nominating Committee Policies). Additionally, specific duties are contained in separate policies approved by the Church Board.
- Signatories. Authorized signatures on all church accounts and investments shall be any one of the following: Treasurer, the Business Manager of the Congregation, an assistant to the Treasurer if any, the Chairperson of the Governance Board, and/or other persons appointed by the Governance Board. The Governance Board may require multiply signatories for some accounts.
- Removal of Officers of the Congregation. The Governance Board shall have full authority to remove an officer of the Congregation from office providing such action receives the affirmative votes of at least two-thirds of the Governance Board members. Resulting vacancies for such unexpired term shall be filled by the Governance Board.
PURPOSE: To maintain consistency and equitable checks and balances.
- Prior to payment, all invoices for items ordered or expended through a program of the church will be signed by the person responsible for the expense and submitted to the Business Manager for payment.
- Prior to payment, the Treasurer or Business Manager will review all invoices and code the invoices with the account to be charged.
- The Treasurer or Business Manager will then enter the bill into the computerized system for payment and initial the account code.
- The Treasurer or Business Manager will print checks using blank checks located in the locked file cabinet in the Business office. All checks will be used sequentially.
- The check stub will be attached to the bill.
- The Treasurer or Business Manager will print a Check Register of all checks for that day including VOID checks. The Treasurer or Business Manager will sign and date the Check Register and the checks according to the Check Signing Procedure.
- In the case of the Treasurer preparing the checks, the Treasurer will give the check stubs and corresponding invoices to the Business Manager for review. In the case of the Business Manager preparing the checks, the Business Manager will give the checks stubs and corresponding invoices to the Treasurer for review. This review should be carried out within 14 days of the checks being issued.
- The Treasurer and Business Manager will sign and date the Check Register showing authorization.
- After checks are signed, the checks will be placed in the outgoing mail.
- Once checks are mailed, the Treasurer will file the Check Register, VOID checks and the invoices in the Treasurer’s office. The Treasurer will ensure that all checks in the Check Register file are sequential with none missing. If any checks are noticed to be missing, this will be reported immediately to the Business Manager for follow up. If the missing check(s) are not found this should be reported to the Board Chair immediately and a stop payment placed on the check(s) through the appropriate bank.
- The bank reconciliations must be reviewed and initialed by the Assistant Treasurer or Business Manager each month.
This is a credit card or credit account for which the liability rests with congregation instead of the cardholder/user. The congregation has entered into an agreement with a financial institution/vendor that provides qualified employees with said credit card/charge privileges.
This program has been established to empower the authorized employees to make convenient purchases of goods and services on behalf of the church. Thus, by making payment at the point of purchase, the paperwork and handling costs associated with small purchases is reduced.
The congregation’s employees whose job includes purchasing responsibility or otherwise expends funds on behalf of the congregation, can be authorized to use a credit card/credit account by the Business Manager or Treasurer. These privileges should be used by the employee for allowable purchases, as authorized under the policies and procedures governing expenditures and required documentation of the congregation. This includes purchases made over the Internet.
- An authorized employee is required to sign a congregational Credit Card/Credit Account agreement. By signing the agreement, the employee is indicating a full understanding and their agreement with the terms contained therein.
- The credit card/credit account may be used only for congregational business related expenditures. Employee may not use the card for purchases of any personal items.
- The employee is responsible for the card/account number safekeeping. If the card/account number is lost or stolen, the Business Manager or Treasurer is to be contacted immediately.
- If ordering over the Internet, the ordering site must be encrypted or protected by a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).
- Each employee is responsible for appropriately explaining all transactions. The employee must submit receipt/invoice documentation for all expenditures noting the purpose of the charge on the receipt and give them to the Business Manager at least weekly.
- Employee's signature on their submission of purchasing documentation is required. By signing, the employee attests to the appropriateness of the expense, that it is in accordance with policy and that the expenditures were not for the personal benefit of the employee or family members.
- Credit card statements must be reviewed and initialed by the Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer each month.
- The credit card/credit account may not be used for:
Personal purchases or non-business related travel expenses. When non-Church employees, such as family members, are accompanying the employee, any travel or other personal expenses of the non-Church employee must be paid separately.
- Upon termination, the employee must return the credit card/credit account information to the Business Manager or Treasurer. Use of the credit card after an employee's last day of employment may be considered fraudulent and subject to prosecution.
- Any misuse of a credit card/credit account shall be reported to the Governance Board for follow-up.
- Failure to comply with the congregation’s credit card/credit account policies may result in suspension of privileges, revocation of the card/account privileges, and/or appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination and prosecution.
- Preapproval for Lead Pastor is needed for order non-reoccurring items above $500.
Purpose:To ensure that all outgoing funds are accounted for and approved.
All checks require one signature. All invoices must accompany the pertinent check prior to check signature. Checks may be signed by any of the following individuals: Treasurer, Business Manager, or a Board Officer with check signing privileges. The Treasurer shall maintain a file, in check number order, of all checks issued including ACH withdrawals and VOID checks. Each month the Treasurer shall compare the file to the actual checks clearing on the bank statement.Return to top of page
- Enter invoices and generate A/P checks
- Set up direct pay for recurring invoices (utilities, charge bill, alarm monitoring)
- Monitor charge account — Set-up new users, establish credit limits, handle fraudulent charges, etc.
- Run church payroll checks
- Work with the Budget Committee in preparing the Church's Annual Budget
- Sign loan documents if Treasurer is not available
- Negotiate contracts for purchases, needed repairs and maintenance of Church-owned equipment, i.e. phone system, copiers, computers, etc. As directed by appropriate entity, to receive bids, estimates, comparison shop and purchase item as needed
- Oversee the church medical and supplemental ins policies and make changes as needed to hold costs in line.
- Handle coverage and claims for Church property insurance
- Run updates for Church Management Software.
The mission of the Church is to glorify God and foster the transformation of lives. Everything that transpires in our worship services needs to be done to promote this. Therefore, recognizing the fact that fund raisers and special offerings give newcomers to the church the negative perception that all we want is money and recognizing the fact that as we grow, there are more and more groups within the church vying for money, the following policies have been adopted by the Governance Board.
The Governance Board must approve all fundraisers and special offering prior to them being presented to the congregation.
Every effort will be made to limit the amount of financial appeals to the congregation beyond those necessary for the operation of the church such as: building fund, capital improvement, budget, etc. All church groups are encouraged to raise additional funds through fundraisers outside the church.
The Governance Board will look at the needs of the Church as a whole when considering requests.
As a general rule, no more than one fund raiser/special offering per month will be allowed.
Opportunities for giving to special project can be made known through the newsletter or other media of the congregation.
Fundraisers and /or special offerings will not be promoted from the pulpit unless so directed by the Governance Board.
Fundraiser displays shall not be left in the narthex for more than one Sunday.
The sale of items for organizations outside the church should not be done at the church facility. A flyer and catalog may be made available to congregation members through postings in the facility or through church media outlets. This flyer should contain containing information on how they may purchase sales project items, but personally approaching congregants in the church facility during worship and fellowship times is greatly discouraged.Return to top of page
Pastoral / Administrative Staff Members
Selection, Retention, Supervision, Removal, Resignation
The Lead Pastor shall provide Biblical vision and leadership for the Congregation. S/he shall work with the Governance Board, Associate Pastors, Ministry Leaders, and staff to oversee the spiritual and business affairs of the Congregation. He/she shall work in cooperation with the Governance Board in establishing the goals and direction for the church, establishing objectives for Associate Pastors and support staff, and setting policies and procedures for the establishment, operation, and elimination of ministries. The Lead Pastor may delegate specific duties or authority, as s/he deems appropriate.
Selection of Lead Pastor:
In the event of a vacancy in the office of Lead Pastor, the Governance Board shall have the responsibility of filling this position.
The Governance Board shall create a Search Committee to enable the hiring of a Lead Pastor. The Governance Board reserves the right to act as a Search Committee, or may choose to appoint additional and/or other congregational members to serve on the committee.
The Governance Board may seek the services of a Counseling Minister to assist them in their task. Such a Counseling Minister should be recommended by the state association and may be another pastor in this area.
The Search Committee shall keep the pulpit supplied during the absence of a preaching minister. This task may be delegated to a sub-committee or handled by the Governance Board.
The Search Committee may wish to survey the congregation to ascertain perceived needs and requirements of a pastor.
The Search Committee of the congregation shall receive applications for the pastoral vacancy from The Church of God in Michigan, and, through the state office, other national candidates. Any person expressing interest in the pastoral position shall be instructed to work through the state office of The Church of God in Michigan. In order to be fair to the one God is calling to this position, all interested parties shall work through the same channel as the state office. The committee shall investigate the qualifications and credentials of the applicants. All final applicants must be or be able to be fully credentialed by the Church of God. The Search Committee shall interview those applicants who appear to possess traits and skills needed by the Congregation.
The Search Committee shall seek the services of the state association is providing the necessary background checks on all final candidates.
The Search Committee, working with the Governance Board, shall negotiate the terms of employment with the candidate. These terms shall include compensation and benefits package, vacations, convention time, emergency leave and other human relations aspects.
The Search Committee of the congregation shall submit one (1) person at a time to the congregation for their approval. The submission of this person may include a time of pastoral candidation, which may include times of fellowship, discussion and sharing, as well as preaching and/or teaching and/or other appropriate situations.
After careful and prayerful consideration, the congregation shall express by ballot whether they believe that the person submitted is the one that God has chosen for the pastoral staff vacancy. The time of voting shall be done on the same day and by the same people who have participated in the candidation experience.
An eighty-five (85) percent affirmative vote of the voting members of the Congregation present who fulfill the requirements of the By-Laws for voting shall be necessary in approving a call for the Lead Pastor.
If such a vote is not received, or if the candidate chooses to decline, these steps shall be repeated until the vacancy is filled.
The Search Committee shall work in coordination with the Governance Board and the pastoral staff to determine a time when his/her services are to begin, to arrange for relocation and other appropriate arrangements. They shall remain active until such time as a proper Service of Installation has been prepared and executed for the person filling the position. The committee shall engage in active assistance in the planning and execution of such a service and reception. After pastoral installation, the Search Committee shall disband.
Selection of Associate Pastors and Staff:
The Lead Pastor shall have responsibility for filling any vacancy in the pastoral staff, and for hiring for any new pastoral staff positions created by the Governance Board.
This process may include receiving a sampling from the congregation to ascertain perceived needs and requirements for filling such a position.
The Lead Pastor and/or Search Committee may receive applications for the pastoral vacancy from The Church of God in Michigan, and, through the state office, other national candidates. Any person expressing interest in the pastoral position shall be instructed to work through the state office of The Church of God in Michigan. In order to be fair to the one God is calling to this position, all interested parties shall work through the same channel as the state office. The committee shall investigate the qualifications and credentials of the applicants. All final applicants must be or be able to be fully credentialed by the Church of God. The Search Committee shall interview those applicants who appear to possess traits and skills needed by the Congregation.
The Lead Pastor and/or Search Committee shall seek the services of the state association is providing the necessary background checks on all final candidates.
The Lead Pastor and/or Search Committee, working with the Governance Board, shall negotiate the terms of employment with the candidate. These terms shall include compensation and benefits package, vacations, convention time, emergency leave and other human relations aspects.
The Lead Pastor and/or Search Committee of the congregation shall submit one (1) person at a time to the congregation for their approval. The submission of this person may include a time of pastoral candidation, which may include times of fellowship, discussion and sharing, as well as preaching and/or teaching and/or other appropriate situations.
After careful and prayerful consideration, the congregation shall express by ballot whether they believe that the person submitted is the one that God has chosen for the pastoral staff vacancy. The time of voting shall be done on the same day and by the same people who have participated in the candidation experience.
An eighty-five (85) percent affirmative vote of the voting members of the Congregation present who fulfill the requirements of the By-Laws for voting shall be necessary in approving a call for the Lead Pastor.
If such a vote is not received, or if the candidate chooses to decline, these steps shall be repeated until the vacancy is filled.
The Lead Pastor and/or Search Committee shall work in coordination with the Governance Board and the pastoral staff to determine a time when his/her services are to begin, to arrange for relocation and other appropriate arrangements. The Search Committee shall remain active until such time as a proper Service of Installation has been prepared and executed for the person filling the position. The Search Committee shall engage in active assistance in the planning and execution of such a service and reception. After pastoral installation, the Search Committee shall disband.
Associate Pastoral and Support Staff
Upon consultation with the Governance Board, the Lead Pastor is responsible for hiring and dismissal of Associate Pastors and support staff. S/he shall direct the church staff, providing counsel, encouragement, and Christian discipline so as to assist in the accomplishment of objectives for all staff and ministry leaders. S/he shall conduct individual performance reviews with each staff member at least annually. All Associate Pastors and staff are first accountable to the Lead Pastor in fulfilling their responsibilities, and then to the Governance Board. The Governance Board is, in turn, accountable to the congregation.
Removal of Associate Staff:
In the event that a Staff Member’s services are no longer required, or s/he is not meeting performance expectations, the Lead Pastor shall follow this process:
- In the event the service of any Staff Member is called into question, the Lead Pastor shall first establish the opportunity for the Staff Member to correct the situation under concern.
- The Lead Pastor shall notify the Governance Board of any actions taken and next steps required of the Staff Member.
- If, after a period of time set by the Lead Pastor, the situation is not resolved, the Lead Pastor shall consult with the Governance Board regarding the possible removal of the Staff Member from his/her position.
- The Lead Pastor may dismiss the Staff Member.
- Any staff person who has been dismissed may appeal the dismissal to the Governance Board. The decision of the Governance Board shall be final.
Retention or Removal of Pastoral/Administrative Staff. If, at any time there should arise among the members of the congregation, the question that a change of pastoral staff would be beneficial to the work of the church, or if a pastoral staff member is found to be unfaithful in his/her trust to the Church of God, then the person or persons possessing these feelings shall conduct themselves in accordance with the following procedure:
- The person(s) shall discuss it with the pastoral staff member in question in accordance in Matthew 18:15-18 and Galatians 6:1.
- If the grievance is against an Associate Pastor, they shall next discuss the issues with the Lead Pastor to seek resolution.
- If no agreement is reached, they shall discuss it with the pastoral staff member, in the presence of witnesses, in accordance with Matthew 18:15-18 and Galatians 6:1.
- If no agreement is reached, they shall bring the matter to the Governance Board. A meeting shall be called of that group and shall include the members of the Governance Board, the Lead Pastor, any Associate Pastor(s) involved, and the person(s) expressing the grievance. The Governance Board shall, acting in accordance with scripture, seek a fair and equitable resolution to the matter. Counseling services of the State Office Ministries of the Church of God may be invited to participate at the invitation of the committee and/or the pastoral staff member.
If no resolution is obtained, and/or no agreement is reached, the Governance Board shall decide how to further dialogue to reach resolution. If the grievance is against an Associate Pastor, the Lead Pastor makes the final decision, which may be appealed to the Governance Board. If the grievance is against the Lead Pastor, the Governance Board may choose to call a Special Business Meeting of the congregation to deal with the matter. During such meeting, the person(s) expressing the grievance and the Lead Pastor shall be given opportunity to speak before the Congregation. The Governance Board and representatives of any counseling services shall also report its action and findings. The secret ballot of the congregation shall be the final authority in such matters.
If the ballot reveals that two/thirds (2/3) of the members present and voting feel that the grievance is justified, the appropriate action shall be taken by the Congregation, carried out by the Governance Board. Such action may be to ask for the resignation of the Lead Pastor. In the event a pastor should be asked to resign following such a process, s/he shall do so. Should s/he refuse, the congregational Vice-Chairperson, Corporate Secretary and Treasurer, in conjunction with the Governance Board, shall effect the pastor's dismissal.
In a situation of “forced resignation,” the salary of such a pastoral team member shall end at a date no later than sixty (60) days after the said meeting. If the removal is due to defection of character resulting in the loss of ministerial status, the removal will be immediate and the Corporation has no financial obligations.
Resignation of Pastoral/Administrative Staff. If a member of the Pastoral/Administrative Staff desires to terminate his/her position with the Congregation, that person shall present a written resignation to the Governance Board subsequent to which the Governance Board shall cause such resignation to be properly presented to the Congregation. The resignation shall provide for a minimum sixty (60) days from the day of his/her tender of resignation, unless other mutually satisfactory arrangements are achieved.Return to top of page
The Lead Pastor shall review the performance of all members of the staff at least annually, and shall present a written report of such a review to the Governance Board at least annually.
The Lead Pastor, upon consultation with the Governance Board, is responsible for hiring and dismissal of Associate Pastors and support staff. S/he shall direct the church staff, providing counsel, encouragement, and Christian discipline so as to assist in the accomplishment of objectives for all staff and ministry leaders. S/he shall conduct individual performance reviews with each staff member at least annually. All Associate Pastors and staff are first accountable to the Lead Pastor in fulfilling their responsibilities, and then to the Governance Board. The Governance Board is, in turn, accountable to the congregation.Return to top of page
To continue to provide effective spiritual leadership and to counteract the rigorous and unique demands of the ministry, the Governance Board of the congregation believes it is necessary for Pastors to have a time of rejuvenation that extends beyond vacation time. The purpose of the sabbatical leave of absence is to provide a time of personal and spiritual refreshment and professional growth. The sabbatical is not automatic and is not a reward for past service. It is an investment in a Pastor's intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
A sabbatical leave may be taken in every eighth year of service with the congregation. Unless an exception has been approved, the sabbatical must be taken in the year of eligibility. Only one Pastor may take a sabbatical in any given calendar year.
Years of Service; Sabbatical Allowed
- After 7 years; 8-10 weeks
- After 14 years; 10-12 weeks
- After 21years; 10-12 weeks
- After 28 years; 10-12 weeks
- Vacation time is not included as part of the sabbatical time. Pastors are encouraged not to extend the sabbatical with vacation time, but to take vacation time at another time during the year. USE OF TIME
- The sabbatical should be used for renewal, rejuvenation, and enrichment. Possible uses of time include rest, relaxation, study that will benefit the individual, study that will benefit the congregation, spiritual growth, travel, and skill development.
- Notice should be initiated at least six months in advance.
- A written request should be given to the Lead Pastor, with final approval by the Governance Board.
- The notice should include a general outline of plans during the sabbatical, anticipated dates of the sabbatical, and a commitment for continued service of at least one year to the congregation.
- The Lead Pastor should work with the Governance Board regarding his sabbatical time.
- Full wages and benefits will be paid during the sabbatical. The Church is not responsible for other funding of the sabbatical.
- The Pastoral staff will arrange for coverage, with approval by the Governance Board.
- The Lead Pastor and the Governance Board may address exceptions to the above policy on a case-by-case basis.
Churches often call ministers who have some previous pastoral experience. It is therefore reasonable that a minister expects the “calling” church to acknowledge the previous experience and assume some responsibility for it in terms of vacation. It would be proper to place a 1⁄2 value upon prior years of experience and full value on experience with the current or “calling” church.
Example: A minster has 20 years experience prior to accepting a call to the present church. The 20 years would have 1⁄2 or 10 years of vacation value with the current church. After serving 5 years with the current church the vacation value would be 15 years.
Vacation value experience from:
- 1 to 5 years=2 weeks vacation
- 6 to 12 years=3 weeks vacation
- 13 to 20 years=4 weeks vacation
- More than 20 years = 5 weeks vacation
Prior years vacation value is earned only on regular full-time ministry service.
Definition: “A week” is a 7-day period of time. If vacation days are not used in one continuous week, then one week of vacation is equal to five individually-scheduled work days.Return to top of page
How believers handle disagreements and engage in confrontation is one of the most important issues at work in the Body of Christ. Not only does such language and behavior speak volumes to our society and culture about the power of Christ at work in Christians and in the Christian church, but negative behavior, language and process is often the source of congregational schisms, broken relationships, and unhealthy churches. For these reasons, and a host of others, following biblical principles and teachings on this subject is vital to the life of any congregation.
The Governance Board, along with each Task Force and committee, of the congregation is a servant of the church, with specific ministry assigned by the congregation. If a congregational member of the congregation differs strongly with the action of a pastoral staff member, the Governance Board, any Task Force or committee, s/he must follow the accepted procedure for sharing grievances and airing differences. To follow this procedure is important, not only because it treats brothers and sisters in Christ with respect and love, but also it is a model to society and our culture of how Christians used biblical teaching in handling differences and conflict. While there are several scriptures which elaborate on the biblical teaching, the primary text is from Matthew 18:15-17, with a proviso from Galatians 6:1-2 …
Matthew 18:15-17 [New International Version]
15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Galatians 6:1-2 [New International Version]1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
It is important that the steps be following in the prescribed, biblical order, and that no other parties be asked to give support or comment to this. If the aggrieved party has a position, that person should be able to maintain his/her position without the support or agreement of others (otherwise, they would not be maintaining their own position). Every effort should be made, at each step in this process, to achieve reconciliation and resolution in a punctual and timely manner.
When presenting a position to the pastor, board, task force or committee, it is unnecessary and inappropriate to say such comments as, "Many others feel this way." If others feel this way, it is their responsibility to speak their positions for themselves. To do so, deprives them of self-representation or an opportunity for Christian growth.
Following these instructions, there are steps to be followed when a congregational member has a grievance with a pastor, board, task force, or committee of the congregation.
STEP ONE Associate Pastor
If there is a grievance or a difference of opinion with an associate pastoral staff member, one should first approach that Associate Pastor to discuss the issue. This must not be a hurried statement on Sunday morning, when the pastor is endeavoring to prepare for worship, or minister to a larger group of people. This conversation must be made by appointment when a block of time and lack of interruptions will allow both parties to devote their attention to this important subject matter. It is the mutual responsibility of the aggrieved party and the associate pastor to be sure that the grievance is clearly understood.
If the grievance is not resolved, the aggrieved party must speak to the Senior Pastor. This, also, must be a meeting made by appointment, and must be composed of the aggrieved party, the Senior Pastor, and the Associate Pastor in question.
If the grievance is not resolved, the aggrieved party may submit their position to the Governance Board.
STEP TWO: Senior Pastor
If there is a grievance or a difference of opinion with the Senior Pastor, one should first approach the Senior Pastor to discuss the issue. This must not be a hurried statement on Sunday morning, when the pastor is endeavoring to prepare for worship, or minister to a larger group of people. This conversation must be made by appointment when a block of time and lack of interruptions will allow both parties to devote their attention to this important subject matter. It is the mutual responsibility of the aggrieved party and the senior pastor to be sure that the grievance is clearly understood.
If the grievance is not resolved, the aggrieved party may submit their position to the Governance Board.
STEP THREE: Task Force or Committee
If there is a grievance or a difference of opinion with a Task Force or Committee of the congregation, one should first approach the Chairperson of that body to discuss the issue. This must not be a hurried statement on Sunday morning, when the Chairperson may be busy with other responsibilities. This conversation must be made by appointment when a block of time and lack of interruptions will allow both parties to devote their attention to this important subject matter. It is the mutual responsibility of the aggrieved party and the Chairperson to be sure that the grievance is clearly understood. The Chairperson may wish to include the entire Task Force or Committee in the meeting.
If the grievance is not resolved, the aggrieved party must speak to the Senior Pastor. This, also, must be a meeting made by appointment, and must be composed of the aggrieved party, the Senior Pastor, and the Chairperson of the Task Force or Committee in question.
If the grievance is not resolved, the aggrieved party may submit their position to the Governance Board.
STEP FOUR: Governance Board
If the Associate Pastor, Task Force or Committee, and Senior Pastor are not able to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the aggrieved party, the person bringing the grievance may appeal to the Governance Board. Such appeal must be in writing with as much history to the process followed as possible, and given to the Chairperson of the Governance Board.
The Chairperson of the Governance Board must give careful consideration to the grievance stated; confer with the assigned pastor/s, the Task Force or Committee involved, and with the person submitting the grievance. If negotiations cannot be achieved, the Chairperson of the Governance Board may make the concern an agenda item of a regular or special-called meeting of the Governance Board. The aggrieved party may be invited to be present.
The Governance Board should judge whether the grievance should go further. It may make a judgment if no negotiated settlement is possible.
STEP FIVE: The Church
The body of members of the Church of God (as defined by the Church's bylaws) is the body of last resort with regard to grievances. The Governance Board may or may not decide to bring the concern to the congregation. At the special-called meeting of the congregation, all parties who have presented a concern, or who have been part of the charge of the concern, will be given a right to speak. There must not be any behavior or language that would not be fitting a believer to share with his brother and/or sister in Christ. A congregational vote may or may not be taken. If a vote is taken, any resolution of lacking confidence in a pastor must be passed by at least 2/3% of those present and voting. There will be no absentee ballots received or accepted.
There is no "step six." Whatever the results of this process may be, those results stand. Pastor/s, board, task force/s, committee/s, and aggrieved parties accept and abide by the results of the process. Conversations, gossiping, and "sharing of Christian concerns" must cease.
There must be no use of petitions before, during, or following this process.
Any deviation from the biblical principles of this process by aggrieved parties, pastor/s, or any governing body of the congregation will negatively affect the outcome of the process, and will be taken into consideration during the consideration of the resolution of the issue.
This policy pertains to the handling of grievances related to the work and ministry of the church, and not to conflict between individuals. However, individual conflict resolution is also to be approached in the manner taught in Matthew 18:15-17, and elaborated on elsewhere in scripture.Return to top of page
The congregation, in the exercise of its religious and charitable purposes, has established a missions fund to assist persons attending a mission work camp. The church welcomes contributions to the fund. Donors are free to suggest beneficiaries of their contributions to the fund. However, such suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory in nature. The administration of the fund, including all disbursements, is subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the Governance Board. The Governance Board may consider suggested designations, but in no event is it bound in any way to honor them, since they are accepted only on the condition that they are merely nonbinding suggestions or recommendations.
Checks should be made payable to the church, with a notation that the funds are to be placed in the church mission work camp fund.Return to top of page
To reduce the possibility of inurement occurring within church leadership, the IRS now requires nonprofit organizations to have a conflict of interest policy. All pastor(s), governing board members, and committee members should review this policy annually.
Conflict of interest arises when a person stands to gain personally from a transaction but does not reveal their personal relationship involved in the transaction. The following policy is wording created by the IRS.
Conflict of Interest Policy for Congregation
Article I Purpose
The purpose of the conflict of interest policy is to protect this tax-exempt organization’s (The congregation) interest when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of a Congregation‘s employee or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction. This policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.
Article II Definitions
Any director or employee, who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.
A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:
An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the congregation has a transaction or arrangement.
A compensation arrangement with the congregation or with any entity or individual with which The congregation has a transaction or arrangement, or
A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the congregation is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.
Compensation includes direct or indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.
A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Under Article III, Section 2, a person who has a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the appropriate governing board or committee decides that a conflict of interest exists.
Article III Procedures
Duty to Disclose
In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the directors and members of committees with governing board delegated powers considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.
Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists
After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested person, he/she shall leave the governing board or committee meeting while determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining board or committee members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.
Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest
An interested person may make a presentation at the governing board or committee meeting, but after the presentation, h/she shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.
The chairperson of the governing board or committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.
After exercising due diligence, the governing board or committee shall determine whether The congregation can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.
If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the governing board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors whether the transaction or arrangement is in the congregation’s best interest, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination it shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement.
Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy
If the governing board or committee has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
If, after hearing the member’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the governing board or committee determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.
Article IV Records of Proceedings
The minutes of the governing board and all committees with board delegated powers shall contain:
The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the governing board or committee’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.
The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.
Article V Compensation
A voting member of the governing board who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the congregation for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
A voting member of any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the congregation for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
No voting member of the governing board or any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the congregation either individually or collectively, is prohibited from providing information to any committee regarding compensation.
Article VI Annual Statements
Each director, employee, and member of a committee with governing board delegated powers shall annually sign a statement which affirms such person:
- Has received a copy of the conflicts of interest policy
- Has read and understands the policy
- Has agreed to comply with the policy, and
- Understands The congregation is charitable and in order to maintain its federal tax exemption it must engage primarily in activities which accomplish one or more of its tax-exempt purposes.
Article VII Periodic Reviews
To ensure the congregation operates in a manner consistent with charitable purposes and does not engage in activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status, periodic reviews shall be conducted. The periodic reviews shall, at a minimum, including the following subjects:
Whether compensation arrangements and benefits are reasonable, based on competent survey information and the result of arm’s length bargaining.
Whether partnerships, joint ventures, and arrangements with management organizations conforms to the congregation written policies, are properly recorded, reflect reasonable investment or payments for goods and services, further charitable purposes and do not result in inurement, impermissible private benefit or in an excess benefit transaction.
Article VIII Uses of Outside Experts
When conducting the periodic reviews as provided for in Article VII, the congregation may, but need not, use outside advisors. If outside experts are used, their use shall not relieve the governing board of its responsibility for ensuring periodic reviews are conducted.
Acceptance: I understand and accept this policy, and further understand the consequences of violating this Church policy.
Governance Board Member Date: __________________________________________
This is to certify that I, _______________________________________, a volunteer teller at _(the congregation)_______, understand that any information (written, verbal or other form) obtained during the performance of my duties must remain confidential. This includes all information about members, families, visitors, employees or contributing organizations, as well as any other information otherwise marked or known to be confidential.
I understand that any unauthorized release or carelessness in the handling of this confidential information is considered a breach of the duty to maintain confidentiality.
I further understand that any breach of the duty to maintain confidentiality could be grounds for immediate dismissal from the position of volunteer teller.
Signature of Teller ______________________________________
Signature of Witness ______________________________________
- The Kitchen Coordinator shall be the custodian of the kitchen's supplies and usage. S/He shall order and stock utensils and serving pieces, keep a record of the monies spent from the budget allocated to this endeavor, and coordinate the work of other groups and individuals who use the kitchen.
- The Kitchen Coordinator shall be answerable directly to the Governance Board through the Business Manager. The Kitchen Coordinator may address his/her concerns to the Board through the Business Manager, or bring his/her concerns directly to the Board through a request given through the Business Manager, Chairperson, or pastoral staff member.
- The Kitchen Coordinator shall, working within the budget allocated to him/her, purchase paper plates, plastic utensils, storage containers, serving dishes and utensils, condiments, and other items needed to maintain the kitchen in working order. Receipts for items purchased shall be submitted to the Business Manager as soon as possible after the purchase. The Kitchen Coordinator shall review financial reports provided by the Treasurer for accuracy, and report any unfamiliar transactions.
- The Kitchen Coordinator shall coordinate the efforts of the person(s) using the kitchen on behalf of the Fellowship Task Force, the Sunday Coffee and Fellowship Time, Newcomer Luncheons, Pastoral and Administrative Staff, the Youth Group, Christian Women Connection, the College/Career group, and any other groups and/or individuals from the congregation who engage in the use of the church kitchen.
- The Kitchen Coordinator shall work with groups and individuals outside the church who have been granted use of the church kitchen, apprising them of their rights and their limitations, supervising their usage, and holding them accountable for their stewardship.
- The Kitchen Coordinator shall maintain high health standards in the church kitchen by tracking and, when necessary, discarding refrigerated, frozen and stored items when their reasonable expiration date has been reached.
- The Kitchen Coordinator shall maintain a schedule of the kitchen's usage, doing everything possible to avoid "double-booking" or having the kitchen being used during other nearby activities that might be affected by noise levels.
- The Kitchen Coordinator, working with the Business Manager, shall develop and submit a written budget proposal for the subsequent year. The proposal will be reviewed by the Budget Committee, and should contain sufficient detail to justify the funds requested. The Kitchen Coordinator may be asked to meet with the Budget Committee to provide additional information and answer questions about the proposal. If the Kitchen Coordinator determines during the year that there is a need for additional funding beyond the adopted budget, that need should be addressed in writing to the Governance Board.
In order for the church to schedule groups using our bus and to inform you of any changes, please fill out the information below and return it to the Business Manager as soon as possible.
Name of Group: _____________________________________________________
Group Contact Person: ______________________________________________
Date of Event: _________________
Time: FROM ___________ TO ___________
Purpose of Event, i.e. Daycare trip to zoo, Youth work project, Golf Outing _____________________________________________________________________
Size of Group: _______________________________________________________
All operators must meet the following criteria:
- Be as least 25 years of age
- Have a valid CDL license with P – passenger endorsement
- Have a personal driving record with not more than six (6) active points as determined by the Secretary of State’s office.
- To ensure safety, all passengers should wear safety belts as provided.
- The bus must be cleaned upon its return to the church. This includes picking up all trash, vacuuming (if necessary) and making sure the windows are clean.
- The individual who checks the bus out, will be responsible to see that the bus is returned with a full tank of gas.
- Any mechanical problems will be promptly reported to the Church Business Manager.
- In the event of an accident, please contact the Business Manager immediately.
- While normal wear and tear is expected, the Governance Board could, at their discretion, hold an individual or group responsible for any cost incurred to repair damage caused by abuse or neglect.
- Please be considerate of other groups within the church who may need to use the bus.
Signing indicates you are in agreement with the above information, and agree to be responsible for the proper care of the bus during your outing.
- Have designated security team. Have one member assigned specifically to protect pastor during service. Two members to work patrolling church. Other members if possible throughout congregation.
- Security team should have communication with each other and other members functioning throughout church. (children sign in table, children pastor, ushers. Etc.)
- If members of security team have a CCW permit (carrying concealed weapons permit) allow them to carry when at church if following conditions are met
- Senior Pastor approval
- Business Manager has background check done annually and on file
- Head of church security is notified
- Member has to meet church voting standard
- Encourage members of law enforcement to carry concealed weapon and/or be member of security team
Security Team Objectives
- To protect members and staff from verbal and physical confrontation
- To protect church from theft including parking lot
- To keep church secure by
- Making periodic building checks
- Checking all doors and windows
- Checking unoccupied rooms
- Guarding usher to get offering securely in safe
- Locking North door after worship begins
- Unlocking North door after worship ends
- Make sure no one is where they shouldn’t be
- No children roaming church unattended
- All class rooms and other meeting areas are orderly
- Observe all persons attending church for suspicious behavior
- If newcomer is noticed make sure introductions are made and directions to services and classes are given. Also observe more closely, especially if not guest of member
- This is all to be done in a way that is discrete and respectful, while making members feel welcome and secure
- Notify Emergency Response Team (ushers) (get other qualified help)
- Send 1 Usher to call 911
- Send 1 Usher to get medical equipment and/or wheel chair
- Remove patient to private area if possible
- Administer aid if qualified
- Keep area secure
- Direct Ambulance in
- Notify Emergency Response Team (ushers)
- Help put out small fire if possible
- Pull alarm and evacuate church if necessary (1 usher call 911, 1 usher to help with children in evacuating, 2 evacuate sanctuary to parking lot)
- Keep people out of way of responding emergency vehicles
- Do not let anyone re-enter church until cleared by Fire Dept.
- Remain calm
- Notify Emergency Response Team (ushers)
- Start calmly evacuating church to designated area
- Make sure children and teachers step away from windows
- Do not allow anyone to leave until all clear (guard exits)
- Call 911 if necessary
- Administer aid
- Remain calm
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction, Definition of a “Youth”
- General Rules for all activities and events
- Transportation Policies
- Local Meeting Policies
- Out-of-town Policies
- Discipline Policy
- Youth Account Policies
- Our Youth Ministry Rationale
- Contact Information
The purpose of this handbook is to outline basic rules, expectations, guidelines, and policies for all youth, parents, and staff involved in any way with the Youth Ministry of the congregation, so that we can ensure the safety and nurture of all students who participate. These guidelines are in harmony with all Risk Management Policies and Procedures adopted by the Governance Board of the congregation. Our Risk Management Policy is available to any person by request. While certainly not comprehensive, this handbook serves as a general outline for the Youth Ministry at the congregation and should be read in the spirit intended- that we are all here to honor God as we grow in our faith, build lasting relationships, and serve our community… and we try not to kill each other while doing it (remember, this is a youth manual!). At this time, a Youth in the congregation is defined as a male or female:
- 12-18 years of age (generally) and,
- in grades 7-12.
Graduates of 6th Grade may begin attending all youth events beginning with the printed Summer Schedule following the end of the public school year. Likewise, High School graduates may continue to participate throughout the following summer of their graduation year, as well as attend the International Youth Convention (through age 21). They will move out of the High School Sunday School class at the end of that same summer.
II. GENERAL RULES FOR ALL ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
- As Pertains to all persons
As the congregation, we seek to honor God with our actions, thoughts, and words. Therefore, all persons involved in or with our youth ministry will refrain from the following:
- All forms of alcohol or tobacco use
- Illegal or inappropriate drug use
- Swearing or other inappropriate language (racist, sexist, etc.)
- Inappropriate sexual behavior as defined in the following paragraphs
- Illegal or immoral media or entertainment
- Pornography of any kind
- Music containing sexually explicit, racist, profane, or violent lyrics
- Video games containing inappropriate content
- Any material that does not honor God e. social media
- The Youth Pastor and counselors reserve the right to judge any media as appropriate or inappropriate
- Improper use or destruction of property
- Fighting of any kind (verbal or physical)
- Fireworks or explosives of any kind (including aerosols)
- Possession of any firearm or dangerous weapon.
- Any and all behavior expressly forbidden by one’s own parents
- As Pertains to Youth
- Youth should honor God at all times with their thoughts, words, and actions.
- Youth should respect and be courteous to all Counselors, Counselors in Training (CIT)’, Pastors, and other youth at all times.
- Youth will be accountable to all counselors, CIT’s and the Youth Pastor, who is accountable to the Governance Board.
- Inappropriate sexual behavior will include any and all physical contact between any persons other than the following unless prohibited by individual parents:
- Hugs of “friendship or support”
- Holding hands
- And that’s it!
Youth must maintain a suitable distance from each other at all times (the “Daylight” rule: must be able to see daylight between you at all times).
- When attending an event, all youth should participate in all activities unless physically unable to do so.
- Youth are forbidden from transporting other youth without the expressed permission of each youth’s parents. Youth will not transport other youth at any time during a scheduled youth activity.
- As Pertains to Counselors
- All counselors must be at least 23 years of age, appointed by the Youth Pastor, and are accountable to the Youth Pastor, who in turn is accountable to the Governance Board.
- Inappropriate sexual behavior is defined in the Risk Management Policy of The congregation; guidelines include the following:
- No counselor will be alone with any youth without supervision.
- Counselors will refrain from intimate behavior with their spouses while in the presence of youth.
- Counselors will have no physical contact with any youth at any time except the following circumstances:
- Holding hands during prayer
- Hugs of friendship or support when warranted
- A youth is in imminent danger
- Single and married counselors alike will seek to be Godly examples at all times in relation to human dating practices and sexuality. Simply, single counselors must practice a celibate lifestyle and be examples of holiness in their dating. Married couples or individuals must exhibit traits of a Holy Spirit guided marriage, and conduct themselves in such a way as to provide examples of what a healthy marriage looks like.
- Counselors are strictly forbidden from dating Youth. 3. Counselors will not discipline youth. That job belongs solely to the Youth Pastor and the youth’s parent(s).
- Counselors may transport youth during a youth event. However, they may only transport youth to and from events with the expressed written permission of an individual’s parent(s).
- As Pertains to Counselors-In-Training (CITs)
- All CITs must be at least 21 years of age, appointed by the Youth Pastor, and are accountable to all counselors and to the Youth Pastor, who in turn is accountable to the Governance Board.
- All CITs will conform to the guidelines regarding sexual behavior and discipline as outlined in section II. C. 2-3.
- CITs are not approved to transport youth during youth group events. They may transport youth to and from events only with the expressed written permission of an individual’s parent(s).
III. TRANSPORTATION POLICY
- It is beyond the scope of our ministry to insure that youth arrive at youth events and return home safely when driving themselves or being driven by other youth. Therefore, we highly encourage the following:
- If youth drive, they do so courteously and responsibly. Those who do not will be asked not to drive to youth meetings for a period of at least 3 months.
- Youth should not give rides to other youth without the permission of both sets of parents.
- Youth who drive will remain at the event or activity for its entirety, unless prior arrangements are made.
- CITs are not approved to transport youth during youth group events. They may transport youth to and from events only with the expressed written permission of an individual’s parent(s).
- All persons must use safety belts at all times.
- A Consent Form will be made available each year. Parents may use the form to give expressed written permission for their youth to be transported by approved persons for the duration of the calendar year. Youth may not be transported by these individuals without completing the consent form.
IV. LOCAL MEETING POLICIES
- Youth will be courteous to others and adhere to all guidelines listed in Section II. A-B.
- Once they have arrived, youth will not use their vehicles until it is time to leave.
- Youth are responsible for returning borrowed items (Bibles, basketballs, etc.) and cleaning up their own messes, spills, etc.
- Use of recreational equipment is a privilege, not a right. Destruction or loss of equipment will warrant repair or replacement by offending individuals.
- Any and all musical, electronic, or audio-visual equipment is off limits without the expressed permission of the owner or Youth Pastor.
- Only Christian music will be played at any youth event or meeting, unless the event warrants “themed” music.
- The storage closets, utility rooms, nursery and classrooms are off limits to all youth.
V. OUT-OF-TOWN POLICIES
Periodically, our Youth Group will participate in activities that will require us to leave town and, perhaps, secure overnight lodging. Our number one goal during these times is to secure the safety and well being of our youth. The following guidelines have been established to insure this goal.
- The State Youth Convention requires at least a 1-4 counselor to youth ratio. All other out-of-town events will require a 1-3 counselor to youth ratio.
- The Youth Pastor, his Bible, and this handbook are the ultimate authority while out of town.
- All participants under the age of 18 must complete a Parental Consent/Medical Release Form prior to departure. There will be absolutely no exceptions. Parental Consent forms are available on a yearly basis, and are applicable to any or all events listed on the form.
- Hotel rooms will be booked four to a room with two double beds and will contain at least 1 counselor in each room. Additionally, an extra cot, rollaway, or sleeping bag will be provided so that no counselor will share a bed with a student, unless the student in question is his/her own child.
- Counselors must ensure modesty while rooming with students. Counselors must not change in the presence of students. Neither counselors nor students may sleep in the nude.
- Youth must be in groups of 3 or more at all times. If leaving the hotel or convention venue, a counselor must also be present.
- Males are not allowed to enter female’s rooms at any time (and visa-versa) unless accompanied by the counselor of that room, and all who are sharing said room are in total and immediate agreement that the visitors may enter. Example, during free time, a group of girls join a group of boys in their room to watch a movie. The boy’s counselor is present the entire time.
- All electronic devices such as CD players, MP3 players, video games, radios, etc., are not allowed. One of our major purposes for attending out-of-town events is to build relationships and a sense of community within the Youth Group. Personal electronic devices not only tend to defeat that purpose, but more often than not, they annoy others and destroy that purpose.
- Personal cell phones may be used, but must be turned off during all meetings and worship services. Usage is strictly limited to communication with trip counselors and/or parents. The Youth Pastor reserves the right to confiscate any cell phone that proves to be a nuisance. This rule applies to adults counselors. The Youth Pastor will be the sole judge of the definition of “nuisance”.
- Fireworks will not be purchased by any individual, at any time.
- A fully stocked and secured First-Aid kit will always be available on any Youth trip. Youth bringing medications of any kind must deposit them in the First-Aid kit for security purposes. Exceptions will be made for rescue inhalers, diabetic supplies, and any other, pre-approved medication that may be needed on an emergency basis. The Youth Pastor and/or Health Officer must be informed of any medication(s) that Youth will be carrying on their person.
- For the sake of the trip and everyone’s sanity, leave your individual “wants” at home. You’re part of a group now.
VI. DISCIPLINE POLICY
- Our Youth Group is a part of God’s Church, and as such, all discipline will seek to be forgiving and redemptive in nature.
- All disagreements will be handled in a matter that honors Matthew 18:15-19, keeping in mind that Jesus showed love to pagans and tax collectors.
- Any and all discipline will be a matter solely for the Youth Pastor. In situations of a serious nature, parents will be consulted.
- While every attempt at reconciliation will be made, certain situations may require that youth be dismissed from a meeting, activity, or event. Such situations may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, illegal or inappropriate drugs
- Sexual harassment or misconduct
- Malicious destruction of property
- Physical violence
- Possession and/or use of fireworks or explosive materials
- Possession of an unlawful firearm or other dangerous weapon
- In the event that a youth must be dismissed from an out-of-town event, the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) will be responsible for any and all transportation arrangements and/or costs.
VIII. OUR YOUTH MINISTRY RATIONALE
Programs and Activities designed to strengthen the group and the individual! All youth fall into at least one of five categories of spiritual commitment. Their willingness to participate in certain Youth Group functions will often depend upon their personal commitment level. While all activities are open to any student (and their parents), some may be more appropriate than others.
All activities are designed to meet the needs of the following individuals:
COMMUNITY-No Spiritual commitment
CROWD-Committed to hearing about Christ
CONGREGATION-Committed to a relationship with Christ
COMMITTED-Committed to growing on their own with Christ
CORE-Committed to serving and sharing Christ with others
Following is an outline of programming ideas designed specifically for each level of spiritual commitment.
REACHING THE COMMUNITY
- Friendship Evangelism
- Fun Activities
- Extended Fellowship on other nights
KEEPING THE CROWD
- Youth Meetings
- Convincing Scripture vs. convicting people.
- More Student input
- Drama Skits
- Band/Jam Sessions
- Focusing on life change.
- Better follow-up.
- Continue to provide fun but meaningful activities and events
NURTURING THE CONGREGATION
- Student led Small Groups to foster deeper friendships and intimacy.
- Opportunities for praise and worship.
- Bible Study to strengthen knowledge and Christian commitment.
- Encouraged involvement in Sunday worship.
PREPARING THE COMMITTED
Discipleship program to develop personal spiritual lives.
- Quiet time, prayer, and journaling
- Accountability teams
- Scripture memorization
- Tithing commitment
- Scripture study
- More involvement in the life of the church
CHALLENGING THE CORE
- Retreats will be used to challenge kids to discover their S.H.A.P.E.
- Spiritual Gifts
- Continue and expand opportunities for service and ministry.
- Leading Small Groups
- Nursery and Children's ministries
- Worship ministries
- Service Projects
- Provide for yearly mission trip opportunities.
- Activities such as Harvest parties, trips to amusement parks, and Destination Unknowns give us opportunities to reach Community youth and keep the Crowd.
- Small Group nights offer groups to foster deeper friendships and intimacy among the Congregation, Committed, and Core.
- Core Youth will be challenged to discover their spiritual gifts and abilities, and will be encouraged to participate in various service and ministry projects such as leading worship, teaching children, and Youth Group service projects.
In addition, the Youth Pastor will meet personally with as many parents as possible to discuss Youth Group and individual needs, as well as to solicit feedback about Youth group programming. If you would like to meet with the Youth Pastor to discuss youth ministry or your own youth, feel free to contact him.Return to top of page
To financially assist church members in the pursuit of undergraduate studies at a Christian college or university
To apply for assistance, a form from the institution of higher learning indicating where the scholarship monies are to be sent should be completed and supplied to the church. This should include information on the school’s scholarship matching program including required submission dates. All applicants must be enrolling as a “full-time” student. This scholarship program will be available for a maximum of four contiguous years per student.
Letter of Resume:
Although there is no specific form, the requestor should frame their resume around answering the question: “Why should the church provide financial support for my schooling.” It would be helpful to include degree objective, employment goal, community values, etc.
The “review committee” will consist of members of the Governance Board along with the Lead Pastor and Treasurer. Applications not meeting the spirit of this ministry will be denied. If more applicants apply than monies are available, the review committee will award scholarships to the most qualified applicants.
If a person has participated in this program previously, they must submit transcripts of their studies to indicating acceptable progress in order to be considered. GPA’s below a 2.5 may be disqualified. If transcripts do not include the previous semester, an explanation must be supplied to explain.
The Treasurer will advise the funds available for scholarship and the review committee will determine the number and amount of award available. The amount awarded will be determined on a case-by-case basis.Return to top of page
We’re delighted that you’ve chosen to have your wedding ceremony conducted in the solemnity of a church. This gives evidence to the importance you place in God’s blessing upon your marriage. If you worship regularly with this congregation, you understand that you have a number of choices regarding clergy personnel, style of ceremony, music and liturgical alternatives. If you’re not a regular attendee, these pages may help you with these decisions.
It’s customary to approach the pastor you wish to perform your ceremony to verify his/her availability on your chosen date. To reserve the building for your wedding, check the church calendar kept by the Pastoral Secretary in the church office. You should clear your date as soon as possible to minimize scheduling conflicts. In securing your date be sure to mention:
- when you will be using the building for any set-up or preparations,
- name of group wanting to use the building,
- name and phone number of person to contact regarding use,
- approximately how many people are expected,
- what rooms you will need,
- when you plan to finish your use of the building. Reading these pages will help you “think through” some of these details.
If you wish to have one of our clergy perform a wedding at another church facility, we will comply; however, certain requirements must be met. To conform to professional ethics among clergy, we prefer that you first seek approval from the appropriate person(s) of that congregation in regard to date verification and understanding of procedures, then secure the confirmation of that date with the minister of your choice who will then contact the other church for final verification. If a clergy person from another congregation is to perform your ceremony, please reverse the above procedure.
This congregation does not believe in legislating morality and has no desire to make judgments upon the beliefs or practices of others. We do, however, have a clear understanding of our own position regarding the teaching of the Bible as it relates to the affairs of men. Therefore we ask, in all kindness, that you honor our requests regarding the use of the building and grounds, which we have dedicated to the glory of God.
Because of our understanding of biblical teaching concerning problems that arise from the use of alcohol and behavior-modifying drugs, we insist that they not be present or used in the building or on the grounds. Likewise, the use of tobacco, in any form, is offensive to the conscience of the congregation, and is banned on the church grounds. There is no dancing permitted in the church building or on the grounds. Throwing rice at the bridal party is a custom dating back for centuries and is a form of wishing the married couple fertility and good luck. Rice and birdseed however are not “good news” to the tile floors and carpeting of our building. As people walk back into the building, these items are carried on the shoes, “pitting” the tile floors and damaging the nap of the carpeting. We must ask that no rice or birdseed be used at the church building. Additionally, for obvious reasons, we request that only drip less candles be used during the ceremony, provided at the expense of the wedding party. Should these regulations be disregarded, your deposit may not be refunded and/or an additional fee may be charged to cover damages.
This congregation is affiliated with the Church of God Reformation Movement with General Offices in Anderson, Indiana, and, as such, we cannot allow our clergy to conduct ceremonies for same-sex couples or allow our building to be used for such a purpose.
Clergy of our congregation offer a series of premarital counseling sessions to be included in any wedding package. Most counseling involves three to four sessions, approximately 45 minutes in length. The purpose of these sessions is not to make judgments upon the success of your marriage, but to provide insight into the possible pitfalls in your inter-relatedness and to help you discover how those pitfalls might be avoided and/or handled. Premarital counseling is the only tool that clergy can use in the face of the rising divorce rates. Whether or not you decide to use our facility for your wedding, we urge you to take full advantage of premarital counseling that is designed for your benefit. A very reasonable fee is charged for this service.
A number of liturgical formats may be used and “personalized” according to your wishes. So long as your choices and preferences align themselves to the requirements of the law and the teachings of the Bible, our clergy are open to your choices and modifications.
If you worship regularly with this congregation, it is presumed that you are obedient to the biblical directives regarding systematic giving. As such, you are a regular contributor to the salaries of the ministers of this congregation through the church budget. Therefore, honorariums to salaried clergy of this congregation for weddings, funerals, baptisms, and other such occasions are not necessary. It is necessary, however, to underwrite any expenses incurred with the computerized premarital inventory, and to provide honorarium to non-salaried clergy of this or other congregations. Similarly, honorariums to musicians, custodians, and wedding coordinators are appropriate to offset expenses incurred through preparation for/in rehearsals and weddings. If you do not worship regularly with us, you will be responsible for fees of the clergy in addition to the other fees mentioned. Since weddings, receptions, etc. require additional custodial work, additional salary is given to that staff person, and an additional fee must be charge. We believe it is fair for the wedding party to provide the congregation with the money needed to offset that expense on a matching dollar-for-dollar basis. (A listing of minimal fees is provided elsewhere in this document.) All fees may be paid by cash, or check payable to XYZ Church of God.
We offer the option to congregational members only, to clean the church themselves and save the custodial fee. Should they choose to exercise this option, their responsibilities will include:
- pick up all programs left in pews
- return furniture to the chancel in the manner which it was found
- return all materials and furniture (mirrors, tables, chairs, etc.) to the area from which it came
- vacuum, mop, sweep narthex, sanctuary and all rooms used by the wedding party
- remove trash and dispose of it in dumpster
- secure the building when exiting by locking the doors and arming the alarm
Following is a list of charges for which the wedding party is responsible. A deposit of one hundred dollars ($100) is required when you reserve the facility for the date of your wedding. This fee will be returned to you two (2) weeks following the wedding if the regulations following building use have been followed. Two weeks prior to your wedding, all other fees should be paid. These fees include: building use fee, coordinator, musicians, custodian, sound technician, and clergy fees (if applicable). These fees should be given en mass (in one check or lump sum), payable to XYZ Church of God. If the fees are not received, the congregation’s governing board has directed the pastor(s) to refrain from performing the wedding ceremony.
Wedding Fee Schedule
NATURE OF FEE and REGULAR ATTENDER
Building Use Fee $ ________
includes fees for: custodian, coordinator, dressing rooms, sound technician
Staff Clergy (counseling/rehearsal/ceremony) $ __________
Computerized Counseling Inventory $ ________
Wedding Coordinator $ ________
Sound / AV Technician $ ________
Reception Coordinator $ ________
Instrumentalist (minimum) $ ________
Vocalist (minimum) $ ________
Custodian: Wedding $ ________; Rehearsal Dinner $ ________; Reception $ ________
Kitchen Supervisor $ ________
Sample Wedding Fee Calculator
The primary responsibilities of the wedding coordinator at XYZ Church of God are:
- to be present during the rehearsal and the wedding,
- to assist the Pastor in seeing that the ceremony runs smoothly
- to insure that the church facilities are used and maintained in accordance with the policy handbook of the XYZ Church of God (see attached policies)
These responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Before the Wedding Day
- meet with the Pastor and/or the bridal couple prior to the wedding to become aware of the details of the ceremony and/or reception. Be sure to find out if they want to use the wedding banners, the manner of the processional, recessional, dismissal of guests, time of arrival and departure, and other pertinent information.
- determine if you are to be responsible for opening and locking up the church or if the Pastor will be doing that.
- be present at the church during the rehearsal, assisting the Pastor with instructing the bridal party about where to stand, when to enter, etc. Usually pieces of masking tape with the names of the bridal party (with one ended folded under for easy removal) are placed on the platform at the spot where each person is to stand after the processional
- give instructions to the ushers regarding where guests are to be seated and when, who seats mothers and grandparents, how to properly escort guests to their seats, who lights the candles and pulls down the runner, and any other special details they need to know.
- show the members of the bridal party, both men and women, where they will be dressing
- confer with pianist (or organist) prior to the rehearsal regarding how seating will be done, how many guests are expected, and which processional music will be used for the wedding party and for the bride.
- find out when flowers or decorations will be delivered so you can be there to open the church, and whether or not you are needed to pin corsages and boutonnières on the wedding party and special guests
- find out whether the bride and groom will be dismissing the guests pew by pew, or whether there will be a receiving line. Remind them that they need to do one of these two things IMMEDIATELY after the recessional.
- make sure the lighters are in the 2nd pew for the mothers to use to light the candles if there is a Unity Candle service, and show them how to use the lighters
On the Day of the Wedding
- unlock the church in time for floral deliveries and for the bridal party to get ready for pictures
- usually you will be responsible for helping pin flowers on wedding party and helpers and special guests, so try to find out who those people are, and be alert as the guests are coming in so the grandparents don’t get seated without their flowers
- check on the bridal party periodically to make sure they have everything they need (there are some emergency supplies in the Wedding Coordinator’s box
- double check to be sure the candle lighters are where they are supposed to be, and that whomever is supposed to have the rings has them
- when it is time to seat guests (usually about 20-25 minutes before the ceremony begins) make sure the ushers are encouraging guests to come and be seated. Guests tend to congregate in the narthex to visit, and then there is a big rush at the end, so they may need to say to people, “May I seat you now?” or “It is time to seat you now.” It is your responsibility to make sure the ushers keep people moving. Close the guest book at about 5 minutes before the wedding party enters, so people will move on into the Sanctuary.
- throughout the last few minutes before the ceremony, circulate to see if the bride, her mother, or anyone else needs some calming words. Things can get a little hectic.
- make sure the mothers are ready to be seated at the time the wedding is to begin. Once the mothers have been seated, do not allow any guests to be seated until the wedding party is on the platform and the pastor has asked the guests to be seated. Then you may direct them to empty seats in the back or on the outside end of a pew (or even to the balcony)
- make sure the wedding party is lined up in the correct order. When the processional music begins, the Pastor and the men will go in. When they are settled at the front, give cues for the ladies to enter. Usually, when one bridesmaid gets to the third pew from the front, the next one should start. Have the bride and her father pause to wait for the congregation to stand before they start down the aisle. You may need to straighten the bride’s train before she enters the Sanctuary.
- Once they’re in the Sanctuary, you can breathe a sigh of relief!
- Immediately after the recessional, make sure the bride and groom either go back into the Sanctuary to dismiss their guests, or form a receiving line in the narthex. If they stand around and talk, guests are sitting and waiting to be dismissed.
After the Wedding
- make sure the dressing rooms are cleaned out and that the wedding party has taken all their stuff
- if there are candelabras or other items that the florist will be picking up, make sure someone has made arrangements to get them on Monday
- make sure pew bows and other decorations are out of the Sanctuary and sent home with someone from the family. Sometimes floral arrangements are left to be used as decorations for Sunday.
- the maintenance crew will move the furniture back into place, so you won’t have to be responsible for that. If banners are used, you need to be take them down, and put the regular Sunday morning banners back up.
- check around to make sure things are put back where they belong (including the candle lighters, which go back in the wedding box), then lock the building if you are the last one out.
XYZ Church of God
Guidelines for use
- No Saturday evening use beyond 8 p.m. No Sunday use
- All food, drink, and table service will be furnished by the group using the building.
- We ask that decorations be used which will not damage floors, walls, or furnishings. Nails and screws must not be driven into any part of the building or furnishings. Adhesive materials, such as scotch tape, are not to be attached to painted surfaces. Carpeting must be protected from damage.
- Setup and takedown will be the user’s responsibility. Persons using the facility will remove decorations and any other items they bring in. Any items left may be discarded.
- Cleanup of the kitchen and picking up of trash is the user’s responsibility.
- Vacuuming will be done by XYZ Church of God
- Because of our understanding of biblical teaching concerning problems that arise from the use of alcohol and behavior-modifying drugs, we insist that they not be present or used in the building or on the grounds. Likewise, the use of tobacco, in any form, is offensive to the conscience of the congregation, and is banned in all church buildings.
- There is no dancing permitted in the church building or on the grounds.
- No reservations will be taken for more than 30 days into the future
- A church representative shall unlock and lock the building after use.
- The building is to be staffed by 3 - 4 church representatives during all outside agency activities.
- There shall be proper supervision for the accommodation and control of patrons attending any activity in the facility.
- Persons using the facility are responsible for any damages of church property incurred during rental of the building.
- We will do our best to return anything lost; however, XYZ Church of God assumes no liability for lost or stolen items.
- A deposit and a liability release form shall be signed before any use of the building.
Something to Consider...
We recently asked church leaders about the following situation:
A member of your congregation operates a day-care business out of her home. She is so loved by parents that she needs more room to handle the demand. She has asked if she can rent some of your church's classrooms and move her business there.
What should be considered before renting space in a church?
Often church buildings sit idle much of the time. It would seem that if your church leaders could find a way to increase your building’s utilization it would demonstrate better stewardship of what God has entrusted to the church. And besides, it might even provide another way that your church could reach out to your community.
But because churches hold a special status in our society—that of a tax-exempt organization—a church renting extra space to a for-profit could result in costly problems for the church—costs well beyond the church’s ability to pay.
One of a variety of taxes that churches are exempt from is property tax. Generally the property values of churches can be in the hundreds of thousands, if not the millions, of dollars. If a church was on the local property tax rolls, the amount of taxes that it would be obligated to pay would be thousands of dollars annually. Instead the church pays nothing.
But the reason that churches pay nothing is important. As long as a church’s property is used exclusively for programs and activities that furthers its exempt purpose as a charitable, educational and/or religious organization, it most likely will not be required to pay any property tax. But because property tax laws can vary so much from state to state, and even from county to county, we recommend that churches seek qualified legal counsel if they wish to let another organization use any part of its facilities or property.
One of the questions that a good attorney will ask church leaders is what is your organization’s purpose? A good place to look for the answer is your church’s governing documents, its Articles of Incorporation and/or its Bylaws. In fact, that’s probably where any inquiring taxing authorities would look, too. So if your church’s tax exempt purposes were drawn up too narrowly many years ago, we suggest that they be revisited and maybe even revised sooner rather than later. Much of what a church can and cannot do depends on what its legal documents state is the why of a church’s existence.
Returning to the issue of property tax exemptions, some states allow church facilities to be used up to a certain percentage of the time for non-exempt activities—even for-profit organizations—without requiring that they pay property taxes. Other states set the bar much higher, not allowing any non-church group—even other tax-exempt ones—to use church facilities before requiring that property taxes are owed. In a worse case situation a church’s property tax exemption could conceivably be revoked altogether. Could your church afford to pay the resulting tax bill?
Sorry, but asking the church down the street how they’re able to have a day-care operate in their building is not a prudent way to proceed—instead contact an attorney who is qualified to advise your church about local property tax laws and ordinances.
Okay so you’ve found out that your church’s property tax exemption won’t be jeopardized, what’s next? Unrelated business income tax or UBIT.
UBIT is intended to level the playing field somewhat when non-profits, like churches, start competing with for-profit businesses. There are some obvious situations when a church is obligated to pay UBIT, but often a discussion of UBIT results in a lawyer’s most often used phrase, it depends.
Any income that a church receives that is technically not a donation (sorry, but calling a rental fee a donation doesn’t count) should be reviewed by leaders to see if it qualifies as unrelated business income (UBI). Often there is a misunderstanding on the part of some church leaders about UBI. They think that any money spent to further the church’s tax exempt purposes cannot be considered UBI. Before we proceed, let’s clear that up. It doesn’t matter how noble the purpose money is earmarked for, all that matters is how the money came into the church.
When thinking about charging rent and how it relates to UBI, one must also understand the difference between real and personal property. Real property is the building and anything that is bolted down to it. Kitchen counters, bulletin boards and pews bolted to the floor would be good examples of real property. Personal property is anything inside the building that is not bolted down. Tables and chairs are good examples of personal property.
So why did we digress for a short explanation of real versus personal property? Rent received for personal property is generally considered UBI while rent received from real property may or may not be considered UBI. Here comes an it depends statement—if a church facility is debt financed (this includes loans for remodeling or replacing HVAC equipment, too), then any rent received for any use of the building is considered UBI. If there is no debt on the building, then any rent received is not considered UBI.
There are many other ways that churches can generate unrelated business income that can result in taxes being owed—things like bookstores and coffee houses. But the focus of this article is on issues surrounding the use of church facilities by outside organizations, so we suggest that you contact us if you want to know more about UBI.
When a church receives at least $1,000 of UBI in a year it needs to file a form 990-T with the IRS. The amount is based on the actual income received before any expenses are deducted. But even if the $1,000 threshold isn’t met, a church might want to consider filing anyway. Doing so puts into place a statute of limitations that doesn’t exist if a 990T has not been filed.
Private Beneﬁt & Inurement
Federal tax law requires that the assets of a non-proﬁt such as a church be used exclusively in the organization achieving its exempt purposes. So providing benevolence to someone who needs help in order to survive is okay. Enriching someone who is not in need is considered a private beneﬁt and is generally not allowed.
Fortunately federal courts have interpreted “exclusive” in the case of private beneﬁts to mean all but an immaterial amount. So government ofﬁcials when determining whether private beneﬁt has occurred have the ﬂexibility to use a time and frequency test. For example if someone was to use a church classroom for an activity that had nothing to do with the church’s purposes once a year for a couple of hours, that likely would not be seen as a problem. But if that same person is allowed to use the same classroom six hours every week rent free, it would likely be viewed as material. In a worse case situation it might even lead to the revocation of the church’s federal tax-exempt status.
But any ﬂexibility is reduced signiﬁcantly if the person involved is one of the church’s decision makers or one of its decision maker’s immediate family members. The IRS has put them in a special category, classifying them as “disqualiﬁed” persons. Any private beneﬁt that a disqualiﬁed person at a church receives is called “inurement.” Inurement comes with its own set of penalties.
In addition to requiring that the person receiving any beneﬁt repay the church, the IRS will charge that person an excise tax of 25 percent of the value of the beneﬁt. If those requirements are not met within a year, the excise tax increases to 200 percent of the value of the beneﬁt. In addition any leaders involved in approving receipt of special treatment will personally have to pay excise taxes of up to 10 percent to the IRS. If the inurement continues, revocation of the church’s federal tax exemption is also a possibility.
Fair Market Value
So that the church avoids allowing someone who they rent space to from receiving any private beneﬁt or inurement, church leaders need to research what comparable space in their community leases for, and charge accordingly. This is what is referred to as “fair market value” rent. The easiest way to learn what a fair market value rent would be is to contact a local commercial realtor and ask them to provide you with a letter giving their qualiﬁed opinion. If a church has been receiving less than fair market value rent from someone, at a minimum it needs to issue the tenant a form 1099 reﬂecting the difference.
Okay, so let’s say you’ve resolved property tax issues, the UBI issues, the private beneﬁt/inurement issues and the fair market value rent issues and you are still thinking about renting space at your church. Next, you will want to be sure that your tenant has sufﬁcient liability and workers’ compensation insurance. At a minimum you should get from them a certiﬁcate of insurance naming the church as an additional insured. But if you’re concerned about the church’s liability exposure, please understand that in the event of an injury, especially one that has no direct relationship to the tenant’s activities, the certiﬁcate of insurance will not necessarily provide the church with coverage. A call to your insurance agent would be a good one to make.
Same-sex Marriage Rulling and Use of Your Building
One of the last rulings that the U.S. Supreme Court made during its 2014-15 term made same-sex marriages legal in every state in the country. One may ask, what does this have to do with renting your church building to outside groups? Even if your church supports and performs marriages of same-sex couples, you may want to pay attention to this new legal wrinkle.
Normally churches are not legally considered places of public accommodation. This allows them to determine who can visit them and who cannot. So if your church chooses not to put any limits on who can and cannot use your facilities, that protection for your church may no longer apply.
While we, along with others, previously recommended that a detailed statement of belief be included in a church’s bylaws, a new approach may make better sense. Now it is recommended that before a church allows any individual or outside group to use any of its facilities, the church require that they sign a copy of the church’s detailed statement of beliefs indicating their agreement with it. This simple step demonstrates that the church clearly restricts who can and cannot use the church’s facilities. Taking this step upholds that the church is not a place of public accommodation.
While this approach may be favored mostly by churches that theologically cannot support same-sex marriages, all churches could beneﬁt from using it. For example, a group that is signiﬁcantly opposed to your church’s theological values may want to rent your church facilities. If they cannot or will not sign your required agreement with your statement of beliefs, then you are under no obligation to let them use your building. This is because of the legal rights granted to your church as a religious entity by the ﬁrst amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Time for a Policy?
If the whole process of deciding which and when outside groups can use your church is not one that you want to go through on a case by case basis, may we suggest that you write or get a facility use policy. Having such a policy will make it easier to say “no” to requests that don.t meet any pre-determined standards that have been spelled out in the policy. It will also give church staff a way of making more consistent decisions when approached with such requests. If you would like help in writing a facilities use policy, please contact us.
So far we’ve focused on churches renting to individuals and/or for-proﬁt entities. If an organization is a valid 501(c)(3) nonproﬁt, and notwithstanding any property tax issues, your church may rent space to them for free or less than fair market value rates. But we suggest that you verify their non-proﬁt status by using the IRS’ EO Select Check tool on their website. It is available by CLICKING HERE. Nevertheless the concerns about insurance that we raised earlier still apply, and if rent is charged, so does UBI.
While reaching out to its community is a laudable goal for a church, leaders need to remember that doing so through a for-proﬁt may not be the best way to do it. We understand and appreciate the time and effort needed to lead a church with integrity. But cutting corners only diminishes the church’s credibility in representing our Savior. Being informed and proactive enhances a church’s value to its community and our God.
The above information is taken from Church Administrative Professionals.Return to top of page
Policies and Procedures
The congregation is committed to providing a safe place for our children to learn and worship. Our young people are a precious resource and we have a divine mandate to see to their safety and nurture. We want the families who attend the congregation to be assured that their children remain safe and secure while participating in our church programs.
Children and youth are the key and priority in the development of this policy. The following procedures are not meant to make ministry to children more difficult, but to provide the best protection possible for them. The congregation’s policy is intended to bring about positive change in our church – change that will promote a safe environment for the children and youth that attend our church.
Risk Reduction Policy
Why is a risk reduction policy necessary? Unfortunately, churches are prime targets for child molesters due to the churches ongoing need for volunteers in children’s programs and inadequate precautions taken to screen and supervise workers. The simple steps in this policy can help to prevent our church from selecting an employee or volunteer who might harm our children. An effective risk reduction policy such as ours also protects church volunteers and staff from unfounded accusations or compromising circumstances that could ruin their lives. It also protects the church. A single case of child sexual abuse or even an accusation of abuse can devastate a church. The financial and legal consequences of a lawsuit against a church that has not taken proper steps to prevent child sexual abuse from occurring can be severe. The vitality of a church can be diminished and its reputation within the community tarnished for years as a result.
Policy and Procedures
In order to provide a safe and secure environment, the following procedures have been adopted and will be strictly enforced.
Volunteers Screening Procedures
- Prior to consideration for a position, any candidate who may be working with children or youth may be asked to complete and return an application. Individuals volunteering for positions in which they will work regularly with children or youth (i.e. on a weekly basis) may be asked to complete a primary screening form. Occasional volunteers (i.e. rotating nursery and children’s church, substitute teachers, etc.) may be asked to complete a secondary screening form.
- The screening form may be carefully reviewed by either a Pastoral staff person, or their designee to make certain that the workers will be appropriate for the ministry position, based on the information provided. This information will be kept confidential.
- A personal interview may be conducted.
- At least two of the references listed by those completing a primary form may be checked.
- Any information indicating that a candidate poses a threat to others, or has any prior conviction or guilty plea to either child sexual or physical abuse, will result in the immediate removal of the individual candidate from consideration for a volunteer or ministry position involving children or youth.
- A criminal background check may be performed with respect to any candidate seeking work with children or youth.
- A meeting may be held to give an overview of church programs. Included in the presentation will be a review of the church’s policies on volunteer service with youth, children, and nursery care. A positive focus is given to the church’s concern about providing a safe and secure environment for all family members and church workers. This may be done at the time of the interview.
Employee Screening Procedures
- The same procedure set forth for volunteer workers will apply to all potential employees, regardless of the ministry position for which they are being considered.
- In addition, a criminal background check may be performed through a state law enforcement agency with respect to all candidates for employment.
- Any information indicating that a candidate poses a threat to others or has any prior history of physical or sexual abuse directed against another person will result in the immediate removal of the individual candidate from consideration for employment with this organization.
No volunteer worker will be considered for any ministry position involving contact with children or youth until the candidate has been regularly attending the congregation for six (6) months or more.
- Two adults should be present at every church activity involving children or youth whenever possible. An appropriate church leader may make random visits when only one adult is supervising an activity.
- Supervision should be maintained before and after a scheduled activity until all children are in the custody of their parents or legal guardians. Volunteers are to release children in their care only to parents, guardians, or persons specifically authorized to pick up the child.
- Church staff or volunteers should obtain consent of the child’s parent before going out alone with that child or spending time with the child one-on-one in an unsupervised situation. Workers should also notify an appropriate church leader of such meetings in advance.
- The church nursery should develop an identification procedure that clearly identifies the child and the child’s parent or guardian. Workers are to release children in their care only to parents, guardians, or persons specifically authorized to pick up the child.
- Anytime a room without an interior window is used for a children/youth function; the door should be kept open at all times.
- Immediate feedback should be provided for any inappropriate behavior of supervisors.
- Children five years of age and younger (boys and girls) should be assisted as needed in the restroom by an adult female.
- At no time should a child be touched on or near a sexual organ, nor on or near the buttocks, even if fully clothed.
- Workers should avoid the appearance of impropriety, such as sitting older children on their lap, kissing on the mouth, etc. Do not force affection on any child. If a child pulls away, respect the child’s wishes at all times.
- Child sexual abuse is any form of sexual contact with or exploitation of a child. It can involve fondling, penetration, and verbal comments of a sexual nature, pornographic videos or exhibitionism. Child sexual abuse is criminal behavior. Church volunteers should understand that sexual relationships with minors will lead to their immediate dismissal from their supervisory position and can also lead to a felony conviction and imprisonment.
- Workers are never to spank, hit, shake, or otherwise physically discipline anyone. Disciplinary problems should be reported to the proper pastoral staff person and/or to the parent or guardian.
Reporting Procedure of Abuse or Molestation
- Workers who become aware of any abuse or molestation (see definition in #4 Workers Restrictions) connected with any ministry activity should immediately inform their ministry leader of such abuse or molestation. State law protects individuals from liability when they report actual or suspected abuse, so long as they do not act maliciously. Any inappropriate conduct or relationships between an adult volunteer or worker and a youth or child should be reported immediately.
- Any ministry leader who becomes aware of any abuse or molestation connected with any ministry activity should immediately inform the senior pastor or another member of the pastoral staff of such abuse or molestation.
- In the event that the senior pastor becomes aware of possible abuse or molestation of a participant, he will ensure that the participant’s parents or guardian is immediately informed that possible abuse or molestation has occurred. The senior pastor, or acting representative, will report any known or reasonably suspected cases of abuse to the required state agency, in accordance with the law within the required time limit.
- Upon notice of abuse or molestation, the senior pastor or acting representative must promptly notify the church’s insurance carrier.
- All efforts in handling an allegation will be documented.
Violations of Policy or Procedures
Any ministry leader who becomes aware of any violation of the policy or procedures will take all necessary steps to ensure full compliance of the policy. The volunteer will be removed from their position if such removal is warranted, or if the worker poses a potential threat to others. All violations should be reported in writing to the Lead Pastor or Governance Board by using the Notice of Injury form with a complete documentation of action taken.
Revisions of Policy/Procedures
The Governance Board can modify this policy and procedures manual at any time. Any such modification shall be promptly conveyed to all persons affected by the modifications.
- Any allegation of abuse or molestation will be taken seriously and will be investigated by the Senior Pastor or acting representativ
- Situations will be handled with respect for people’s privacy and confidentiality. Adequate care will be shown for the well being of the victims.
- Any employee of the church who is the subject of an investigation may be removed from their position at the discretion of the Governance Board and upon advice from legal counsel (if the employee has admitted to the abuse or molestation, his/her employment will be terminated)
- Any volunteer worker who is the subject of an investigation will be removed from their position pending completion of the investigation
- Any person who is not found innocent of alleged abuse or molestation will be removed from ALL work with children or youth.
Dealing with Law Enforcement/Media
- All ministry leaders, employees and volunteers will cooperate fully with any law enforcement or governmental agency that may be investigating allegations of injury, abuse or molestation in connection with activities of The congregation.
- Legal counsel will be contacted for advice and guidance as soon as possible after The congregation receives notice of possible abuse or molestation in connection with its activities. Decisions concerning the Church’s response to the allegations will be made in accordance with such advice.
- A single organizational leader will be designated as spokesperson following notice of any abuse or molestation in connection with activities of the church. This spokesperson will be the only person to convey information concerning the situation, and will convey any such information as is necessary under the circumstances.
Boundaries for Pastoral Staff Members
- All pastoral counseling sessions should take place at the congregation, and no counseling session should occur after 7:00/p, unless arrangements are made to have another person in the building and on the same floor as the counseling occurs.
- Pastoral counseling sessions should not exceed 60 minutes in length (45 minutes is preferable). Pastoral staff is to function primarily as pastors, not therapists; therefore pastoral staff will not conduct more than six (6) sessions with any one client concerning any one issue.
- Unless the pastoral staff member is engaging in intervention or crisis counseling, they shall be limited to one (1) session per week.
- To safeguard the use of the time of the pastoral staff member, and to limit the opportunity for inappropriate contact, the pastoral staff is discouraged from engaging in telephone counseling.
- There will not be any physical contact between the counselee and counselor, except to hold hands during prayer if the counselee requests such action. The counselee and counselor will avoid the establishment of any intimate personal relationship.
- The Pastoral Staff will compile a list of qualified counselors in the Elkhart area, and will make referrals to these individuals when: • their time constraints do not allow them to properly care for counselees; • the counselee’s issues are beyond the capabilities of the counselor; • the counselor believes that the counselee and/or his/her family would not respond well to pastoral counseling.
- Pastoral Staff members will not accept gifts from counselees.
Symptoms of Molestation
Church workers and staff should be alert to the physical signs of abuse and molestation, as well as to behavioral and verbal signs that a victim may exhibit. Some of the more common signs are below (Sloan, 1983).
Physical signs may include:
- lacerations and bruises
- irritation, pain, or injury to the genital area
- difficulty with urination
- discomfort when sitting
- torn or bloody underclothing
- venereal disease
Behavioral signs may include:
- anxiety when approaching church or nursery area
- nervous or hostile behavior toward adults
- sexual self-consciousness
- “acting out” of sexual behavior
- withdrawal from church activities and friends
Verbal signs may include the following statements:
- I don’t like (a particular church worker)
- (A church worker) does things to me when we’re alone
- I don’t like to be alone with (a church worker)
- (A church worker) fooled around with me
Facts concerning sex offenders:
- The usual offender is between the ages of 20-30 years
- 20 percent of sex offenders begin their activity before the age of 18
- Child abusers often are married and have children
If abuse occurs in the church, a respected member will most likely be the molester. Emphasis upon “stranger danger” will leave the church ill prepared. While it’s uncomfortable even to consider this, the most likely assailants include Sunday School teachers, religious educators, nursery or preschool workers, teachers in a church-operated school, camp counselors, scout leaders, “concerned” adults who volunteer to transport children to church, and clergy. Trusted adults – male or female – can easily mislead children. Most incidents of child sexual abuse take place in the context of an ongoing relationship between the abuser and the child.
Primary Screening Form
For Children’s Workers or Youth Workers
The information contained in this application is correct to the best of my knowledge. I authorize any references or churches listed in this application to give you any information (including opinions) that they may have regarding my character and fitness for children or youth work. In consideration of the receipt and evaluation of this application by the congregation, I hereby release any individual, church, youth organization, charity, employer, reference, or any other person or organization, including record custodians, both collectively and individually, from any and all liability for damages for whatever kind or nature which may at any time result to me, my heirs, or family, on account of compliance or any attempts to comply, with this authorization. I waive any right that I may have to inspect any information provided about me by any person or organization identified by me in this application.
Should my application be accepted, I agree to be bound by the bylaws and policies of the congregation, and to refrain from unscriptural conduct in the performance of my services on behalf of the church.
I further state that I HAVE CAREFULLY READ THE FOREGOING RELEASE AND KNOW THE CONTENTS THEREOF AND I SIGN THIS RELEASE AS MY OWN FREE ACT. This is a legally binding agreement, which I have read and understand.
Applicant’s Signature: __________________________________________________________
Applicant’s Name (print): __________________________________________________________
Witness Name (print): ________________________________________________________________
Request For Criminal Records Check And Authorization
I hereby grant permission to the congregation’s staff to perform a background check on me for any information which pertains to any record of conviction in any criminal file maintained on me whether local, state, or national. I hereby release said the congregation and its staff from any and all liability resulting from such disclosure.
Print name: ________________________________________________________________________
Print maiden name if applicable: _______________________________________________________
Print all aliases: _____________________________________________________________________
Date of birth: _______________________________________________________________________
Today’s date: _____________________________________________________________________
Sex: Male Female
Return form to:
Reference Contact Form
Note: Explanatory notes for items 1-6 are noted on next page.
- Name of Applicant: ___________________________________________________
- Reference of church contacted (if a church, identify both the church and person or pastor): ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
- Date and time contacted: __________________________________________________
- Person contacting the reference or church: _____________________________________
- Method of contact (e.g., telephone, letter, personal conversation): __________________
- Summary of conversation (summarize remarks concerning the applicant’s fitness and suitability for youth or children’s work): ______________________________________________________________________________
Explanatory Notes for Reference Contact Form
- List the name and address of each reference you contacted. If you are reporting a contact with another church, list the name and address of the church you contacted, along with the name of the person you spoke with in the church. Be sure to prepare a contact summary for each reference of church you contact.
- Identify by name the person in your church who contacted the reference or the other church.
- List the method used to contact the reference of the other church. Did you speak directly with the other person, use the telephone, or write a letter?
- This is the most important information on the form. The person who contacted the reference or the other church summarizes the results of that contact. The ultimate question is whether or not the applicant is suitable for work with children or adolescent youth. The person contacting the reference or the other church should ask this question, and summarize the response on the form. If the person refuses to comment, be sure to note that on the form.
- The person making the contact with the reference of the other church should sign the form, and list his or her position in the church. The date the form is completed should be noted.
- Summarize the remarks made by the reference concerning the applicant’s suitability for youth or children’s work. If the reference has reservations about the applicant’s suitability, be sure to note the facts that support the reference’s reservations. Facts are of more relevant than unsubstantiated opinions. Ask for the names of other persons who could verify the facts identified by the reference. For example, if the reference is aware of an incident of inappropriate contact with a child, were any witnesses present? Who were they? Some references may hesitate to provide you with information, particularly if it is negative. Read the applicant’s statement at the end of the primary screening form. This authorizes the reference to comment on the applicant and releases the reference from liability for statements that are made.
Secondary Screening Form
The following policies reflect our commitment to provide protective care of all children, youth, and volunteers who participate in church sponsored activities.
- Adults who have been convicted of either child sexual or physical abuse should not volunteer service in any church sponsored activity or program for children or youth.
- Adult survivors of childhood sexual or physical abuse need the love and acceptance of this church family. Individuals who have such a history should discuss their desire to work with children or youth with one of the pastoral staff prior to engaging in any volunteer service.
- All adult volunteers working with youth or children are required to be attendees of the congregation for a minimum of six months.
- Two adults should be present at every church activity involving children or youth whenever possible. An appropriate church leader may make random visits when only one adult is supervising an activity.
- Adult volunteers should immediately report any behaviors that seem abusive or inappropriate to their supervisor.
Please answer each question. Your response will be kept fully confidential.
- As a church volunteer, do you agree to observe all church policies regarding working with youth or children?
____ Yes ____ No
- Have you ever been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a crime?
____ Yes (if yes, please explain — attach a separate page if necessary): ______________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________
- Were you a victim of abuse or molestation while a minor?
____ Yes ____ No
If you prefer, you may refuse to answer this question, or you may discuss your answer in confidence with the senior pastor rather than answering it on the form. Answering yes, or leaving the question unanswered, will not automatically disqualify an applicant for children or youth work. I have read the above policy and agree to observe the safeguards listed.
________________________________________________________________ Print Name
Notice of InjuryOrganization:
Time/Place of Injury:______________ Date of Injury: ______________ Time: ______________ AM/PM
Where did it occur? _______________________________________________
Name: ____________________________________ Age: __________
Injuries Sustained: _______________________________________________
Where was injured taken? (hospital/doctor): ________________________________________________
Relationship to organization: ___ member; ___ visitor; ___ volunteer ___ employee; ___ student/camper; ___ other
If injury occurred on insured’s premises, for what purpose was the injured on the premises? ________________________________________________________________________
Who was responsible for supervision at the time of the injury? ______________________________________________________
If injury occurred elsewhere, what connection did it have with the insured’s operations or activities?
Does the injured party have personal medical insurance that could apply?
____ Yes ____ No
Name of medical insurance company: ____________________________________________
Full Description of Incident: _______________________________________________________________________________
Documentation of __________________________________________________________
Action Taken: ____________________________________________________________________
Name: _______________________________ Phone: _______________________
Name: _______________________________ Phone: _____________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________ Signature ________________________________ Print Name
_________________________________________ Date of Report
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