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Three Documents Every Church Needs

Date: Feb 19, 2013
Church Management, church organization, church planting

There’s a lot of significance to the number three in the Bible.  Of course, there’s the trinity.  Jesus rose on the third day.  And they say Peter, James and John were the three closest disciples.

There are three primary colors, three holes in a bowling ball, and Huey, Louie and Dewey will always be my favorite ducks.   There were three wise men, three blind mice and, and Three Men and a Baby was arguably Steve Guttenberg’s best movie.  (Okay, I’m not sure you could really say he was in a best movie.)

So in keeping with our theme of three, I wanted to give you three FREE documents to help your church stay organized.  You can print them and put them in a three ring binder if you like.

Here are your three documents and how you can use them.

1.  An annual calendar.

Too many of us react to what’s on the calendar, saying things like, “Man, that event just snuck up on me.”  We move from special service to special event at a backbreaking pace.  We come up with new ideas, programs, events and ministries that will help us reach the community and grow the church.

The problem occurs when our events and ideas don’t fit in with the larger context of ministry and what happens in the church on a regular basis.  Instead of constantly planning new events, you need an at-a-glance look at ALL of the events and special things that happen in your church every year.

I’m not talking about getting the next few months planned out – there’s a little value in that.  But you’ll see tremendous value from looking at the year as a whole.  What happens church-wide in January, and how does it lead into February?  What should all of our ministries be doing the month after Easter.  When can we give that big event the three weeks of focus it needs?

Wrestle through the big-picture calendar and the day-to-day stuff will make more sense.  If you want to create this, you don’t have to start from scratch.  Download an example template right here.

2.  An employee handbook

Do your employees understand your benefits program?  Have you clearly communicated the time off policy?  Is it clear who owns a computer, and the information on the computer?  Can your youth pastor re-sell the videos he created?  Who approves vacations? How can a person be terminated?

These are all questions that should CLEARLY be answered in an Employee Handbook.  You need to have one document that describes how things work and answers employee questions in advance.  Every employee should get an updated version of this each year, and new employees should read it before their first day on the job.

You might not get fired up about policies and procedures, but you’ll be thankful on the day that a clear policy saved your rear.  Create an employee handbook and answer questions in advance.

And you can start with a Word template right here.  And if something a little more whimsical is your style, you can check out our employee handbook here.

3.  Guest Speaker/Worship Leader Expectations

Ever had a guest speaker come in speak way too long?  Ever asked a worship leader to come in, only to find that the skinny jeans and scarf didn’t really work for your people?  Ever have someone show up at the wrong time, or the wrong day, or to the wrong building?

The problem isn’t the clock or the scarf, the problem is you didn’t clearly communicate expectations.  Without clear expectations, well-meaning individuals are left alone to figure out what’s culturally appropriate and best for your congregation.

When you book a guest speaker or a guest musician, you need to send them a simple document that outlines your expectations.  It’s your job to tell them where to go, what to do, and what to wear.

It’s not meant to be a moral or theological statement, but here’s a sample document you can use as a template.  Just adjust it to fit your philosophy or style and pursue clarity.

When it comes to organizing your church or creating systems, you don’t have to start from scratch.  We’ve put together five of our best selling resources and we’re giving them to you at a bundle price.  THE SYSTEMS BUNDLE has five instantly downloadable resources:

  • Docs and Forms is a collection of 120 editable documents, ready for you to customize and use
  • Reach is all about using advertising and outreach to grow the church.
  • Next is all about follow up.  Coaching plus tons of resources for following up with guests, givers and new Christians.
  • Inspire is about volunteers – how to get them and keep them.
  • Why Nobody Reads Your Emails is a handy ebook for everyone in your church who communicates via email.

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