Why Do We Need Church Policies

Why Do We Need Church Policies?

Have you ever wondered why we have to bother with policies in our churches?

Surely church policies are just tickbox exercises to meet the requirements of some legislation someone once told us about which, in reality, are gathering dust, never looked at, and haven’t been reviewed in years?

Of course, if everything is running smoothly and everyone seems to know what they are doing, you might not need to refer to your policy documents much. But they are still vital.

These things are never a problem - until they are. And writing policies when you are already in a mess is rarely helpful!

For the good of the gospel

Our primary goal as churches should always be to see the gospel clearly proclaimed. But we also have a responsibility to ensure that our churches are run well -following the requirements of the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7) - and that we use our resources - both our people and our finances - for the good of the gospel.

We want to take seriously those things that have the potential to cause harm to people made in the image of God or to distract from gospel work. Clear policies can help us do that.

All independent churches are charities, regardless of whether they are required to register, and governed by charity law. That means there are certain policies which every church is required to have and others which you may need depending on the work and ministry of your church.

Policies don’t need to be long or complicated but should be reflective of your church, its size, and the activities you do.

A good principle to work on is: “we need to do what we say and say what we do.” If a policy doesn’t follow that principle, the question to ask is whether it is the policy or the practice that needs to change!

Our policies should serve our churches well - supporting gospel work, not taking over from it.

Making a start

One of the things I quickly found out when I started working for a church was that I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Some things were handed over to me: policies that already existed and specific tasks which others asked me to do or I knew about from my job description. But after a while, I started hearing from other organisations about an ‘essential’ documents I needed and was left thinking “But I didn’t even know that was a thing!”

I mean, who knew that we needed a Legionella risk assessment?

FIEC is made up of a wide range of churches, from the very small to the very large. That means what is appropriate and relevant to each church will vary, but some policies are essential.

Our essential policy pack is now available on our website with information and template policies for those things every church needs to have (a Legionella risk assessment is not one of these, don’t worry!). Do check that out as a starting point.

See our essential policy pack

In partnership with The Church Office, we are working to develop more resources and template policies to serve FIEC churches and beyond, so do look out for those being published in the coming months (through social media or our email newsletters). These will cover areas such as risk management, looking after your building, and managing your finances (possibly also a Leionalla risk assessment).

And if you are still unsure where to start or would value support in this area, please get in touch – we would love to help!

Get in touch

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