I’m actually not a real big safety fan…but my wife is. I remember the first time driving with her in the mountains of Montana, and she was kind of freaking out because there are a lot of dangerous curves in the road without any guard rails. I didn’t see the big deal. After all, you only need guard rails if you’re planning on going off the road. Of course my thinking is flawed, if you drive long enough, chances are you’re going to go off the road and wish there was a guard rail.
It’s easy for churches to see personnel policies as unnecessary, too. If we only hire good church people, we should never have any issue with our employees, right? If you have employees long enough…even good church people…you’re going to have problems. Our whole ministry model assumes that people are broken and prone to hurting themselves and others. A church pay check doesn’t change that.
The two places were I see the most hurt happening are:
- Different Expectations: You need something in writing that helps the employee or pastor and the church agree on what success looks like (aka Job Description). Otherwise the pastor will feel unappreciated and the church will feel like their pastor is a dud.
- Different Rules: It can sometimes be difficult to stay in compliance with written rules. Well, most church policies are unwritten, and it’s impossible to stay in compliance with unwritten and often shifting rules.
- Personnel Policy Template: https://www.dakotasumc.org/media/files/CONFERENCE/5_Conf_Finance_Benefits/Finance/personnel_policies.docx
- Dakotas Conference Journal: https://www.dakotasumc.org/journal
- Writing a Pastor Job Description (Reach Right): https://reachrightstudios.com/write-perfect-pastor-job-description/
- Sample Pastor’s Job Description: https://missionnorthwest.org/pastorsjobdescription