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14 Aug '12

Ten suggestions for ministry policies

Posted by T.J. Addington in church boards, empowered ministry structures, policies
Policies are an important part of organizational structure but they can be put in place for the wrong reasons, hinder or help ministry and either protect or control. Here are some things to think about in regard to policies.

1. Policies should protect the organization from practices that could hurt it. Financial policies, for instance, are designed to minimize fraud or waste and to properly control spending. HR policies, likewise keep the ministry legal and protect its staff.

2. Policies should cut down on the number of decisions that need to be made. Rather than taking situations one by one, a policy means the decision can be made once rather than over and over.

3. Policies should not be used to control people who make unwise decisions. Reactionary policies usually hurt others in the organization. If there is a problem employee, deal with the individual rather than write a policy that impacts everyone.

4. Policies should serve people, not control people. Organizations that seek to control people through policies are unhealthy organizations. Policies are not meant to control but should empower staff in healthy ways.

5. Policies should be reviewed annually. It is amazing how many ministries have policies from years ago that make no sense in today's world. Review, add, and delete on an annual basis.

6. Policies should have a good rationale. If a policy cannot be explained easily it probably should not exist. 

7. Policies should be minimal to protect the organization but not restrict opportunity. Have as few policies as you need to protect the organization. 

8. Policies should be fair to everyone. Policies that carry advantage for some but disadvantage to others need to be carefully scrutinized. 

9. If you are writing policy find out what others have done so that you are not starting from scratch. Others have probably thought of things that you have not.

10. Communicate policies clearly. No one likes a surprise.