3 People Your Church Board Must Have
By Raul Rivera
Church planting is arguably one of the most exciting yet challenging times in a pastor’s life. Thinking about the lives that will be changed as they walk through the doors of the church and the people who will benefit from all the ministry’s hard work is incredibly humbling.
But before you start thinking of all the lives that will be reached, you must consider a smaller group of people. These individuals will help lead the vision you have been given. This group of people is none other than the board of directors, specifically the president, secretary and treasurer.
The church board of directors
As with any team, there are people in the church that have a significant impact on the team. However, these people are not necessarily the "face" of the team and are not seen on the front end often.
For example, think of a football team’s center player. The center usually hikes the ball to the quarterback 50 to 75 times a game without error, yet no one praises him for doing it perfectly. But, when he makes one mistake, everyone notices it. If a center makes a mistake hiking the ball, it almost always results in a loss of yards or a turnover.
The same goes for the three overlooked people in the church. If the president, treasurer, or secretary falter, the consequences to the church and the vision can be dramatic. Because these three people are such key players, it is important to define their roles in the bylaws. Each church is different; therefore, we must listen carefully and understand each church's vision.
Below is an overview of the positions and what they entail.
3 vital board positions your church must fill
The role of the president is defined as the individual in charge of the day-to-day activities of the church. More importantly, the president casts the vision of the church.
Usually the pastor fills this position. This gives him the task of providing leadership to the whole church. Many pastors view themselves as ministers, but they do not see themselves as CEOs or leaders of a corporation. You may not automatically see yourself this way either, but when you choose to have a CEO mindset, you will see growth and maturity in your church.
As the president of the board of directors, or as the CEO of the corporation, it is important to ensure that the treasurer and secretary are in alignment with the vision of the church. Unfortunately, there are times when the pastor has a vision for the church, but the secretary and treasurer are not in alignment with this vision. In such cases, the church suffers. For ultimate growth, appoint board members who are in agreement with the pastor's vision.
The role of the treasurer can be best defined as the overseer of the financial management of the church. Many are under the impression that the treasurer has to manage the books, but this is not a requirement. A volunteer, a finance director, or a paid staff member can be assigned to handle the church's books., There are also companies that can accurately manage your church's finances.
The treasurer has three main responsibilities to ensure the church books are transparent and compliant with the law. The treasurer’s three responsibilities are listed below:
- Establish financial systems and accountability controls. This typically includes accounting, reimbursement policies, payroll, and IRS reporting.
- Create a set of reports that keep the board of directors updated on the financial condition of the church.
- Understand the laws that govern the management of the church’s tax-exempt status, and ensure compliance with the law.
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The role of the secretary can be best defined as the custodian of legal matters. The secretary’s role is critical because this person usually handles many of the records and documents that affect the church. Below are the three main responsibilities of a secretary:
- Manage and maintain the governing documents of the church.
- Schedule board meetings, and make sure that minutes are properly recorded and stored.
- Stay up to date with state corporate reporting requirements such as annual reports, charity registration, state sales tax exemptions, property tax exemptions, 501(c)(3) status, and more.
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Trouble comes when these positions falter
It is absolutely necessary to have the president, treasurer, and secretary in place when running an organization. These three positions oversee and manage the church's vision, finances, and official documents.
On many occasions, there have been lawsuits concerning embezzled money by the treasurer. Other legal cases have pertained to improper filing of papers or improper notices by the secretary. Moreover, many secretaries, while trying their best to keep the church’s records up to date, fail to file annual reports and/or submit its charity registration. Likewise, church treasurers are not always up to date with the requirements of the law concerning informational returns and section 4958 requirements.
At StartCHURCH, we know that keeping up with ever-changing church law is difficult. That is why we are here to help! We believe we have been called to bridge the gap between your vision and lawful compliance to make your vision come to pass.
If you have questions about board member positions, give us a call at 877-494-4655. We will gladly help you identify these positions and make sure you are on the road to a successful launch team.