WHICH DOCUMENTS & WHY
As unglamorous as church documents may be, they are a crucial component of a pastor’s toolbox.
Our church waited three years to put our church documents in order, and we suffered for it.
In the life of a church, we create policies to help guide us to practices that help our people. May our marriage policies do just that.
Many pastors are forced to think through this potentially confusing topic. David Gibbs from the Christian Law Association provides some help.
CONFESSIONS & COVENANTS
Should you look for a historic confession that your church will align with, or adopt something written recently—or even write your own?
A good confession of faith builds a protective doctrinal house around a precious center: the gospel.
The ways we can use Statements of Faith and Church Covenants in our churches are many, but what matters most is that if we have them, we use them to help each other follow Jesus.
Should we risk agitating people by asking them to formally sign something? And what if someone wants to join, but is unsure of a doctrinal matter? Is submission enough, or is agreement necessary?
CONSTITUTIONS & BY-LAWS
Saying that you love a polity manual like the Book of Church Order is like saying you love your slide rule or your calculator. But in this case, it’s true.
A constitution is not just a technocratic document demanded by your state’s tax office, nor a necessary evil for avoiding conflict in a church. It’s a deeply theological and even spiritual document.
Writing (or revising) your constitution is not really lawyer’s work, and it need not be drudgery. In fact, it can and should be invigorating.
Don’t give up on that old constitution just yet. Consider renovating it first.
Here are the five kinds of people that you might be tempted to put on your document revision committee, but should avoid if at all possible.
Rules of order help to ensure that members’ meetings flow smoothly. As formal as they might feel, in a church of any size, they help to prevent fights, and facilitate unity.
Very often a new pastor will find a statement of faith like our church had—unclear at best and heretical at worst.