What Should Be in a Policy and Procedures Manual

by Harvey Mitchell Jr.

The church’s policy and procedures manual is an important document, similar to the church’s constitution and bylaws.

The constitution and bylaws outline the organizational structure, beliefs, appropriate boundaries of oversight, scope and nature of the business, and legal membership. This document provides the high-altitude vision of the organization. The policy and procedures manual gives the low-altitude, daily vision of how the organization carries out its stated scope and mission.

The manual should include a brief employee handbook that addresses job descriptions and duties; pay schedules; time off, including holidays, vacation, and sick days; and staff evaluations (how they are conducted, and what is expected in them). It should also include policies and procedures for hiring and firing, management and oversight, and how the church approaches and manages multiple members of the same family on paid and volunteer staff.

Think through all the policies you currently have in place at your church, including the unwritten ones. Do you perform weddings at your church? Do you rent out your buildings? If so, what fees, requirements, and forms are involved? Do you allow users to rearrange things and decorate for events? What rules apply to volunteers, children’s workers, and chaperones?

To find helpful development resources, Google “policy and procedures manuals.” Some plug-and-play templates are available to help you think through what needs to be in a well-written policy and procedures manual.

— Harvey Mitchell Jr., Orland, California