Church leaders make decisions every day. These decisions are made about things like people (volunteers, employees, and members), money (budgeting, spending, saving), ministry programs, facilities, and the list goes one.
In Jim Collins’ classic book, Good to Great, he talks about using councils to help guide the organization.
These guiding church councils or committees should be made up of a group of the right people who can discuss, debate, and make decisions about the administration and management of the organization.
People selected to serve on these important committees should be those with knowledge, experience, and a passion for the topic.
These knowledge experts are used to facilitate a decision-making process that benefits the church.
Each council or committee should have a clear charter, and someone should be assigned to facilitate the process.
By going through this process, the team understands what it is charged to do. Councils should meet regularly and report to the church board.
6 Essential Guiding Councils For Churches
1. Church Finance
This group is the financial think-tank and has an identified representative that reports to the board-of-directors.
The church finance committee is responsible for meeting with church leaders and creating the annual church budget.
This team also has the responsibility of reviewing monthly budget numbers, analyzing budget variances, and approving non-budget expenditures.
The budgeting process forecasts annual revenues, fixed and flexible spending, and anticipates and budgets for significant capital expenses.
2. Human Resources
The human resource council or personnel committee helps to ensure that policies, procedures, and processes are in place to support church employees and volunteers.
And, that the ministry complies with, and operates within state and federal laws.
An HR council might also have the responsibility to review job applications and approve applicants for the first round of interviews.
This essential team also helps to establish employee pay grades, make recommendations on employee benefits, employee policies, training, leadership development, job classifications, employee assistance programs, vacation approval process, compensation strategy, reward and recognition, and performance management.
The team is responsible for anything people.
3. Facility Review
The facility review council should meet regularly and discuss strategy for facility management.
This team is responsible for identifying facility update needs, and planning for future expansions or remodels.
This group also facilitates the process of ensuring that staff work areas meet employee job requirements and gives direction on standard furniture, décor colors, campus way-finding, and mechanical equipment needs.
This council meets with the church finance committee to ensure large capital expenditures are budgeted and resources are available when needed.
4. Information Technology
The information technology council is responsible for making sure the church has the necessary technology to run its operations.
This may include recommending purchases such as audiovisual equipment for church services, computer software to operate children’s ministry, or assessing whether employees have the right computer equipment and software to perform their job duties.
This council of technical experts also researches new technologies and ensures the church is using all available technologies that can help streamline work processes.
For example, investing in electronic scanning systems for children’s ministry and adult classes can eliminate the need to manually input attendance information into the church database.
This council may also be responsible for establishing ministry guidelines for replacing computers, setting guidelines for internet usage, employee training, communicating policies on employee personal use of church equipment, and creating any other information technology policy and procedures.
A safety council is responsible for ensuring the church provides a safe environment for visitors and employees.
This is done by reviewing safety procedures for potentially dangerous activities by employees and volunteers.
This group should make routine campus rounds and proactively look for hazards that need to be corrected.
Hazards can be defined as anything that could cause harm within buildings or outside grounds.
For instance, electrical systems, walking surfaces, air quality, fire extinguishers, clutter in hallways, etc. can be potential hazards.
Proactively looking for things that could pose a threat of harm to employees or visitors can help to avoid an unnecessary incident of injury.
6. Customer Experience
A customer experience council is responsible for seeking feedback from all customer groups—members, volunteers, and employees—and identifying ways to improve the experience.
This council may be responsible for facilitating a formal feedback process, reviewing feedback data, and developing improvement plans based on that data.
For example, this group may find that volunteers are asking for a more structured training process because they don’t feel adequately trained to perform their job duties.
Managing a church can be challenging, particularly with limited resources and the reliance on volunteer labor.
A ministry that can identify the right councils, with the right people to help make recommendations and decisions for the operational side of the church – helps the church focus on its number one priority – its mission!