Councils should be made up of a group of the right people to discuss, debate and make decisions about the operation of the organization. People selected to serve on these councils should be those with knowledge, experience and a passion for the topic.
These knowledge experts should be steered by the board and used to facilitate a decision making process that benefits the church.
Councils should be chartered and have someone assigned to facilitate the process. This facilitator should help identify the right people for the council, create a team charter, ground rules and goals. This process establishes accountability and a set direction. Councils should meet on a regular basis and report to the church board.
A human resources council or church personnel committee is an example of a guiding council for churches. The human resource council helps to ensure policies, procedures and processes are in place to support staff and volunteers and that the ministry operation is compliant with state and federal laws. Let’s look at some things this council might be responsible for.
Church Personnel Committee Job Description
The HR Council/Personnel Committee should be responsible to:
- Establish employee pay grades.
- Establish employee job classifications.
- Make recommendations and decisions on employee benefits.
- Establish employee policies.
- Make recommendations on staff training needs.
- Identify potential leaders and make recommendations on leadership development.
- Create employee assistance programs.
- Establish vacation approval process.
- Develop reward and recognition programs.
- Review job applications and recommend job candidates for interviews.
- Oversee employee performance management process.
Guiding councils help to improve systems and processes, are driven by directives of the organization and are steered by a team charter. A team charter statement is “a written document that defines the team’s mission, scope of operation, objectives, time frame and consequences.” Spending the time to develop a team charter and purpose statement can help ensure there is support and resource availability to achieve objectives. This formal document legitimizes the team’s efforts and supports the council so they can accomplish what they are charged to do.
A team charter document should include:
The purpose statement explains why a team exists and how it’s charge lines up with the global goals of the organization. For example, “The purpose of the human resources council is to provide direction and decision making for employee policies, compensation and benefits, legal compliance, performance management and staff training for Regional Community Church”
A mission statement clarifies the team’s responsibility. For example, “The mission of the Human Resources Council is to ensure church employees have the training and tools to perform their job, are held accountable for achieving goals and are compensated appropriately for their efforts.”
Scope of Operation
The scope of the operation details the boundaries and parameters that the team operates within. For example, “The Human Resource Council will research and make recommendations on hiring, firing, compensation and benefits for church employees according to best practice benchmarks and within legal and tax compliance.”
The objectives of a team should be tied to measurable results. These objectives should be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the team. For example, “The Human Resource Council will ensure an employee satisfaction score of 85% or higher with an annual employee turnover rate of 15% or less.”
The time-frame for any team project should be clearly defined so the council understands the deadlines and urgency for completing their commission. For example, “The Human Resource Council will ensure employee compensation, performance and policies will be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.”
Guiding councils use ministry resources and should be held accountable for producing the results outlined in the team charter. There should be very specific accountability outlined in the document so members understand the importance of the council achieving objectives.
Newly chartered councils need to understand why the group exists, what they are charged to do, the time-frame by which they need to accomplish the tasks as well as defined expectations for meeting team objectives. This very clear communication process on the front end of a team launch can help prevent miscommunication issues down the road. The church board should hold all councils accountable for achieving their team charter and objectives and rotate council members on a regular basis.