Record Keeping

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by BroChris, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. BroChris

    BroChris
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2002
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been the pastor of a small church for about 3 weeks now. Every day is an adventure at this point. I'm learning about the history of the church, the vision of its members, and the great potential we have in the community. Very exciting times.

    One thing I learned, though, is that the church hasn't kept records for a long time. It's not that they're opposed to it, its just that as people have come and gone, record keeping just kind of stopped. And when I say no records, I mean no records. We don't have a Sunday School role (past last month, which is kept only to note the average sunday school attendance for the month, then is discarded), we don't have membership records (I found some from about 8 years ago, but I don't recognize many of the names, and it doesn't include things like addresses and phone numbers).

    So, what records should I absolutely start keeping (like, yesterday)? And what records should I consider keeping on a looking-forward basis?

    I'm certainly going to make a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers, along with each person's conversion testimony. That's just something that I personally need. But what else?
     
  2. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Messages:
    5,533
    Likes Received:
    0
    First, you need a copy of the church's constitution and/or bylaws. That's a very important document to keep! After that, start keeping record of business meetings. We have a lady who does this and reads the last month's minutes at the start of each business meeting. The info includes what we discussed, who made motions and who seconded those motions, whether or not the motion carried, etc, and the date. We also include financial expenditures that require a church vote, who was saved, baptized, or bacame a church member, and who was in attendance at the business meeting.

    If there is any change to salary, this should be included as well for insurance and tax reasons. When we first moved to our current church, I bought furniture for my dh's office at the church, window blinds and landscaping for the parsonage, paint, etc, but we were not able to claim it on our taxes because the church couldn't provide proof of a housing allowance or ministry allowance for us. So, anything like that needs to be recorded in the business meeting minutes.

    Anything to do with finances should be recorded. Reciepts, expenditures, proof of insurance, proof of work done on the building, when, and what it cost, etc. If the church gets audited, these must be provided.

    And last but not least, if your church copies music, get a CCLI. I think that's what it's called. Lots of churches get a songbook and make lots of copies for the choir and it's illegal. If your church is found to have copied music (without permission) you can get into big trouble. Get the CCLI and keep record of it.
     
  3. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    For us, I get an updated count every Monday concerning attendance in each SS class, the Sunday and Wednesday services and the giving (not who gave but amount of general fund, designated giving etc). The office keeps all these records and compares them to last years at the same time.

    Here's a great chance to almost take this as a new beginning for the church.
     
  4. BroChris

    BroChris
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2002
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess I exaggerated just a little. They have been keeping business meeting notes, and they include most of what you mentioned, abcgrad. We also have a CCLI. And they've been maintaining their tax exempt status. And I saw the by-laws and constitution before I became their pastor. So I need to give them a little credit there.

    I guess I'm thinking more along the lines of what Tom Bryant suggested. I want to track the day-by-day, week-by-week data too. What's the best way to go about doing this? Should I designate someone to do this, or should I go around with my clipboard each Sunday marking who's present?

    What other data? Visitation? Even phone calls? What information would it be useful to get from each person in the church up front so that I can minister to them better on an ongoing basis?
     
  5. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Messages:
    4,439
    Likes Received:
    0
    Get the SS teachers to keep the data. Get an attendance book, insist on getting addresses and the like. That might take a while to get them into, but it will be worthwhile. Maybe do a once a month SS teachers meeting so you can explain what you want and why you need it.

    Start with the basic info and then as you visit people, keep a confidential record that ONLY you see about the people.

    For the congregation as a whole, put an info sheet into the bulletin for a few weeks in a row. Get the basic info (name, address, phone, email children, birthdays) from this. Don't be too intrusive about other info. We do this every year because you would be amazed at how often people change stuff and the office is left out of the loop.

    For a new pastor, this can be an easy starting point: "I want to get to know you..."
     

Share This Page

Loading...