View Full Version : Church Trustees

01-25-2003, 10:10 PM
Churches have a variety of operating methods that they have developed to cope with the ever increasing complexity of operations. Besides the scripturally defined roles of pastor/elder and deacon, some have a position called “Trustee”.

The Trustee has a role of dealing with various church business matters. Trustees are a State mandated position and are responsible for the physical property of the church (generally once a church becomes “incorporated” they are responsible to have Trustees by State law). The underlying assumption in the position of “Trustee” is that it is a person who holds trust. So, legally it is the trustees who hold the legal responsibility of the church and not the pastor (the pastor would legally be defined as an employee of the church trustees). Though trustees may be necessary for the effective and efficient operation of a local church body, it is not a biblical office.

Does your church have Trustees?

There is a conflict between who runs the church and who is responsible for the church. How is this matter handled/or is it just ignored?

01-26-2003, 12:02 AM
Yes we have trustees. The trustees and pastor have two very different rolls in their own part of 'running' the church. The trustees are in charge of taking care of the building and any adjoining properties(parking lot, parsonage), the see to repairs and whatever, look for the right person for the repairs, and then over see that, they present whatever their plan is to the church for vote. The pastor on the othe hand over sees the actuall running of the church, and the adminstration of the church(with the assistance of the secratary with adminstration). The two are very different, with different functions. There need be no coflict.

Dr. Bob
01-26-2003, 12:11 AM
Trustee is an out-dated legal requirement. All 50 states have now adopted a unified code so that has replaced them.

New term is "board of directors". Every non-profit corporation (most of our churches are - another discussion, please) must have them. Will start a separate discussion on this in the future.

The church may opt to divide up the authority and responsibilities any way they desire. IF they desire they can call a group trustees, deacons, kkk or whatever! :eek: And what these groups do is also up to action of the local church.

Clint Kritzer
01-26-2003, 12:22 AM
From my church's constitution (also a state requirement):

SECTION 3. TRUSTEES. The trustees of the church shall be three adult male members, who shall be elected by the church. They shall hold office until death, resignation, or removal by the church. Vacancies shall be filled by vote of the church and at a regular or duly called special business meeting. The trustees shall hold in trust all the property belonging to the church and take all necessary measures for its protection. All deeds, mortgages and other legal, written documents binding the church or affecting church property shall be executed by the trustees in accordance with the will of the church. The trustees shall serve as the Fork Union Baptist Church Memorial Cemetery Association Board of Directors.

01-26-2003, 12:27 AM
A trustee until death, boy, ours rotate off every I think 3 years.

01-26-2003, 08:38 AM
My questions arise from a project I’ve taken on, writing a deacon’s manual for our church (I’ve read lots of interesting books on the role of a deacon recently).
In my church’s Constitution, the deacons have been given the title “Corporate Trustee”.
I’m trying to work through the conflicting legal vs. biblical responsibilities.
If the Trustee is legally responsible for the ‘property’ of the church, it seems that the trustee has some role in leadership and governing the church. Is there a discord or is it only in my mind?

01-26-2003, 08:42 AM
New term is "board of directors". Every non-profit corporation (most of our churches are - another discussion, please) must have them. Will start a separate discussion on this in the future.Perhaps this is why we have a "Deacon Board"?


Pastor Larry
01-26-2003, 09:03 AM
It seems to me that the trustees/board of directors can do only what the body tells them they can do. The authority still resides in teh congregation, who (either all at once or bit by bit) parcel out authority to them. For instance, the church can make a binding and continuous resolution (i.e., constitutional statement) giving teh trustees certain responsibilities; or the congregation can require the trustees to come to the congregation for each little matter.

In many churches, the deacons are also the trustees as assigned by the congregation in the constitution. Some have separate trustees. I can't see any reason for separate deacons and trustees but perhaps I am missing something.

Mrs, KJV
01-27-2003, 10:58 PM
I have to disagree with Bob, about the Board of Directors. We just recently had our church incorporated and they still made us have the standard 4 Trustees. It was set up by the state that the Pastor was required to be one of the Trustees. So, the Pastor is accountable to a degree. I understood that the trustee is only a agent of the church and mainly would have to desolve the corportation if the church disolved.