It’s difficult, conceptually, to manage a church. Much like working for a non-profit charity, churches require a fine business acumen to operate well and deliver the best service. But many that feel a calling to lead a church cringe at many elements in that previous sentence.
Like all physical operations (and even digital ones), it takes resources to keep a church alive. Over 6,000 churches shutter each year from declining interest and difficulties in financial management. To avoid this possibility, it’s important to take stock and plan for victory.
The following guide gives some common-sense approaches to tentpole a church for the future.
Church Management Techniques
Regardless of the name s attached to the roles within a church’s leadership, the goals are the same: keep the doors open and spread the message consistently to many.
Management needs to consider how to best use resources on -hand and how to obtain more. They also need to consider the best ways to use those resources to maintain the church and church membership as well as how to expand both.
Spiritual guidance plays its part, but knowing the nuts and bolts of the process makes it far easier to understand that guidance.
1. Consider Strategy
What is your church for? What does it want to accomplish? How does it want to proceed?
These are but a few of the questions it’s important to have some form of an answer to.
The foundation of management is a strategy developed to accomplish goals. Consider how your faith and the church’s mission intersect. Let that guide your strategy.
2. Set Goals
Over time, you will have more than one goal in mind. Setting goals is a skill as important as managing the result.
Are your goals achievable? Are they timely? Do they serve your overall mission?
A goal needs to be put forth in a fashion that is practical and obvious in its intent. This is true for any organization but particularly resounds for a church. The people need to be on board for a church to succeed and that includes a thorough understanding of your goals.
3. Know Your Board
Not all churches operate as 501(c)s but many do. Regardless of your financial and legal structure, you will need more than one person to act in leadership.
The leadership board needs to embody your mission and live up to your criteria. This may include working within legal compliance and/or abiding by a mission/faith statement.
Like any business, employing the best people that know how to contribute and fill their role, will help with every other part of your management.
4. Structure a Budget
Budgeting is difficult and often becomes the center of any church administration. A budget needs to look to the future and handle the day by day expenses.
The proceeds of goal setting and fund rasing need to be well-documented and considered in both the short term and longterm. Maintenance costs, land values, and energy increases all warrant attention.
Bookkeeping is an essential part of a budget. Consider specialized programs that address the needs of church accounting such as https://www.iconcmo.com/blog/church-accounting-software/. When it comes time for a financial review, this can save you lots of effort.
5. Manage Risks
Churches face multiple risks that go overlooked. These include safety measures within the building, training for staff, and compliance with local laws.
It’s better to consider these risks beforehand. What is the church’s liability for accidents on-premises? Do you need insurance and if so, what kind?
6. Utilize Volunteers
Churches have memberships and many of those members want to help out physically, financially, or with expertise.
Volunteers mean well but require supervision and screening to ensure that they don’t do more harm than good.
Effectively utilizing volunteers requires an understanding of what is offered, what needs to be done, and a review of the risks involved.
7. Maintain Facilities
The buildings need to be clean and in good repair to both honor your mission and help your membership.
Maintenance comes at a price and takes time. Your budget plans for some of this but you also need to budget time.
Major renovations are especially troubling when you need buildings available. Construction equipment takes up space in limited parking. Remember that volunteers can help but need to be accountable.
8. Educate and Protect
Accountability doesn’t come easily. You need to educate volunteers and staff on your best practice and ensure they are working as intended.
Churches work with the needy and under-protected of a community. This includes the elderly and children. Both of which need special care and to avoid being taken advantage of. Clear policies help you to spot trouble and to follow up on interactions.
Most importantly, you want the church membership and leadership on the same page. Confirm that the message being sent by your service and those representing you align.
Security for buildings and physical resources is also necessary. Keep buildings up to code and know who has access to areas and when.
9. Communicate Openly
The most important element of church administration is open communication. You want to send a clear message to the members and want honest feedback and accountability.
Create ways for the leadership to communicate and to receive feedback.
When it comes to the financials, everyone working towards a goal has the right to know the status thereof.
When asking for donations or taking tithe, offer multiple ways for people to give. Not everyone is comfortable with cash or even checks, many online and digital options exist for these purposes.
If you offer a forum for discussions either in buildings or through a church website, monitor actions and establish firm policies. Keep everyone in the loop and aware of both expectations and restrictions.
These tips provide a starting guide for church management. There’s always more to learn and more to do to tackle the ever-growing challenges of the world.
Stay up to date and vigilant about those changes keeps your church secure and future proof. Explore more articles about topics that affect and interest you.