Having an employee handbook is an essential part of managing operations within organizations. Though many people view religious organizations as different from other business organizations, it is imperative understanding that they are also involved in service delivery and thus important to have a well-planned employee handbook. Over the year, people have assumed that religious settings should always get guidance from the Holy book such as the Bible and Quran. It is nevertheless imperative understanding that a well-planned employee handbook will be essential in ensuring smooth operations within the organization (Westing and Westing). For instance, the handbook will help outline the employees’ responsibilities, disciplinary issues and terms of remuneration and promotion within the organization. In essence, the handbook serves in the best interest of both the employees and the management of the organization thus enabling smooth service delivery.
In this chapter, we will discuss an employee handbook for a hypothetical religious setting. The handbook will describe the process of hiring and managing the staff within the organization. All the roles, responsibilities, promotion, motivation and reward process will be adequately addressed in this chapter (Heller and Hindle). It is also prudent noting that conflict management and handling of inter-office meetings will also be outlined in this chapter. To make it easier understanding the concept, we assume a church by the name Divine Intervention International Ministries. This is a church ministry that intends to hire five staff that will facilitate service delivery in the daily operations of the organizations. It is worth noting that all the provisions of this handbook supersedes any other prior provisions and is the ultimate guide to the organization’s daily operations.
Job titles and job description
It is important understanding that the modern church organizations are very busy entities and thus making it worth hiring different people to facilitate the service delivery within the organization. All the functions within the organization can not be entirely handled by the pastor due to the busy schedule and hence it is paramount to have a team of able employees to make smooth operations within the organization. The size of the ministry and the needs of the ministry help determine the number of staffs to be employed in an organization. It is also an obligation of the organization management to ensure that the staffs are treated with utmost respect and fairness to enable them deliver on the goals and objectives of the organization (Heller and Hindle). The following is an outline of the job titles and description of staff hired at Divine International Ministry.
A senior pastor is an important part of the management of the ministry’s affairs. It is his responsibility to handle detailed, complex concepts and offer a solution to problems emerging from the daily operations of the organization. He or she is also expected to have good decision-making skills since he has the role of ensuring effective decision making within the organization. It is the role of the senior pastor to plan and spearhead the implementation of programs within the organization. Senior pastor has the obligation of ensuring a healthy relationship between all the stakeholders in an organization. It is also worth noting that the senior pastor will be the chair of all the meetings handled within the organization. The senior pastor is also expected to promote the image of the organization and steer the development agenda of the ministry.
Besides the management roles bestowed upon the senior pastor, he is also obliged to preach the word of God to the believers. The senior pastor is expected to show great levels of competency in the delivery of the word of God. He is expected to provide Godly teachings to the congregation to ensure that followers of the ministry are equipped with the word of God. It is expected that the management will hire a senior pastor that is conversant with the ministry’s expectations that will enable them provide the members with the expected teachings.
From the job description discussed above, it is clear that the senior pastor in a ministry has several obligations. This makes it necessary for him to have an assistant who will help facilitate smooth operations within the ministry. The increased commitments from the senior pastor necessitate the presence of associate pastor who can represent senior pastor just in case he is not in a capacity to fulfill his obligations. The senior pastor can delegate ministerial roles to the associate pastor at will or as he deem it necessary (Westing and Westing). This implies that the associate pastor should also be well equipped with both managerial and pastoral skills just like the senior pastor. The associate pastor has teaching roles, evangelical roles and overseeing rules that ensure that the operations of the ministry are in agreement with the vision and mission of the ministry. In essence, the associate pastor is more of a deputy to the senior pastor and is expected to fill the void when the pastor is not in a capacity to fulfill his obligations.
The youth forms an important part of a church ministry. Having understood that, it is indispensable having an able youth department with a good leader who will steer all the youth programs to the betterment of the ministry. The primary objective of the youth pastor is to liaise with the management of the ministry to fulfilling the programs and activities initiated by the youths in the church ministry (Heller and Hindle). A youth pastor will have the responsibility for planning and coordinating essential projects such as retreats, camps and other youth activities aimed at promoting the youths within the ministry.
Additionally, the youth pastor will also have an obligation of developing the vision for the youths in the church ministry. All the projects initiated for the development of the youth should be handled professionally to ensure that optimum results are realized from the project. Moist of these projects require financial assistance, and it is the obligation of the youth pastor to prepare a budget and lobby the financing from the ministry’s kitty. The youth pastor is also obligated in ensuring that the budgeted and approved funds are used appropriately towards the intended projects. It is also worth noting that the youth pastor will also be representing the youth in ministry’s council where he has the obligation of voicing the needs of the youths in such forums. Also, the youth pastor can also be assigned other duties by the senior pastor.
As aforementioned, the ministry has many functions, and the senior pastor and associate pastor may not be able to handle adequately the demands of the ministry. This makes it necessary to have a church secretary who will have the responsibility of assisting in some office duties of the ministry. The major role of the secretary will be ensuring effective and smooth communication within the ministry. For instance, the Secretary has the responsibility of preparing correspondence, newsletters and any other form of communication in the ministry (Westing and Westing). It is also the obligation of the secretary to keep files and other important records on matters pertaining the daily operations of the ministry.
The church secretary will also be required to handle external correspondences. The Secretary will be expected to receive courteously church guests, answer calls and keep a calendar of appointments as may be deemed right. It is also the role of the secretary to make meeting notifications to all committee members as due dates approach. In some instances, the Secretary may be required to record minutes of church meetings to enable proper record keeping of all the affairs of the church. It is also the obligation of the Secretary to prepare the annual church profile and perform any other duties as may be assigned by the senior pastor.
Book keeper/accountant/ financial secretary
Finances are critical in the sustainability and development of any organization. It is, therefore, paramount for any organization to ensure that the organization’s finances are managed properly and efficiently. It is will, therefore, be prudent for the church ministry to hire an accountant who will have the obligations of ensuring effective maintenance of financial records regarding receipt and distribution of funds within the ministry (Heller and Hindle). He finance secretary will have the role of receiving, count and deposit all the ministry’s offerings as stipulated by the church policy. He will also be required to post receipts and disbursements of all accounts according to the ministry’s financial procedures.
Additionally, the accountant will be expected to prepare monthly bank reconciliation statements to enhance accountability of the ministry’s resources. It will also be the obligation of the accountant to prepare monthly, quarterly and financial reports for the finance committee and church business meetings. The ministry is also expected to provide financial reports to the government, and the financial secretary will have the obligation of preparing such reports. It is also the role of the accountant to prepare payrolls for all the staff in the ministry and may also be assigned other roles by the senior pastor.
Staff meeting procedure
Church ministries will always hold meetings, and most of them are held on weekly basis. Such meetings offer the ministry an opportunity to gather leaders and celebrate victories, identify missed opportunities, communicate plans and vision of the ministry. It is; therefore, prudent having a nice procedure that will ensure effective meetings within the ministry thus keeping the purpose and goals of the organization on course. This necessitates adopting a covenant with the staff of the organization on how the ministry’s meetings will be handled with effectiveness and highest order of convenience.
It is paramount ensuring that every staff within the organization makes staff meeting a priority. It is prudent that all staff members are discouraged from venturing into a personal business that will interfere with the church meetings. This will be achieved by ensuring effective communication among the different stakeholders in the meeting. As aforementioned, the church secretary will be expected to offer timely communication to members on the date, time and agenda of the meetings to avoid conflicts. The Secretary may use circulars, memos, e-mails and SMS to ensure that there is timely information delivery to ensure no delays and absenteeism during the church meetings.
To ensure productive meeting sessions, the leadership of the meeting will ensure that these meetings are not used to point fingers or embarrass staff members. The meetings should serve to foster unity and improved service delivery by all the staff in the ministry. It is, therefore, prudent to monitor the statements contributed to such meetings to ensure that they are not aimed at attacking or embarrassing other staff members (Westing and Westing). It is prudent to cultivate a culture of embracing each other celebrating victories together and taking a collective blame for the shortcomings and missed opportunities within the organization.
Handling inter-office conflicts
Conflicts in a workplace are a common occurrence in any organization, and religious organizations are not an exception. However, the most important thing is acknowledging the existence of such problems and designing an effective procedure of addressing inter –office conflicts as they arise. To deal with these problems, it is prudent that we note the major causes of interoffice conflicts and work tirelessly towards preventing such causes to take center stage in the management of the ministry’s affairs. It is, therefore, prudent for the church ministry to cultivate a culture amongst its office holders that promote peace and cohesiveness in the daily operations of the ministry.
Inter-office conflicts can lead to irreparable damages to the good work that the ministry aims to fulfill. It is, therefore, essential that the organization puts in place measures that will help circumvent conflict, prevent it from becoming damaging and be proactive in resolving interoffice conflicts (Heller and Hindle). As aforementioned, all the stakeholders in the organization have a responsibility of ensuring conflict avoidance as much as possible. It is a collective responsibility of the members of the ministry to promote peace and good relationship aimed at the welfare of the organization.
The organization will also put in place effective communication platforms that will be instrumental in the prevention of workplace conflicts. It is worth understanding that most of these conflicts are a result of a misunderstanding between the different stakeholders within the organization. A clear and concise communication within the organization will be a major step towards maintaining a harmonious co-existence between different office holders within the ministry. The platforms will ensure that all the goals and objectives of the ministry are passed to all concerned parties. This will ensure that all involved parties’ works towards a common goal thus reducing chances of conflicts within the organizations.
Working towards a common goal will reduce room for unhealthy competition that in most cases lead to increased cases of conflicts within an organization. The management of the ministry will also set up a conflict resolution center that will have the obligation of settling disputes that may arise during the daily operations of the ministry (Westing and Westing). This center will comprise men and women of integrity who will provide insights to employees on best co-existence practices. In essence, it will be the obligation of the management of the ministry to identify possible causes of conflicts and be proactive in dealing with such cases. To sum it up, the ministry will cultivate a culture where all the stakeholders feel respected and have a duty to making the ministry a success.
Heller, Robert, and Tim Hindle. Essential Manager’s Manual. New York, N.Y.: DK Pub., 1998. Print.
Westing, Harold J, and Harold J Westing. Church Staff Handbook. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1997. Print.
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