Any organization from a group of neighborhood kids to the largest corporations must have some internal structure to maintain itself in functional order. Even the early church had infrastructure, with those chosen to take care of the widows, a treasurer, and others with various teaching or preaching responsibilities. And so it is with our church. We have internal structures that just as in the early church provide the support for those doing the evangelistic jobs. These are the Organizational areas within the Enabling Services.
These will vary with church size, and currently we are relatively small and therefore do not have a large staff as do some churches. Every person that chooses to work in this area is vitally important to getting God's work accomplished. This area includes the following service areas: Administrative Support, Trustees, and Maintenance.
Administrative Support Service
Administrative Support includes the following service or ministry areas:
Pastoral and Office support--This includes direct support of the pastor in communications, scheduling, and document preparation as well as operation of the church office telephone, computer, and printer to serve all ministry areas of the church.
Financial Management--This is basically the Finance Team which covers the responsibilities of operations budget, accounting system operation/records, Financial Secretary that records contributions and makes bank deposits, and the treasurer that is responsible for recording and making all expenditures.
Staff management--This is the personnel area that handles staffing, job definition and performance issues.
Service as a Trustee
A Trustee for our church is one of 7 or 9 on the Board that are the legal entity responsible for the integrity and value of the real property held for our use by the MN Annual Conference and is the church and parsonage. This basically means they are responsible to see that nothing is done to the property that would decrease or destroy its value to the church's mission and to the Annual Conference, should they need to recover the market value of the property in case the local church can no longer support it or no longer exists.
Traditionally, in smaller, more rural churches, the trustees also did the maintenance and repair and handled the day to day care and cleaning of the building and outside landscape. Sometimes, these responsibilities overshadowed the legal responsibilities to the point that they might not even be understood. In the first half of the 20th century and earlier, that was acceptable, but more and more, the world became more complex and more litigious, and more complicated regarding legal affairs of churches and their property.
In this 21st century, it is necessary that the Board of Trustees see and understand the ramifications of their legal responsibilities clearly. While it is easier for most people to relate to the fixing and repairing, trustees must focus on the preservation of our church property and the legal aspects of protecting it from all kinds of disasters--accidental, man-made, or natural. Protection against potential lawsuits and other legal attacks must be considered part of the job.
Legally, if something isn't physically a permanent part of the building or land, the Trustees are not responsible for it. A way to look at it is if the church went out of existence, there are those items within the building that creditors could confiscate against any outstanding bills. This would include furniture, non-built-in appliances, organ and pianos, computers, decorations, kitchen utensils, lawn equipment, maintenance tools and equipment, and the like. The building with its infrastructure of plumbing, HVAC system, electrical distribution, floor and wall coverings, built-in cabinetry,parking lot, trees and shrubs, lawn, sidewalks, bell tower and electronic chime system, and sign would all revert to the Annual Conference for disposition.
The job of the Board of Trustees can be described in very narrow or very wide terms depending on the church and its traditions. The job can include managing the janitorial services, the utilities services, and all the repair and upgrade of the building and the fixtures within it. Often, many of these areas are actually done by the BoT themselves when they have the skills. The danger, as indicated above, is that the BoT becomes focused on the physical and mostly or completely ignoring the legal aspect, and making it difficult to place people on the BoT that have the right knowledge to handle the legal aspects. A better system is to clearly define the BoT job without the "hands on" aspects and create a Maintenance Service Team that has all those "hands on" responsibilities.
Service in the Maintenance Team
Maintenance Service area is made up of Building/property Maintenance, Janitorial Service, Equipment Maintenance.
The Property Maintenance Team has the responsibilities for maintaining the buildings, properties, and the contents within the buildings owned, leased, or rented by the church. These can be further divided into areas of responsibility such as the following.
Maintenance of building and grounds--this would cover all the outside grounds and the building structure, interior and exterior, and the main infrastructure systems such as HVAC, lighting, plumbing, and fixtures.
Janitorial Maintenance--this would cover keeping the interior of the church building clean and safe to use on a day to day basis.
Equipment Maintenance--this gets complicated in today's world of sophisticated electronic equipment, and much of the equipment upon which the routine function of the church depends, require specialized care and feeding. Maintenance contracts on office equipment. Telecommunications and Internet providers require contracts and some specialized knowledge in making and maintaining those contracts. Computer networks are as integral to operation as the electrical wiring in the walls, yet these require different levels of knowledge in maintaining them. Security systems are another area of complication that takes the traditional safety aspect of Exit Signs to a new level. Maintenance of these is much more than just checking batteries and light bulbs. Even the newer HVAC systems have sophisticated control electronics that are connected to computer networks for management and control.
Another way to look at this is like your car. Even 20 years ago, one could get under the hood and do some routine repair and maintenance. But Now, that is virtually impossible because all systems are computer-based and without the proper diagnostic equipment, nothing can be done.
For the near term, the whole maintenance area probably should be divided into Traditional Maintenance and Specialized Maintenance, with the specific responsibilities clearly defined based on the equipment in use.