Why get a Church Employee Handbook?

Custom Employee HandbookFairness in ministry and employment.  While a church is a ministry, it is also an employer.  Most employees will be good, but sometimes a hire will be disappointing.  It is best to have established employee policies so that everyone knows what is expected of them.  Even good employees will make mistakes or could misunderstand rules that are just verbal.  A church should establish its employee policies and procedures in writing.   With a well designed church employee handbook, your HR policies will be clear and consistent, you will lower the chance of misunderstanding or frustration among staff, you will offer protection to the ministry, and you will equip your pastors and leaders with a good HR resource.

Some policies are necessary for any church:  at-will employment, non-discrimination, non-harassment, professional ethics, benefits, and pastoral ethics.  Consider some of the other policies that can be included:

church policies 1Church Policies 2

How do I get a church employee handbook?  You have 3 basic options for designing a handbook for your church staff:
1. Download a Template.  Priced from $50 to $350, these templates will require you to invest many hours into personalizing the handbook to your state, church size, and ministry specifics.  Expect to pay about $200 for a decent template. Also expect to invest about 100-140 hours in compiling and editing your DIY handbook.

2. Have a consulting company design a professional handbook for you.  Typical price is is between $1,500 to $3,000.  Pricing is a higher, but the work is done by a professional.  You will likely save money, considering the amount of hours needed to do this on your own.

New Wind is an excellent consulting company that designs church employee handbooks, customized for each ministry:

Church Employee Handbook

3. Go to a labor law lawyer.  This is by far the most expensive option, but you will receive a church employee handbook that considers all the legal intricacies of your ministry.  This is a good option for complex ministries or ministries concerned about employee lawsuits.  Expect to pay between $5,000 and $9,000.

(this article originally appeared in HR Quick Answers)

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