Church Officers: Part B – What Do They Do?
All church leadership should have a written job description – especially the official officers of the church. Church officers are really corporate officers of an incorporated or chartered body /organization that follow through with the official business of the church. Church (corporate) officers fulfill the legal governance of a church body and represent the congregation in all corporate matters of records, signatures, financial obligations and the conduct of business sessions.
Annually elected lay officers are: Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer and Trustees. The Pastor and some other staff are often additional church professional ministerial officers and are not annually elected. Church staff should avoid being placed in the position of qualifying their signature on long term church documents. Deacons are not official church officers, their role is specifically recorded in Acts 6:1-4, as servants to the congregation.
Those elected by the congregation annually:
MODERATOR: Needs to be an elected lay person with pertinent functions.
- Maintain the fellowship.
- Conducts orderly church business.
- Keeps church business in a timely agenda.
- Utilizes a parliamentary process that allows clarity and fairness.
- Speaks for the church in times of crisis. Some churches suggest that the pastor be moderator. This writer feels this is one of the most unfair practices a church can impose on their spiritual leader. Pastors make good parliamentarians. The role of moderator is neutral and unbiased. Few moderators will immerge from the role to speak on an issue – certainly not what a pastor should be forced to do during church debate.
CLERK: An elected lay person who:
- Records church minutes of motions, discussions, and identifies individuals participating in business.
- Preserves records.
- Corresponds with other churches for membership changes.
- Provides church history records.
- Prepares the Annual Church Profile.
TREASURER: An elected lay person who focuses on three stewardship categories: Receiving, Accounting and dispersing of funds. Other functions are:
- Counsel with Stewardship Committee.
- Maintaining financial records transactions.
- Maintain contribution records.
- Signs checks.
- Makes reports to committees and church on a regular basis.
TRUSTEES: Elected lay persons (3 maximum ) who hold the property of the church in trust for the congregation.
- Trustees are the legal agents for the church as directed by the church bylaws.
- Maintains inventory of all legal documents.
- Counsels with other committees or organizations concerning legal matters. Some churches choose to rotate trustees. This writer feels consistency of legal perspectives, signatures and functions needs to prevail over rotation and elect Trustees for life terms.