APPENDIX TWO: ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE LOCAL CHURCH

A. ACCOUNTABILITY IN DOCTRINE

As someone involved in Christian service within your local church or Christian organization you are accountable to the leadership for what you teach either formally in prepared messages or informally in pastoral conversations.

The Doctrinal Statement or Statement of Belief of your church/organization has been carefully put together to include the fundamental beliefs that it considers non-negotiable. These are the Biblical teachings that your church/organization values. This belief statement exists both to preserve the truth and to fence out error. In the perspective of eternity it is the most important document of your church/organization.

Read the doctrinal statement of your church or organization.

Answer the following questions in relation to accountability in doctrine.
Why is it important for you to know the doctrinal statement of your church/organization?

 

Why is it important for you to agree with the doctrinal statement of your church/organization?

 

What would be an appropriate action on your part if you find that you disagree with one or more points of your church/organization’s statement of belief?

 

Suggest possible outcomes if you taught people something that was contrary to the accepted statement of belief.

[1] within yourself:


[2] between you and the leadership:


[3] for the person you taught:

 

Identify any difficulties you have with the Statement of Belief of your church or organization:

 

What are you going to do about it?

 

B. ACCOUNTABILITY IN COMMITMENT

Although we are all ultimately accountable to God, by joining a church or organization we have put ourselves under the authority of the leadership of that church/organization. God commands us to be subject to those who are in authority over us in the church [Hebrews 13:17].

Some churches and organizations formulate a Service Covenant, Volunteer Agreement, Employment Agreement, or something similar, that outlines the standards of behaviour, that those who have committed to serve within the church or organization are required to sign. Such covenants or agreements hold you accountable for the way you conduct yourself. You are not a free-loader. Your involvement in a ministry team automatically makes you a representative and a servant of your church or organization. Service covenants etc give you guidelines about the general expectations of the church/organization. They also give the church/organization a basis from which to assess your suitability for continued service and for any needed disciplinary action.

Topics covered by such covenants include:

Whether or not you are living a balanced Christian life
Your respect for the doctrinal position of the church/organization
Your respect for people
Your respect for the congregation/organization
Your attendance at worship
Your ability to work as part of a team
Your integrity in matters relating to money and to confidentiality/privacy of information
Your sexual behaviour.

Read the service covenant, volunteer agreement, work agreement, or similar, of your church/organization.

Answer the following questions.
What is the value of a service covenant/volunteer agreement/etc?

 

Why is it important for a person involved in pastoral care or any Christian ministry to demonstrate the commitment and integrity indicated in the covenant/agreement?


How could individual failure to measure up to the stated requirements adversely impact the witness of the church/organization in the community?


How do you feel personally about having to sign an agreement/covenant? Is that attitude Christlike or ungodly?


Define the rightness or wrongness of a person being removed from a ministry team on the basis of failure to live by the terms of a signed covenant/agreement.

 


C. FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY

Every church and organization works with a budget. As part of a ministry team you are accountable to the church/organization in respect to money you spend. You need to identify the financial freedoms and boundaries set by your church/organization

Read all available documents from your church/organization re spending/purchasing/reimbursement.

Answer these questions:
Do you personally have any authority to spend church/organizational money?

If so, how much money is available for you to spend? And when is it available?

Do all purchases have to be authorised? If so, by whom?

Is there a ‘purchase order’ policy?

Are there stores where the church/organization prefers you to purchase?

Is there a ‘request for reimbursement’ form or a reimbursement policy?

To whom do you have to give invoices?

What kind of records/accounts is your ministry team required to keep?

If you collect money from ministry participants, what protocols do you have to follow [eg: counting, co-signing of witness] and what are you supposed to do with the money?



Note: You are of course, free to spend your own money and not request reimbursement. In one respect that is commendable. On the other hand, it gives the church finance administrator/budget planner a false perception of the cost of running your particular ministry, and when you are no longer there could mean that your ministry will be under-budgeted


D. ACCOUNTABILITY IN HEALTH AND SAFETY

Health and safety are mandatory requirements.

D.1 Workplace health and safety
Your church/organization should have an official Workplace Health and Safety policy in place. See Appendix #1.

 

D.2 First Aid
As a person involved in ministry in your church/organization you have a duty of care [see next session] to the people with and to whom you minister. As part of this duty of care you need to be aware of first aid and other health related matters.

Find out the answers to the following questions.
Where are the First Aid Kits located?


Who is responsible for restocking the First Aid Kits?


Is there a supply of ice or ice pack in the freezer?


Is there a wheelchair on the premises? If so, where is it kept?


Who in your ministry team
[1] holds a current First Aid Certificate?

[2] or, is a qualified nurse?

[3] or, is a doctor?


Note: in children’s or youth ministry it is advisable for one person on each team to hold a current First Aid Certificate. This is also advisable in ministries to Seniors.

D.3 Emergency procedures
It is the responsibility of ministry team leaders to familiarise themselves with the Fire Evacuation Procedures of their church/organization, and to periodically inform and remind team members and activity participants of the evacuation procedures. Practice emergency evacuations are advised.

In today’s climate of terror alert, fire evacuation procedures also have reference to other possible emergencies: bomb threats, terror attacks, and so on.

Find out the answers to these questions. [Ideally, have a tour of the premises, identifying the position of fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire blankets, emergency exits, and assembly points, and find out how to activate the alarms, and use the extinguishers and blankets.]

Who is the fire warden/marshal for your church/organization?

Where are the fire alarms located?

Where are the fire extinguishers located?


Where are the fire blankets?


Where are the emergency exits?

What is the emergency evacuation procedure?


Where is the emergency assembly point for the ministry area in which you lead activities?