Being a church trustee board member is governed by both state law and the constitution and by-laws of the church on whose board of trustees you are interested in serving. Typically, state law will prescribe the least and maximum number of trustees that a church may have on its board of trustees. Serving on a church board of trustees is a serious responsibility, as the trustees must give account for all the assets of the church as well as its finances.
Check the constitution and by-laws of the church to determine when the members of the board of trustees are elected as well as the qualifications and the manner of election. Most churches provide that the trustees are elected by the church membership at a regularly scheduled annual membership meeting.
After you determine that you meet the qualifications required of a member of the board of trustees, check with the pastor and chairperson of the board to see which members are up for re-election and which ones are relinquishing their place on the board. You have a greater chance of being elected to a vacant slot than attempting to replace someone who is already serving on the board.
Depending on the customs and protocol of your church, work hard in a dignified manner to get elected. Your best strategy will be personal visits to members' homes and telephone calls. You will be surprised how many members of churches are taken for granted and seldom are asked in advance to vote for someone seeking a church office.
Once elected, you will want to attend meetings regularly and take an active role in discussions and votes. Do not hesitate to ask questions and request documentation where appropriate. Do not just take the minister's word. Demand documentation.
Get to know your fellow board members and spend quality time with them so that you can form a cordial relationship with them. Be sure to study matters coming before the board in advance so you will be knowledgeable of just what it is you are being asked to vote on.
- You can be held personally liable for bad decisions made by the board of trustees, so you want to make sure that written minutes are taken of all board meetings and that any 'no' votes by you are recorded in the minutes. It is also a must that your church carry some form of trustees indemnity insurance to cover any monies you may be ordered to pay as a result of your being a trustee of the church. Of course, the church cannot indemnify you for losses caused by intentional misconduct.
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