Along with the preaching of the Gospel and the distribution of the sacraments, pastors and congregations must also make sure that they stay on top of parish administration matters. Here you will find resources to help your congregation and its leaders manage church operations.
Congregational Constitutions, Bylaws, And Governance
From time to time congregations may feel that it is necessary to update their constitutions and/or bylaws. This can be a complex and time-consuming process. The bylaws of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod lay out the process for congregations to revise their constitution and/or bylaws:
2.4 Continued Eligibility of Congregations
2.4 Continued Eligibility of Congregations
2.4.1 A congregation desiring to retain membership in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod shall continue to have a constitution and bylaws approved by the Synod.
(a) A member congregation which desires to revise its constitution and/or bylaws shall, as a condition of continued eligibility as a member of the Synod, submit to a proposed revised constitution and/or revised bylaws to the district president.
(b) The district president shall refer such to the district constitution committee for review to ascertain that the provisions are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures, the Confessions, and the teachings and practices of the Synod.
(c) Upon advice of the constitution committee and recommendation by the district president, the district board of directors shall determine if the changes are acceptable to the Synod.
(d) Upon favorable action by the district board of directors, the congregation shall be notified that the changes are acceptable to the Synod, and the congregation may proceed with formal adoption of the revised constitution and/or bylaws and remain a member in good standing of the Synod.
(e) Upon formal adoption of the proposed revised constitution and/or bylaws, the congregation shall provide to the district a dated copy of the action taken, accompanied by a copy of the dated revised constitution and/or bylaws.
(f) Until a congregation formally adopts a revised constitution and/or bylaws using this process, the Synod chall consider the existing constitutions and bylaws to be in effect for all purposes.
2.4.2 A copy of the signed constitution shall be forwarded to the secretary of the district. Acceptance by the district board of directors shall be reported to the next regularly scheduled convention of the district.
Congregations considering revising or updating their constitutions and/or bylaws are highly encouraged to make use of the “Congregational Constitution and Bylaws Guidelines” prepared by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Commission on Constitutional Matters.
Managing a congregation’s finances can sometimes be a difficult task. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has put together some resources to help the congregational treasurer with IRS matters, financial reporting, accounting, and many other issues.
In addition to the above resources, other help can be found for financial matters such as housing allowance, minister taxes, business expenses, payroll, and accounting on the LCMS website.
Congregational Personnel Matters
In addition to professional church workers, congregations also employ others to assist in the work of the congregation. There are resources available to assist congregations in their employment matters.
Parishes may wish to enter into agreements with their professional church workers for the use of the parsonage or for financial lending. The District is able to provide sample agreements and counsel to aid parishes in creating these agreements.
Parishes may desire to have an agreement with the pastor regarding the use and upkeep of the parsonage. This sample agreement will help congregations draft their own parsonage use and upkeep agreement.
Parishes wishing to enter into financial lending agreements with their professional church worker (for the purchase of a new car, pay off student loans, debt reduction, etc.) are encouraged to contact the District Office for assistance in preparing these types of lending agreements.
The President of the Synod requested the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) to prepare guidelines for Communion statements for congregational, district, and synodical use. This document will provide guidance to pastors and congregations for formulating a communion statement for use in their congregation’s bulletin or in whatever means they use for people to declare their intention to receive the Lord’s Supper.
Marriage Policies For Lcms Congregations
All LCMS member congregations are highly encouraged to establish marriage policies and guidelines for their congregation. The “Information on Marriage Policies for LCMS Member Congregations,” prepared by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, will provide helpful direction as well as a sample marriage policy and sample facility use policy for your congregation
Facility Use Policies
All LCMS member congregations are highly encouraged to establish policies and guidelines for the use of their buildings and facilities. Facility Use Policies are designed to protect congregations from being required to open their facilities for use by those who do not align or agree with the congregation’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has partnered with Alliance Defending Freedom to give guidance to congregations wishing to draft a Facility Use Policy. In “Protecting Your Ministry” you will find a sample Facility Use Policy to help your congregation craft its own policy for use of its facilities. Protecting Your Ministry
Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company provides ministries with a “Facility Use Continuum” to help them craft a Facility Use Policy that will reduce the risk of lawsuits.
Concordia Plan Services
Concordia Plan Services manage the Concordia Health Plan, Retirement Plan, Disability and Maternity Plan, and Life and Loss Plan.
Concordia Plan Services has assigned an Employee Resources Specialist who is prepared to answer all of your questions about your specific plans and policies.
Erica Villmer, Employee Resources Specialist
Concordia Plans has assigned a Consultant who is prepared to answer all of your general questions about each of the different plans that Concordia Plan Services offers.
Vincent Grochow, Account Manager
Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports Christians by funding legal cases, training attorneys, and advocating for religious freedom in court. Alliance Defending Freedom is a strong defender of religious liberty, sanctity of life, and marriage and family. They provide helpful resources to Christians and congregations to educate and inform themselves of their First Amendment right to religious liberty.