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Q&A: Should Policies and Procedures Be Separate Documents?

A church business manager shares best practices learned through the process.

I’m working on a policies and procedures manual for my church. It has grown to 28 pages, and I expect it will get longer. Would it be better to have separate documents—one for policies and one for procedures—or should everything be kept in a single document? Also, what else should we consider when developing policies and procedures for our church?

We went through this process a number of years ago and settled on the following best practices that may prove helpful to you.

Policies and procedures are separate documents

We decided to create two separate documents, but one references the other.

There were three reasons for doing this:

  1. Church boards should be focused on policies and not on writing and monitoring procedures for policies. This helps board members stay focused on the broader area of church governance without burdening them with step-by-step procedural matters.
  2. Procedures typically change much more often than policies, and they should. System, organizational, and other changes may trigger the need to rework procedures within a church. Procedures are best kept up to date by staff using some formal review and approval methodology to ensure they stay true to policy and operational standards.

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  • November 11, 2019

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