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Welcome to membership on the local Seventh-day Adventist church board. You have accepted an important responsibility. This board has been charged by the members of the local Seventh-day Adventist church with the operation of the church.
With such an important responsibility, persons selected must individually portray in their personal and corporate life qualities of spirituality, fairness and good judgment. You have been chosen because your church believes you exemplify these qualities.
As you begin functioning as a member of the church board, you should know that your church assumes:
Suggestions for Effectiveness
Dr. Firth is quite firm, and some even say he is being too hard. However, consider the problem should a board member tell others: “I’m sorry the board decided the way they did. I certainly don’t agree and didn’t vote that way.”
Immediately the board member has set him or herself up against the board. Loyalty involves support even though it may not have been your first choice for the board to vote the way it did.
Attendance is very important at all board meetings. At times there will be valid reasons why you cannot attend. If that is the case, please notify the secretary or board chairperson. Board members must realize the importance of attendance and try their best to be present at each meeting. If you are absent without notification for three consecutive meetings the board may vote to replace you.
Notice of Meetings
You will receive a notice of the next meeting one to four weeks in advance. At its first board meeting the board itself should establish a particular day of the month, such as the first Tuesday or second Thursday, when the board will meet—unless a different date is voted at one board meeting for the next board meeting.
Minutes of each church board meeting will be sent to you by mail or email, or passed out at the next meeting. You should obtain a notebook or folder for the pur- pose of keeping your own minutes. At times the minutes will contain privileged information, so keep this book of minutes for your eyes only. The board also needs to ensure that official minutes of each meeting or subcommittee are kept in a secure location.
A part of the work of the church board involves money. At each meeting the board usually goes through the financial statement, presented by the church treasurer. At first the statement may seem strange and unfriendly unless you have an accounting background. In time, the statement will begin to make sense and you will be able to plot the financial course of the church.
Conflict of Interest
Even though most board members are not employees of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, every board member must avoid any conflict of interest that would result in personal favor or gain. An example of a conflict of interest would be encouraging and voting for the church to purchase a product or service from which you would profit, or voting for the church to discard or sell something below market value that you might acquire and use to your advantage. Board members are held to a higher standard of conduct. After reading the North American Division Policy Statement on conflict of interest, each board member must complete and sign a conflict of interest statement.
The local Seventh-day Adventist church operates in harmony with the policies of the latest edition of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual. Every church board member should have access to the manual and be familiar with its policies. Many of the recommendations of the Church Manual leave considerable room for local church application and interpretation, and occasionally the church board may vote to depart from a recommendation of the manual on minor matters. But when there is no clear consensus among board members that a variance is within the spirit of the manual, the Church Manual’s recommendations will be followed. The local Seventh-day Adventist church is a part of the local conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and as such, operates in harmony with the policies of the conference. The local church’s real property, the church building and all church equipment and furnishings, are held in the name of the local Association of Seventh-day Adventists. The conference and the Association are, in turn, governed by the local conference constituency, of which the members of the local Seventh-day Adventist church are members.
A major function of the church board is to evaluate the programs of the church. The board will review programs that are proving ineffective and seek solutions. Those that continue to be ineffective will be discarded, while those proving effective will be encouraged and expanded. It is also the responsibility of the church board to see areas of need and suggest and implement programs that will meet those needs.
In the final analysis, it is your responsibility as a board member to review all operations of the local Seventh-day Adventist church board and to act on behalf of all the members. Given such an important assignment, your dedication to the church and this position is extremely important. As you vote on issues that affect this church and its personnel and all of its outreach, please do so knowing that the Holy Spirit is beside you ready to guide you.
Responsibilities in the Local Church. North American Division Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists. Copyright © 1997, Revised 2017. Permission to copy for local church use.