Thursday, March 31, 2011

Contracts: Why? and How? #3

What do you include in a church-preacher contract? Here is what was included with the last congregation where I was the regular preacher:
  1. Title.
  2. Purpose in the role.
  3. Specific responsibilities – the more detailed, the less chance for misunderstanding later. A good agreement is preventing conflict before it arises.
  4. Contract which includes days off, vacations, time away for meetings and other speaking appointments, other agreed activities outside the boundaries of the local congregation, and how much time should be given to terminate this agreement.
  5. Supplement to the contract which I hope will change each year due to salary adjustments. This is where salary, fringe benefits, and other important agreements are recorded. I like to differentiate between a cost-of-living adjustment and a merit raise. A cost-of-living adjustment just keeps me at the same level as I was last year. It is not a raise. A merit raise indicates I am doing better and am being recognized for that. I like to have the understanding that I don’t have to have a merit raise, but we have to talk about why I did or did not receive one. If I get it, why? If I didn’t get a merit raise, what could I do to get one on the future?
  6. Other agreements include items that are important to the relationship such as
    1. How will we relate to each other?
    2. As to meeting with the elders, will the preacher be permitted, required, or barred?
    3. Will moving expenses be provided? How much?
    4. How will we make changes to this agreement?
I have learned that contracts are not for dishonest people. Contracts are to preserve and protect agreements made by dead people and forgetful people.

…to be continued…

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