Five Documents That Say Something About Your Church

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By: Chuck Lawless

We can learn a lot about a church by reviewing its written documents. I encourage you to evaluate your own congregation based on these documents.

1. By-laws. The by-laws of a church typically speak to day-to-day operations and are often more easily changed than a church’s constitution. Quite often, by-law amendments such as these examples tell us something about the church’s history.

  • Any former member who re-joins ___________ Church may not vote in a business meeting and may not serve in a leadership role for a minimum of six months after joining the church.
  • Worship services at ____________ Church may take place only on Sunday.
  • Persons who serve as administrative assistants at __________ Church may not be members of the church at the same time.

Whether or not you agree with these by-law amendments, what do you suppose had happened in the history of these congregations?

2. Calendar. A church’s calendar gives some indication of a congregation’s priorities. Take a look at your church’s calendar, and consider these questions:

  • What percentage of activities focuses only on meeting the needs of church members?
  • What percentage is intentionally and clearly directed toward reaching unbelievers and unchurched folks in the community?
  • If members were to attend everything offered (or even a particular percentage of the events), would they have time to focus on raising families and reaching friends and neighbors?

3. Budget. Likewise, a church’s budget illustrates what the…

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