Church Board Meeting Rules

Church Board Meeting Rules: Top Rules To Implement For Your Next Meeting

Church leaders can implement a few key rules if you’re looking for ways to make your church board meetings more effective, efficient, and organized.


Following these simple tips ensures that your church meetings are productive and that important decisions are made promptly.


Here are the top church board meeting rules to follow.

Top Rules to Implement For Your Next Elder Board Meeting

1. Establish Agenda

Everyone’s time is valuable, from the Pastor to the board and church members. Each board meeting should have a well-organized and structured agenda to ensure meetings stay on task. Start by outlining your meeting agenda, highlighting the needed discussion points in advance, and providing the agenda to all parties before the meeting.


2. Comply With Bylaws

Bylaws are essentially a set of rules that must be followed within an organization or committee. They provide structure and guidance on how meetings should be conducted, how decisions should be made, and how other aspects of the organization should be handled.


Bylaws can help ensure that meetings are orderly and dignified and that all voices are heard. They help ensure that decisions are made equitably and fairly and help to ensure that the organization is run in accordance with the wishes of the majority.


Additionally, bylaws can help protect the rights of the minority and ensure that their opinions and views are adequately heard and considered in decision-making.


3. Follow the Procedure

Board meetings should be orderly, with established procedures and a general established process.


4. Have a Quorum

A quorum is the minimum number of members of an assembly or society that must be present at any of its meetings to make the proceedings valid. The quorum is vital for meetings because any votes taken or decisions made are null and void without it.


Quorum also ensures that the majority of the members are present and accounted for to ensure the legitimacy of the votes taken and decisions made. This helps to ensure that the organization can function efficiently and effectively and that all members’ voices are heard and their opinions respected.


5. Follow a Process

The meeting can be kept productive and efficient by assigning tasks to be carried out and setting deadlines. Before the end of each session, establish who is responsible for the specific duties and ensure someone is assigned to follow up on those tasks promptly.


6. Discuss Items

When establishing an agenda, ensure discussion items are established and followed. Following is a sample discussion item:


  1. Discuss Old Business: This includes any motions, debates, and votes that need to be discussed from the previous meeting.
  2. Discuss New Business: After discussing old business, move on to new business and current issues. This should include topics and reports provided by the Executive Director and Board Committees and any other topics members may bring to the meeting.
  3. Vote on Action Items: A critical part of the meeting is to vote on action items. The Executive Director and Board Committees will share past and current action items. Each of these items must be voted on and approved by the majority.
  4. Ask for Unfinished Business: At this point of the meeting, the presiding officer should ask if there is any other important matter or unfinished business before the meeting.
  5. Record Actions: Finally, record the actions taken at the meeting to ensure all tasks are completed. This can be done using board portal software such as iBabs.


7. Reach Decisions

Reaching decisions during meetings can help foster a sense of unity and ownership within the church. There are two primary methods to consider when attempting to come to a group decision which includes the following:


  1. Consensus decision-making is one approach to reaching decisions whereby group members all agree to support a decision for the best interest of the whole.
  2. Hybrid approaches, such as combining consensus and formal voting


8. Make Board Meeting Minutes

The purpose of making minutes for a meeting is to document what was discussed and decided at the meeting and to provide a written record of the proceedings for future reference. Minutes are an important tool for keeping track of discussions, decisions, and action items and providing transparency to members who could not attend the meeting.


Minutes should include the meeting date and time, attendees, amendments and votes, motions and approval of proposals, new business, election outcomes, action items, and the date and time of the next meeting. Minutes should be approved by the board members and stored safely, either digitally or physically.

Why Do You Need Church Board Meeting Rules?

Why Do You Need Church Board Meeting Rules?

1. To Achieve Order and Efficiency during Meetings


The church board meeting rules requirement helps achieve order and efficiency during meetings by providing a predetermined structure and guidelines. As defined by Robert’s Rules of Order, the order of business helps to ensure that all topics are addressed correctly and that any unfinished business from previous meetings is discussed before any new business is brought up.


Additionally, having a predetermined meeting length and start and end times helps to ensure that the meetings are conducted promptly, thereby increasing efficiency. Providing standard rules and procedures for deliberation and debate helps to place the whole membership on the same playing field and speak the same language, which further helps to ensure efficient meetings.


2. To Establish Guidelines for How Votes are Conducted and Decided


Establishing church board meeting rules helps to ensure fairness and order during deliberations and debates, allowing all members to participate on an equal footing.


3. To Encourage Constructive Discourse among Board Members


Conducting board meetings by following parliamentary procedures and focusing on issues rather than personalities helps to encourage constructive discourse among board members. When board members are aware of the rules of engagement and the focus is kept on the issues at hand, it creates an environment where members can genuinely discuss and debate important topics without fear of personal attacks or feelings of animosity.


4. To Help the Board Comply with State Laws and Regulations


Having board meeting rules helps the church comply with state laws and regulations by providing structure and guidance that must be followed when making decisions. Following a set of rules, the board can document its findings and ensure they meet the required standards.


5. To Ensure that Board Meetings are Fair and Transparent


Ensuring that church board meetings are fair and transparent helps to promote trust and understanding among board members. Fairness and transparency in discussions provide an open platform for board members to voice their opinions and be heard so that all members can reach a consensus when making decisions.


6. To Help the Board Remain Effective and Responsible


Having clear board meeting rules is vital in helping church boards work effectively. Board members must know their responsibilities and understand what is expected during meetings.


7. To Help the Board Maintain High Standards of Professionalism


Having a set of rules for church board meetings helps maintain high standards of professionalism for board members by ensuring all discussions are focused on the topics at hand and that members can express their opinions without fear of judgment or retaliation.


8. To Help the Board Create a Safe and Constructive Environment


The purpose of having church board meeting rules is to ensure that meetings are productive, organized, and run smoothly. These rules provide structure and a framework for board members’ meeting conduct.


They should also provide a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of each board member, as well as clearly outline the agenda for each meeting. Having clear rules in place will help to reduce tension and conflict, promote open communication, and foster a sense of unity and trust.


Additionally, having well-defined board meeting rules will help protect the church from potential legal issues and help keep the board compliant with applicable laws.

Frequent asked questions faq

What is Robert’s Rules of Order cheat sheet for churches?


Robert’s Rules of Order Cheat Sheet for Churches is a concise reference guide outlining the essential components of Robert’s Rules of Order, a standard set of parliamentary procedures applicable to meetings of groups, organizations, and governing bodies. This cheat sheet is specifically designed for churches and religious organizations to offer a framework for conducting meetings in an orderly and efficient manner. The guide covers a range of topics, including:


  • The Role of the Chairperson
  • How to create and amend agendas
  • Appropriate procedures for making motions
  • The order in which business should be transacted
  • Guidelines for voting and nominating individuals for positions of leadership.


By following these guidelines, churches can ensure that they conduct meetings fairly and productively, allowing for effective decision-making and resolution of issues. 


What is the purpose of having an agenda for a church board meeting?


An agenda for a church board meeting is to provide the board members with a clear plan of action and a list of topics that need to be discussed or acted upon. An agenda should include the last meeting’s minutes, budgets, and issues that the Executive Director and Board Committees need to discuss.


How do you create a church bylaws document?


Creating a church bylaws document is an essential part of establishing a church. By establishing your 501(c)(3) status and your church’s governing rules, you can ensure that your church stays legally compliant and adheres to your organization’s values. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a church bylaws document:


  1. Gather the necessary members: The church board and other knowledgeable and involved members should create a bylaws document.
  2. Define the purpose of the church: The first step in creating a church bylaws document is to define the purpose and mission of the church clearly. This will ensure that all the church’s values and goals align with the bylaws.
  3. Define the church’s authority: The church bylaws should also define the church’s authority, such as the board of directors, officers, and other members. It should also include rules for electing and appointing officers, as well as rules for making decisions.
  4. Create the rules for the meetings: The bylaws should include the necessary procedures for holding meetings, such as how often meetings should be held and how many members are required to attend.
  5. Establish other rules and regulations: The bylaws should also include additional rules and regulations that will be enforced in the church, such as how members should conduct themselves and handle disciplinary matters.
  6. Have the document reviewed: Before the bylaws become official, a lawyer must review the document to ensure that all the necessary rules and regulations are in place and that all legal requirements are met.
  7. Ratify the document: Once the document has been reviewed and approved, the church board should vote to approve and ratify the bylaws.

By following these steps for creating a church bylaws document, you can ensure that your church is legally compliant and adheres to its values and goals.


What is a quorum at a church board meeting?


A quorum at a church board meeting is the minimum number of members of the assembly or society that must be present for the proceedings to be valid. This number is typically specified in the church’s bylaws and should be established during a roll call vote.


How do you amend a church bylaw?


Amending a church bylaw is a process that should be completed carefully to ensure the changes reflect the church’s current values and beliefs. The following step-by-step instructions will guide you through amending a church bylaw:


  1. Ensure you have the necessary authority. Before changing your church’s bylaws, you must ensure you have the appropriate authority. This means verifying who has the power to create, alter, or repeal your church’s bylaws.
  2. Draft the proposed amendment. Once you have the authority to amend the bylaw, the next step is to draft the proposed amendment. It must spell out the new language or changes being made and should be written in a way that is easy to understand.
  3. Submit the proposed amendment for review. After you have drafted the proposed amendment, it should be submitted for review. This means that the amendment must be voted on by the church board, and in some cases, by the church’s members.
  4. Hold a vote to approve the amendment. Once the proposed amendment has been reviewed, it will go to a vote. The vote must be held at a properly scheduled church business meeting, and the amendment must pass by a majority vote.
  5. Document the amendment in writing. Finally, the modification must be documented in a report and signed by the appropriate members or officers. This documentation should be kept on file for future reference.


How do you ensure unity at a church board meeting?


As board members come together with different backgrounds, opinions, and experiences, it can be challenging to maintain a spirit of oneness when discussing crucial matters. Thus, it is essential to establish and maintain a set of guidelines that promote unity and respect during meetings.


  1. Establish clear objectives for each meeting. This will help everyone focus on what needs to be accomplished and avoid getting sidetracked by unrelated issues. 
  2. Appointing a meeting facilitator who remains unbiased and mediates discussions would go a long way in promoting unity at meetings.
  3. Active listening among board members. Each board member should listen to others respectfully and attentively without interrupting or dismissing their opinions.
  4. Open Communication. Board members should communicate with each other regularly outside of formal meetings to foster relationships and a sense of community. 
  5. Maintaining a prayerful attitude and focus on God’s vision for the church would go a long way in promoting unity at meetings. 

Church Property Insurance Agent

Integrity Now Insurance Brokers works with religious organizations throughout the U.S.  As board members, it is vital to maintain the proper church insurance coverage and ensure you are not overpaying.


Churches face many legal issues, as is evident by some of the top search queries we see on topics related to “Can you sue a church for emotional distress” and “Can you sue a church.”  In the past 3 months, we have seen hundreds of people visiting our website looking for this answer.


Churches must obtain some of the following coverages to protect themselves from lawsuits includes general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, business auto insurance, directors and officers insurance, abuse and molestation insurance, employment practice liability insurance, and religious expression insurance.


Our church insurance agents are here to help you obtain a small church insurance program that meets your budget and church insurance needs.  


Contact one of our licensed church insurance consults today and request a church property insurance quote.

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