Where do written policies come into play in a people-centric, relational organization? How can we say we believe in the integrity of each individual person, and then have blanket policies that are expected to cover such a variety of persons and circumstances? Is it possible for policies and procedures to be for the good of the people? I think the answer is yes.
Manuals and policies are important. They are not fun. But they are important. They are in fact honoring to people. So often, we think that policies dehumanize us. That is in fact not true. Policies allow for clear expectations on all sides. This is actually honoring to the other. It affirms their humanity. All policies can be flexed based on need. But to not have a policy, and to be constantly taking everything on a case by case basis sets you up for failure from the get go. Folks will come to you with some unreasonable expectations.
People usually don’t look to policies until the need arises, and usually, it is during a charged time. When the policy has been made prior to the event in question, for one, it makes it known that this event is one that is within the realm of normalcy. Everyone leaves a job at some point or another. Have a leave policy. Let it be known, this is what we do when you leave. If your church is able to do more, and finds it appropriate in the situation, then do it! That’s fine. But to not have a policy is foolishness. Additionally, if the policy is made in advance, the understanding is there before the event, that this is the expectations on the church’s end. They are pre-stated and not based on emotions of the current circumstance.
What if I told you that there once was a mother who expected her children to pick up their clothes and put them in the laundry each night or she would not read them a story before bed. You might say, OK, maybe that’s fair. But what if I told you, that mother never told her children of her expectations. Yet, she continues to refuse to read them a bedtime story? You would say that’s unreasonable. Yet, so often, this is what we do. We have expectations, but they are not spelled out and everyone loses.