“Hey Fletch” on Policy

From around the globe, people tune in on Fletch’s warm and sound advice. He’s a friend and “church doctor,” bringing an objective perspective, broad knowledge and vast experience. Your question will get a personal reply from Fletch.

Church Wants Privacy Apps on Personal Devices

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Hey Fletch … I am trying to find information about the legalities of requiring our church staff to install software on cell phones and laptops such as Covenant Eyes. We reimburse $100/month for personal cell-phone. I appreciate any help you can provide.

DRF—If the computer is wholly owned by the church, I don’t think that there is any problem installing such software. The church owns it and can dictate the terms of the […]

Oops, Needed a Bonfire Permit

Friday, January 18, 2019

Hey Fletch … One of our youth pastors asked his campus pastor if he could have a bonfire at an event on their campus. The campus pastor granted permission. Neither of them realized there is a law that requires them to get a burn permit from the city. Someone showed up and ticketed our youth pastor for the violation. The campus pastor made me aware and asked permission to reimburse the youth […]

When Do We Need Commercial Licenses for Vehicles?

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Hey Fletch … We use vans in our church. Do we need a commercial license for the drivers?

DRF—Lots of churches use vans. It used to be that the 15 passenger van was king. Due to safety reasons, you don’t want to be driving that van. 

To get to your question, what is the largest vehicle you can drive without a special license? Frank Sommerville notes:

The 15-passenger van is so popular […]

Facility Use Policies

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hey Fletch … I could not find anything on Facility Use policies on XPastor. Can you direct me to some templates?

DRF—We have some facility policies on XPastor. Check out this page on XPastor. It is not our speciality, though.

I would also recommend Church Facilities Management Solutions. Tim Cool hosts this site and it is devoted to that topic. You need to register for free access. Let me ask Tim to […]

Use of Movies and Trademarked Images in Church

Monday, November 26, 2018

Hey Fletch … This may not be in your wheelhouse but I know you have a lot of experience and knowledge! We are doing Christmas at the Movies this year. When it comes to licensing and copyrights, I’m not too concerned about the Sunday morning elements. We have licensing that would cover us and I believe most would be Fair Use. What about graphics? Although I’ve seen other large churches do this […]

Overtime for an Administrative Assistant on a Retreat 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Hey Fletch … We have a full-time youth pastor and a part-time youth administrative assistant. We have a youth retreat coming up and we are trying to figure out how to pay or not pay for our PT admin to go on the retreat. What are the laws and best practices for PT workers at camps and retreats?

DRF— This is a humdinger of a question and a challenging topic. Your employee is […]

Announcements for Benevolence Offerings

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Announcements for Benevolence Offerings

Hey Fletch … I read the recent “Hey Fletch” column about the benevolence offering for the woman with cancer. I get that donations cannot be earmarked for a specific person. How should we do announcements when there is a need like the lady with cancer?

DRF—There are two principles that were applied in an IRS private letter ruling:

  • The organization must have full control of all donations.
  • No donation […]

Renting Office Space to a Marriage Counselor

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hey Fletch … A licensed professional marriage counselor who attends our church wants to rent a room so he can see clients in a location that is on the opposite side of town from his office. Is this an acceptable practice for us as church? He would be getting office space for a token room rental charge far below the going rate for office space in our city. Also, thanks for your […]

Policy on Allegations of Staff Misconduct

Monday, October 15, 2018

Hey Fletch … I am doing research to update our policy manual and personnel handbook. What policies can you point me to that pertain to allegations toward a staff person about physical, verbal or safety improprieties?

DRF—What a week to get this question! Bill Cosby was sentenced and Brett Kavanaugh was in the Senate confirmation hearings. You are hitting a challenging issue in America today.

Here are some resources on XPastor that may be […]

Spouse of Staff Member Wants an Office

Friday, August 24, 2018

Hey Fletch … I am the XP at a restart church. We have made staff and organizational changes in order to reach our community for Jesus Christ. We just hired a staff member whose spouse works with a parachurch organization. She is requesting an office at the church. I have a number of concerns about giving her an office, such as nepotism, favoritism, and Workers’ Compensation issues. 

It appears that I am […]

Mandated Reporting of Sexual Abuse

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’ve been reading in the “Hey Fletch” columns about sexual abuse. Normally I think of that as between an adult and a minor. What about sexual activity between two minors? What if that happens on church property? Do I need to report it? Is our church a mandated reporter when two minors are involved?

DRF—You are asking a question with enormous legal implications. Pastors are mandated reporters when a crime […]

What Is Grooming in Sexual Abuse?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Hey Fletch … In the area of sexual abuse, I heard the term “grooming.” What does this mean?

DRF—That term took me aback when I first heard it. I’m not an expert in this area, so let me call on someone who is. Gregory Love is a nationally-noted attorney who deals with sexual abuse and its prevention. Let me also mention the Sexual Abuse Summit that Greg and Kimberlee host.

Greg—“What is grooming?” […]

Emergency Response Plan

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hey Fletch … Can you review our Emergency Response Plan? We are struggling with how to address three main issues: suicide prevention, an active shooter and fire.

DRF— In that question, you have some big fish to fry. Or, as we would say in Texas, “that’s a big herd to roundup.”

You have a great focus in your Emergency Response Systems. Your team has done a ton of work. Hopefully it will never need […]

Do I Need to Register for XPastor Articles?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Hey Fletch …Good day! There seems to be a technical glitch in signing up to your awesome website. When wanting to register, it keeps bringing up an error, as if you were trying to login and had an account already, so I’m unable to register.

DRF—Thanks for your interest in XPastor. There is no need to register in order to view the free articles on our site. The registration is for events—our annual XP-Seminar, […]

Legal Issues with Songs on a Church Website

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Hey Fletch … We live-stream our worship service and also have some recorded worship songs on our website. Someone asked me if that is legal. Thoughts?

DRF—That is a huge can of worms. Actually it is two cans worth. The first issue is live-streaming your worship and the second is recorded songs on your website. 

You will want to get this one right, otherwise the penalties can be stiff. There is an organization […]

Urgency Mode in Email

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hey Fletch … I have a grid of how staff can send me emails to get my attention. I created a four-part numbering system. This lets me immediately know how important their item is. Thoughts?

DRF—I like the grid in your email. Remember though, most people can process and use three levels of expectations. Four levels pushes the envelope on what people can remember and use. 

You want people to signify an ‘urgency […]

Emergency Preparedness For Churches

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Hey Fletch … I used this XPastor.org article for doing research on a plan for our church: ‘Emergency Preparedness For Churches.’ Can you expand on the ideas?

DRF—This is a hot topic right now. I so enjoy the perspective of the two brothers who wrote the article. One was an FBI agent and became a Police Captain. The other is a Police Lieutenant. This is an insider’s view of the issues.

You may […]

Concealed Guns in California Churches

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hey Fletch … Is it legal in California to have a concealed gun in a church with permission from the church leaders? Is it different with or without a CCW?

DRF—You are hitting a hot topic here. Here is an article to read: Concealed Carry in Churches. It contains a chart of the states where it is legal to carry a gun with a concealed weapon permit … and California is in […]

Who Can Use Our Buildings?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hey Fletch … We’re re-working our policies that deal with who can use our facility, how often, what to charge, if anything. It’s partially a stewardship issue, but also the common perception is that opening up our facility to the community is a good evangelistic tool. The thinking is, the more you can get unchurched people into your building, the more likely they are to attend a service. Do you believe that’s […]

Passwords, Computers and Security

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Hey Fletch … I can’t log into XPastor to get the stuff that I purchased. Can you help?

DRF—Many of us have several email addresses, such as church, personal and family. It looks like you are trying to log-in with a different email address. We will reset your password and email it to you.

Isn’t this a bane in the communications world? Passwords and log-in IDs! I would suggest that you use a good […]

Cancel an Obligation for an Exciting Invitation?

February 14, 2018

Hey Doc … This is a big one. I have some obligations next week at church and they can’t be moved. But now I just received an exciting out-of-town invitation with an important person in our church. What should I do?

DRF—Jesus said, “ἔστω δὲ ὁ λόγος ὑμῶν ναὶ ναί, οὒ οὔ.” I’m giving you Matthew 5:37 in Greek because the truth it is like a foreign truth to us. The translation is: “Let […]

When You Leave, Don’t Burn Bridges

February 13, 2018

Hey David … When you recently moved on from your church, you sent out a “keeping you in the loop” email. It was short, factual, upbeat and didn’t throw anyone under the bus. Just wanted to let you know that yesterday I changed jobs (in business) and that I followed your lead.

DRF—Thanks for the encouragement! Emulation is the highest form of praise. When you leave a ministry or business job, don’t burn bridges. […]

No Response to Emails

February 9, 2018

Hey Fletch … Some of our junior staff are terrible at responding to emails. They say, “our generation likes texts.” One staff member took a month to get me his annual review.

DRF—Well, you could see how fast they respond to an email about a possible raise … milliseconds perhaps? Consider that if they are not responding to you, how will a parent feel about an youth group emergency. Email is the primary means […]

Cell Phone Policy

January 19, 2018

Hey David … I’m working on our church’s cell phone policy and wondering if you have any resources that address that?

DRF—Here is some policy thoughts on that: “Cell phones are a part of our personal and professional lives. There are issues regarding safety, security and privacy. Mute your phone within the office. Don’t take calls during meetings, unless it is a personal or ministry emergency. Keep personal texting to a minimum during the […]

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