XPastor tries to help churches by providing some of the essentials for running a church—items like job descriptions, employment applications, review forms and policies. Below is the Employee Manual of Northwest Bible Church of Dallas, Texas from November, 2000.
Welcome to the staff of Northwest Bible Church. You are important to the overall mission of the Church, and we trust that you will find your employment both pleasant and rewarding.
The purpose of this Personnel Manual is to:
- Establish and maintain a uniform system for managing personnel matters.
- Comply with applicable employment laws.
- Provide the standards, terms, and conditions of employment with Northwest Bible Church.
It is further intended, by adoption and periodic amendment of these policies and procedures, that this Manual will serve as a guide for Northwest Bible Church employees in their routine work activities and relationships. Serving as an employee of a church is in many ways unique from other types of employment. While the benefits and responsibilities outlined in this handbook are common to most occupations, there are added elements in a church setting. Employees are expected to live and conduct themselves in a manner pleasing to our Lord. This expectation creates a work environment that is void of the language, jokes, ridicule of Christianity, etc. that is common in many work settings. We believe it makes Northwest Bible Church a nicer place to work.
The church and all its employees recognize that all employees are hired at-will, meaning that they may quit their jobs at any time, for any reason. Similarly Northwest Bible Church may conclude a relationship at any time, for any reason. All terms and conditions expressed in this Personnel Manual are for informational purposes only and are not to be understood or construed to constitute contractual terms and conditions of employment. The Church reserves the right to modify this Personnel Manual at any time and may modify and amend any and all terms and conditions of employment as the Church deems appropriate. We hope that you will be pleased with the benefits and responsibilities outlined in this handbook, and that your employment here will be long and fulfilling.
Authority of the Policy
The policies contained in this Manual have been approved by the Elder Board and carry the full authority of Northwest Bible Church. All staff members, in all situations, will follow them. The Senior Pastor or Executive Pastor must approve any variations from these policies.
Administration of the Policy
Any questions regarding the carrying out of these policies will be referred to the Human Resources Assistant. The policy interpretation of the Human Resources Assistant, in consultation with the Minister of Administration, will be considered final.
How You Were Selected
You were selected to work as a member of the staff because you had indicated an interest in employment here, you have the skills necessary for your particular job, and both you and those responsible for hiring sought God’s leadership in your selection. The Church seeks to employ the best-qualified candidates for existing vacancies. An effort is made to seek out those employees who have had good work performances in previous jobs and are conscientious and apply themselves in their work. Your attitude and spirit at work are vitally important.
The Founding Years—In January of 1951, a small group of families, with S. Lewis Johnson as pastor, began meeting together as the Independent Presbyterian Church of Dallas. During the founding years, our church had three pastors: S. Lewis Johnson (1951-1954), Robert Ferguson (1954-1957), and John McComb (1959-1965). During the interim, prior to the call of Pastor McComb, both Dr. Howard Hendricks and Dr. Don Campbell served as interim pastor. Under the leadership of these men, the congregation grew to a size of 250 members. Portions of the present property were obtained in 1953 and 1962. The current Chapel building was constructed in 1955. In 1954, the church’s Doctrinal Statement was modified and simplified from the original Westminster Confession. Infant baptism was no longer required. We believe that by water baptism a believer is publicly identified with his Savior; that the mode should be a matter of the individual’s choice; and that infants of believing parents may be dedicated to the Lord, but not baptized. The church’s name was changed in 1955 to Northwest Presbyterian Church (Unaffiliated). In 1958, the church began a missions program by supporting George and Dora Winston in Belgium, Helen McKinney in Honduras, and Walden Howard in the United States. Northwest Presbyterian experienced another transition when, after a six-year pastorate, a portion of the congregation left with Pastor McComb to form a splinter congregation. Lou Schneider was called in 1966 to serve as pastor.
The Transition Years (1996-1974)—Under the ministry of Pastor Schneider, the congregation and ministry grew from an average attendance of 150 to over 650. The refurbishing of the Chapel building in 1970 and the construction of the CE Building and Gym in 1973 enabled larger numbers to gather for worship and instruction. With the growth came expansion of staff and ministries. In February of 1967, the church adopted the Faith Promise Plan as its approach to raising missions support. The favorable response of the body enabled an increasing outreach through the NBC missionary family. In March of 1971, our church’s name was changed to Northwest Bible Church. Pastor Jim Rose was called in August of 1975 to fill the vacancy left by Pastor Schneider’s resignation.
The Growth Years (1975-Present)—Over the past years, NBC has experienced growth on many fronts. The size of the congregation has expanded from 650 to its present size of an average of 1,800 in the two worship services. The ministries of NBC under Pastor Rose (1975-1987), Pastor Yohn (1989-1990), and Pastor Clark (1992-1998), Neil Tomba (2001- present) have greatly expanded both within the body and in outreach to our community.
Our missions family has grown to 57 missionary families serving in 23 countries around the world. The physical size of the campus has expanded to meet the demands of ministry with the addition of an auditorium in 1978, a Family Life Center in 1989 and the opening of a new Worship Center and a Preschool Building in the summer of 1998.
Employment Policies Equal Opportunity
Northwest Bible Church’s employment policy is to provide equal employment opportunity for non-ministerial positions to all qualified employees and applicants without regard to race, color, sex, age, or national origin. Ministers may be single, married, or divorced, male or female. Pastors must be male, married or single, and meet the biblical classification of the Elder. It is the desire of the Church that all employees are committed Christians, and this commitment is required for most positions. All employees with a “high level” of public contact (ministerial, professional, administrative, secretarial, and clerical positions) must be in agreement with the Church Doctrinal Statement and must indicate that agreement in writing annually.
Definitions of Employment Status
Full-time—Full-time employees work 30 hours or more per week. Only full-time employees are entitled to benefits of the Church, as outlined in the Benefits section.
Part-time—these employees regularly work less than 30 hours per week.
Exempt (salaried employees)—these employees are paid a fixed dollar amount per pay period and are not hired for specific hours.
Non-Exempt—these employees are paid for specific hours worked. They are paid hourly for actual time worked and compensated for extra time worked.
Classification of Staff
The staff is classified according to the following categories: Ministerial Staff are exempt employees hired as official “Ministers” and “Pastors” of Northwest Bible Church and given the title “Minister” or “Pastor.” Support Staff are all non-ministerial employees. They include six categories:
1. Custodial Support Staff consists of the staff who keeps the facilities clean and ready for church functions.
2. Food Service Support Staff is made up of those who prepare meals and clean the kitchen facilities for church functions.
3. Maintenance Support Staff includes those persons who assist in keeping equipment working properly.
4. Office Support Staff maintains the support functions of the administration, education, music, pastoral, and media ministries of the church.
5. Security Support Staff is responsible for the safety of those attending functions in the church buildings. This staff is responsible for securing the buildings when they are open for meetings.
6. Seminary Intern Staff consists of those persons attending seminary and working part- time. These staff are supervised by their respective department head.
Generally, staff meetings are held every Wednesday of each month for Ministerial Staff. Part time Ministers are required to be present at the meetings on a rotating schedule. An all-staff luncheon is generally held the third Tuesday of each month. Attendance at the appropriate meetings is required of all full-time employees and encouraged for part-time employees.
Introduction Period for New Employees
The introductory period for new employees lasts up to 90 days from date of hire. During this time, you have your first opportunity to evaluate the Church as a place to work, and your supervisor has the first opportunity to evaluate you as an employee. As during your regular employment, you and the Church each have the right to terminate employment without advance notice and without cause. The introductory period involves frequent evaluation of performance. Upon satisfactory completion of the introductory period, you will become a regular employee. All staff members, regardless of classification, status, or length of service, are expected to meet and maintain church standards for job performance and behavior.
Important events in each employee’s history with the Church will be recorded and kept in the employee’s personnel file. Applications for employment, employment tests, salary information, performance reviews, change of status records, commendations, and corrective action warnings are examples of records maintained. Information contained in an employee’s or former employee’s personnel file or which pertains to any employee reference is not to be given to any unauthorized individual. Upon your request and with your supervisor’s approval, you may set up a time with the Human Resources Assistant to review the content of the file. The records may not be photocopied nor have any portions removed. You may submit any written supplement you feel appropriate for the file.
You will receive a performance appraisal from your supervisor on or near six months of employment. Thereafter, your performance will be formally evaluated on an annual basis. The performance appraisal under the practice developed by the Executive Pastor and along with your supervisor is to discuss your overall performance and summarize both formal and informal performance discussions held throughout the review period. It will review your strengths and also point out ways to improve your performance.
Should you decide to leave the Church’s employment, please notify your supervisor in writing of your intentions as soon as possible. It is required that you give at least two weeks notice, four weeks for Ministerial Staff. Failure to do so will result in your forfeiting earned, but unused, vacation pay. Employees who leave the employment of the Church, regardless of circumstance, without having completed 12 months of continuous service, will forfeit vacation pay. An exit interview will be conducted by Human Resources. All church property must be returned (i.e. keys, charge cards, books). On return of these items, arrangements will be made to issue your final paycheck.
Wage and Salary Policies General Wage/Salary Policies
Your salary is based on several factors including education, work experience, and responsibilities of the position. All salaries follow a salary guide based upon national surveys. We have various ranges in Minister/Support Staff. Each employee has an opportunity to increase his or her salary by merit raises or promotions. Job descriptions are evaluated annually, and salary increases are based on performance and not solely on length of service or cost of living. The Executive Pastor reviews and approves staff recommendations for salary adjustments. Your salary, like your personnel records, is a confidential matter between you and your supervisor and should not be discussed with other employees or unauthorized individuals. If you have any questions about your pay, please consult your supervisor. All Ministerial and some Professional Administrative staff are exempt from overtime pay.
Overtime Pay and Compensatory Time
Hourly employees are eligible to receive overtime compensation at the rate of one and one-half (11⁄2) times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty hours each work week (Wednesday through Tuesday), in accordance with applicable State and Federal fair-employment laws and regulations. When given practical advance notice, employees will be expected to work overtime when the job requires it. Failure to work overtime (unless excused) is cause for dismissal.
For Support Staff, various payroll deductions are made each pay period to comply with Federal and State laws pertaining to taxes and insurance. There are some, such as those governed by Federal and State Garnishment laws, which are involuntary. Deductions will be made for the following: Federal Income Tax, withholding Social Security (FICA), and other items designated by the employee. At the end of each calendar year, you will be supplied with your Wage and Tax Statement (W-2) Form. This statement summarizes your income and deductions for the year. If you have any questions regarding these deductions, please contact the Payroll Department.
Receipt of Paycheck
Paychecks will be issued directly to the employee’s bank by mandatory direct deposit, and the paycheck stub will not be issued to anyone other than the employee, unless the employee authorizes such in writing. Terminated employees will receive their final paycheck by direct deposit after their exit interview and keys and other issued property have been turned in to the Human Resources Office.
The normal work year consists of 26 pay periods. Employees are paid every other Tuesday. The pay period begins on Wednesday and ends on Tuesday. Hourly employees are to turn in time sheets with their supervisor’s signature to the Human Resources Department every Wednesday by noon.
Employee Benefits: Pay and Time General Provisions and Applications
Northwest is committed to providing the best, most equitable and cost-effective benefits for its employees. Likewise, employees should recognize that the total cost to provide the benefit program described herein is a significant supplement to each employee’s pay, and should, therefore, be viewed as additional compensation, paid in various benefit forms, in their behalf. When employees work a regular scheduled workweek of less than full-time, 30 hours, benefits will not be applicable. Benefits costs have risen sharply over the years, particularly in the area of insurance plans. These include such mandatory benefit plans as Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Social Security, whose rates are controlled by law rather than competitive insurance providers. Discretionary benefits are those selected and controlled by the Church based on such consideration as cost, operational efficiency, and desirability of benefit provision. Where costs of discretionary insurance benefit plans exceed the Church’s interest, ability, or willingness to pay the full premium rate to maintain the benefit, employees may be required to share in the cost to continue the insurance plan coverage. The Church reserves the right to add, eliminate, or in other ways modify any discretionary benefits described herein or attached to this Manual where and when it is deemed in the Church’s best interest to do so. Under most circumstances, there will be ample opportunity to provide employees with advance notice of such modifications and to consider the effect of the decision.
Employees and the Church are required to contribute toward Federal Social Security benefits from the first day of employment unless, as an ordained minister, they have applied for and received government-approved exemption. Social Security is not deducted from the paycheck for Ministerial Staff, and Ministerial Staff are required to pay all Social Security taxes on their own. Social Security (FICA) is deducted from all paychecks for Support staff. The Church pays the employer’s share for Support Staff. Both the employee’s and the Church’s contribution rates are established by law and represent a percentage of earnings. Social Security provides four basic benefit provisions consisting of retirement income, disability income, death benefits, and entitlements. These are subject to individual circumstances too detailed for explanation here. Booklets explaining these details are available at your nearest Social Security Office.
Income Tax is deducted from all Support Staff paychecks according to the IRS tax schedule based on income earned and deductions claimed by the employee on his/her Form W-4. Additional taxes may be withheld if requested and need to be indicated on the W-4. Income Tax is not deducted from Ministerial Staff paychecks unless requested by the minister and indicated on his/her W-4. Ministerial Staff are responsible to file their own Income Tax payments when a tax liability is due.
Contributions are made to the Northwest Bible Church Employees Retirement Plan for eligible employees of the Church. This retirement plan is a Defined Benefit Plan, and its assets exist as a separate trust fund apart from the Church. Employees become eligible for the plan when they reach thirty (30) years of age and have worked two (2) consecutive calendar years of a minimum of 1,000 hours in each year. Employees are 100% vested in the plan when they are both eligible and have been an employee for seven (7) years, with a minimum of 1,000 hours in each year. The actual benefit to be paid at retirement is based on several factors including the employee’s Social Security benefit. A statement of each employee’s projected benefits and actual accrued benefits to date will be distributed annually. Northwest Bible Church adopted a Retirement Income Account Plan in 1997 with Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (“VALIC”). This plan allows you to invest your money in different funds and can be done through a payroll deduction. The Church matches fifty cents on the $1 up to 1% of salary.
A vacation day is any day (except holidays, sick days, etc.) authorized for an employee to be absent from work with full pay. Vacation days are given on an accrual system to active full-time exempt and non-exempt employees, based on the following schedule:
Years of Service Support Staff Ministerial Staff