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 are the Policy and Procedures of The Sanctuary Fellowship of Rosenberg, Texas.
This manual is to work alongside the bylaws of The Sanctuary Fellowship (TSF). Items that are not discussed in the bylaws will be covered in this manual. The staff and Covenant members are responsible for enforcing these procedures.
Annually, this manual will be reviewed to make sure policies are up-to-date and relevant. Upon any changes, the parties affected will be notified with a formal letter and a printed copy of the updated policy.
The staff reserves the right to make changes before the annual review. The purpose of this manual is to help TSF glorify God in everything they are doing.
The Sanctuary Fellowship Core Values
We want to be intentional about life, to live live on purpose. Acts 17:26 Says that “He (God) made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation …” This means that God was intentional about our lives. He placed us in neighborhoods, work places, classrooms, gyms, and coffee shops on purpose.
Life is not a random accident; rather, God designed it with intention and purpose. We want to live the way of Jesus in front of the audience that God has given us. We love, serve, and care for those that God has “determined” us to be around, in the hopes they will see Jesus in us and be drawn to Him.
“What is truth?” Pilate asks Jesus this question in John 18. Truth was standing right in front of him, and he did not see it. “Truth is living, complex, large, dynamic and animated. Simple words, lists, or formulas could never describe truth or explain the complex nature of our reality” (Donald Miller. Searching for God Knows What, Nelson Publishing). Although we cannot capture Truth in a sentence, we find its essence in the Triune God. In His grace, the Father has revealed Himself through the Son by His Spirit.So, Truth is found in the Person of Jesus. He is the Truth, and the Truth sets us free (John 14:6, 8:32).
God’s self-disclosure to humanity is found in a sacred compilation of various works known as the Bible. God has given us 66 books (39 Old Testament, 27 New Testament) written in three languages—Hebrew, Greek, and a bit of Aramaic, over a period of more than a thousand years, by over forty authors on three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe). Authors include kings, peasants, philosophers, fisherman, poets, statesmen, scholars, etc. Books cover history, sermons, letters, a hymn book and a love song. There are geographical surveys, architectural specifications, travel diaries, family trees, and numerous legal documents. It covers hundreds of controversial subjects with amazing unity. It is the best selling book of all time and is now available in over 3,000 languages.
It is our guide to Truth … our compass to the Triune God. The Bible is an essential and infallible record of God’s self-disclosure to humanity. These Scriptures are fully inspired by God. Here at TSF, we long to be people of the Truth … people who know and study the Bible and there find the Triune God.
Truth without meaning is empty, worthless and most of all, dangerous. We need meaning. We want Truth in motion and Truth lived out. Christian Spirituality is one way Truth works itself out in real life. Prayer, fasting, art, poetry, drama, solitude meditation, music, writing—these are some of the aspects of Christian Spirituality. Our faith is not merely intellectual. It stirs, creates, motivates, and hurts. It is innovative and spontaneous, beautiful and messy.
We value and encourage the outworking of Truth in our community through the myriad of forms that Christian spirituality can take.
At TSF, we desire to follow our Lord’s example to wash each other’s feet. The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. Believers are expected to walk as Jesus walked. Jesus radically taught that our neighbor is anyone in need, regardless of social status, race, or even religious preference. We are called to wash the feet of our neighbors in order to demonstrate the rich compassion of our Lord.
Foot-washing expresses itself in a myriad of ways—from changing diapers in the nursery, mowing lawns for widows, providing childcare for single moms, or parking cars for weekend worship. We mobilize our Community Groups for life-affirming. Our members show compassion daily for the widow, the orphan, the poor, and the outcast. We are to ask ourselves, “Who can I be a neighbor to?” Those who follow the way of Jesus will be known for their love towards others.
Throughout the Bible, community is a major theme. Beginning with His first creation and continuing with Israel and the New Testament church, God always calls out a people for Himself. Even when the Jews were in captivity and dispersed among enemy nations, they organized themselves into groups that ultimately formed synagogues where they could serve one another and carry out their beliefs.
In Acts 2, the first century church met in temple courts (Sunday morning worship) and in house to house (home group) settings. These new church communities began as small groups, just as Jesus had modeled with the twelve (Mark 3:14; Luke 6:12-19).
There are over fifty Biblical “one another’s” that admonish us to be closely involved with a few others (small groups) in order that we might learn and imitate attitudes and behaviors that characterize God’s household—the community of believers. Small groups are intentional efforts to create an atmosphere conducive for believers and non-believers to grow in their understanding and application of God’s direction in their lives. Small groups help create Biblical community. We value genuine, real, and authentic relationships.
Our Guiding Principles
The Lord has graciously given us the privilege of serving His church. Here is a synopsis of some of the principles and values by which we strive to maintain while working at the The Sanctuary Fellowship.
Truth | Community | Foot-Washing | Christian Spirituality | Missional Living
These are the values we pray are being duplicated in our church; therefore it is imperative that we model them in our work. We desire to maintain a work environment that operates on the basis of Truth. The Word of God is our authority and guide-book. It is also the revelation of the Triune God.
The office culture is a unique community where we have the opportunity to model authentic relationships where we pray for, encourage, share and sharpen one another. The Lord both commanded and modeled foot-washing. The call of the leader is a call to serve. We are also spiritual people who do not fight against flesh and blood. The life of those who follow “The Way” is a mystical and spiritual life of prayer, fasting, sacrificial giving, worship, etc. Our calling to The Sanctuary Fellowship is a call to maintain and sustain this aspect of life.
As our work is rooted in Truth and expressed in community, foot-washing and spirituality, we hope to engender a work environment that is missional in nature. These values are foundations upon which the principles are built.
- Excellence—We are to work with excellence as unto Him. We do not expect perfection, only the pursuit of it (Col. 3:17, 23-24; 1 Cor. 10:31).
- Priority Management—We are too often ruled by the tyranny of the urgent to the detriment of the significant. Plan, prepare and utilize time effectively and efficiently (Psa. 39:4-5; Psa. 90:12; Prov. 6:6-11; Luke 10:38-42).
- Integrity—Our workplace must operate on the basis of honesty and integrity in all matters, all conversations and all actions. This also means we are faithful to be punctual, honor deadlines, return messages and maintain appointments (Prov. 22:11, 28:6; Matt. 5:36-37; Luke 16:10; 2 Cor. 7:2).
- Rest and Celebration—We are a rhythmic people designed for work and rest. The dedicated and ambitious are to be honored, but workaholics are not. Make time and take time to rejuvenate through rest and celebration (Gen. 2:2; Eccl. 4:6; Matt. 11:29; Mark 6:31-32; Prov. 17:22; Luke 15:24).
- Teachability—(Being teach-able t-ch-bl adjective) 1a: capable of being taught; b: apt and willing to learn; 2: favorable to teaching.) Webster defines what scripture demands. We are to always be open to what God would teach us and have us learn as we continue on His journey (Psa. 32:8; Prov. 2:2, 10:17; John 14:26).
Beliefs and Statements about the Bible
We accept the Bible, including the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, as the written Word of God. The Bible is the essential and infallible record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind. It leads us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Being given by God, the Scriptures are both fully and verbally inspired by Him. Therefore, as originally given, the Bible is free of error in all it teaches. Each book is to be interpreted according to its context and purpose in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through it in living power.
All believers are exhorted to study the Scriptures and diligently apply them to their lives. The Scriptures are the authoritative and normative rule and guide of all Christian life, practice and doctrine. They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation or worldly wisdom. Every doctrinal formulation, whether of creed, confession or theology, must be put to the test of the full counsel of God in Holy Scripture.
There is one God: infinite, eternal, almighty and perfect in holiness, truth and love. In the unity of the godhead there are three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, co-existent, co-equal and co-eternal. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, yet each is truly Deity. One God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is the foundation of the Christian faith and life.
The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the eternal Word made flesh, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He is perfect in nature, teaching and obedience. He is fully God and was fully man. He was always with God and is God. Through Him all things came into being and were created. He was before all things and in Him all things are held together by the word of His power. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation and in Him dwells the fullness of the godhead bodily.
He is the only Savior for the sins of the world having shed His blood and died a vicarious death on Calvary’s cross. By His death in our place, He revealed the divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having redeemed us from sin, the third day He rose bodily from the grave, victorious over death and the powers of darkness and for a period of forty days appeared to over five hundred witnesses performing many convincing proofs of His resurrection. He ascended into heaven where, at God’s right hand, He intercedes for His people and rules as Lord over all. He is the Head of His body, the church, and should be adored, loved, served and obeyed by all.
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Through the proclamation of the gospel, He persuades men to repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit, a person is led to trust in divine mercy. The Holy Spirit unites believers to Jesus Christ in faith, brings about the new birth and dwells within the regenerate.
The Holy Spirit has come to glorify the Son who in turn came to glorify the Father. He will lead the church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored and worshiped as God, the Third Person of the Trinity.
God made man—male and female—in His own image, as the crown of creation, that man might have fellowship with Him. Tempted by Satan, man rebelled against God. Being estranged from his Maker, yet responsible to Him, he became subject to divine wrath, inwardly depraved and, apart from a special work of grace, utterly incapable of returning to God.
This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to his mind, will and affections. Unregenerate man lives under the dominion of sin and Satan. He is at enmity with God, hostile toward God, and hateful of God. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Christ.
Jesus Christ is the gospel. The good news is revealed in His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. Christ’s crucifixion is the heart of the gospel, His resurrection is the power of the gospel and His ascension is the glory of the gospel. Christ’s death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases His holy wrath. It also demonstrates His mysterious love and reveals His amazing grace.
Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name by which men must be saved. At the heart of all sound doctrine is the cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what He has accomplished. Therefore, we want all that takes place in our hearts, churches and ministries to proceed from and be related to the cross.
Man’s Response to the Gospel
Man’s response to the gospel is rooted and grounded in the free gift of God for His own pleasure and glory. Man cannot save himself. Grace and faith are God’s gifts through Christ and given to those whom He calls. It is also true that the message of the gospel is only effectual to those who genuinely repent of their sins and by God’s grace put saving faith in Christ. This gospel of grace is to be sincerely preached to all men in all nations.
Biblical repentance is characterized by a changed life, and saving faith is evidenced by kingdom service or works. While neither repentance nor works save unless a person is willing to deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Christ, he cannot become His disciple.
The Holy Spirit is the active agent in our sanctification and seeks to produce His fruit in us as our minds are renewed and we are conformed to the image of Christ. Though indwelling sin remains a reality, as we are led by the Spirit, we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, freely keeping His commandments and endeavoring to so live in the world that all people may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.
All believers are exhorted to persevere in the faith, knowing they will have to give an account to God for their every thought, word and deed. The spiritual disciplines, especially Bible study, prayer, worship and confession, are a vital means of grace in this regard. Nevertheless, the believer’s ultimate confidence to persevere is based on the sure promise of God to preserve His people until the end, which is most certain.
Empowerment by the Spirit
The Holy Spirit empowers believers for Christian witness and service. The promise of the Father is freely available to all who believe in Jesus Christ, thereby enabling them to exercise the powers of the age to come in ministry and mission. The Holy Spirit desires to continually fill each believer with power to witness, and imparts His supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body and the work of ministry in the world. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in the church of the first-century are available today and are to be earnestly desired and practiced. They are essential in the mission of the church in the world today.
God by His Word and Spirit creates the church, calling sinful men out of the whole human race into the fellowship of Christ’s Body. By the same Word and Spirit, He guides and preserves that new redeemed humanity. The church is not a religious institution or denomination. Rather, the church universal is made up of those who have become genuine followers of Jesus Christ and have personally appropriated the gospel.
The church exists to worship and glorify God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also exists to serve Him by faithfully doing His will on the earth. This involves a commitment to see the gospel preached and churches planted in the entire world for a testimony. The ultimate mission of the church is the making of disciples through the preaching of the gospel. When God transforms human nature, this then becomes the chief means of society’s transformation. Upon conversion, newly redeemed men and women are added to a local church in which they devote themselves to teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper and prayer. All members of the church universal are to be a vital and committed part of a local church. In this context they are called to walk out the New Covenant as the people of God and demonstrate the reality of the kingdom of God.
The ascended Christ has given gift ministries to the church (including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) for the equipping of Christ’s body that it might mature and grow. Through the gift ministries, all members of the church are to be nurtured and equipped for the work of the ministry. In the context of the local church, God’s people receive pastoral care and leadership and the opportunity to employ their God-given gifts in His service in relation to one another and to the world.
Welcome to the staff of The Sanctuary Fellowship. You are important to the overall mission of the Church and in ministering to others on the staff, the Church as a whole, and the entire Fort Bend community. Your personal spiritual growth and active involvement in our local church are integral parts of your ministry on this staff.
The purpose of this Personnel Manual is to establish and maintain a uniform system for managing personnel matters; to comply with applicable employment laws; and to provide the standards, terms, and conditions of employment with The Sanctuary Fellowship. It is further intended, by adoption and periodic amendment of these policies and procedures, that this Manual serve as a guide for Sanctuary employees in their routine work activites and relationships and that the objectives of both the Church and the individual employees are achieved.
The Church and all its employees recognize that all employees are hired at-will, meaning they may quit their jobs at any time, and the Church may terminate any employee at any time, without cause or notice. 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.
Authority of the Policy
The policies contained in this Manual have been approved by the Elder Board and carry the full authority of The Sanctuary Fellowship. All employees in all situations shall follow them. The Lead Pastor and /or Executive Pastor must approve any variations from these policies.
Administration of the Policy
Any questions regarding the implementation of these policies shall be referred to the Executive Pastor. The policy interpretation of the Executive Pastor, in consultation with the Orange Tier (see Employee Categories, p. 7), shall be considered final.
Call to Commitment
Your job is important. It is important not only to you but also to the other team members who are responsible for the coordination of work at The Sanctuary. Your job is important also to the church body and its ministry.
You, as an employee, are responsible for performing your job in the best and most efficient manner. Our staff works as a team and results depend on the combined efforts of all employees.
The personal pronouns “his,” “he,” and “him” are used for purposes of convenience and good grammar and may refer to either males or females.
The Sanctuary Fellowship may also be referred to as “the Church” from this point forward
This handbook supersedes any previous handbook or unwritten policies.
The Sanctuary Fellowship employment policy is to provide equal employment opportunities for all qualified employees and applicants without regard to race, color, sex, age or national origin.
The Church reserves the right to employ persons who are Christians with a likeminded philosophy of ministry and who, in the opinion of the Church, have a work history and lifestyle which is consistent with the Scriptural principles the Church embraces.
Definitions of Employment Status
Regular full-time—Full-time employees are scheduled to work at least thirty-two hours (32) per week. Only full-time employees are entitled to benefits of the Church, as outlined in the Benefits section.
Temporary full-time—There are occasions when the work of a specific job requires full-time work for a period of limited duration. A person who works in an interim position while a regular employee is sought may be classified in this category.
Regular part-time—Part-time employees work less than thirty-two (32) hours per week and are not entitled to the benefit package from the Church.
Temporary part-time—Extra employees may be used when a temporary job assignment needs to be completed. Temporary part-time employees work less than thirty-two (32) hours per week, and for a period of limited duration.
Change in Employment Status
Employees who are currently working part-time (regular or temporary) or temporary full-time and their employment status changes to regular full-time (32 hours per week minimum) will be eligible for full-time benefits. The effective date for benefits will be the same as the effective date of the employee’s regular full-time status, applying any waiting periods already established.
Classification of Staff
Exempt and Non-Exempt Employees
All employees of the church are classified as either “Exempt” or Non-exempt” under the federal wage-hour guidelines. Following is a brief definition of the two classifications:
- Exempt employees—Professional, ministerial and executive employees who are generally not entitled to overtime pay.
- Non-exempt employees—Any employee not falling in the above category is considered non-exempt and is generally eligible for overtime pay if working more than 40 hours per workweek. Overtime pay is a result of the employee’s classification, not the determining factor.
All employees are classified into the following organization tiers. The Tier Structure can be defined as the utilization of organizational levels to establish leadership roles, job responsibilities and respective compensation packages.
- Orange Tier (organization leadership) consists of the Lead Pastor, Pastor of Ministries, and other Elders. This tier may also include other individuals based on their leadership to the Church rather than their staff position. This selection will be determined on an individual basis.
- Green Tier consists of department heads and officers. The Green Tier includes positions such as Community Group Pastor, Worship Pastor, etc.
- Tan Tier consists of those who are pastoral/ministerial staff, directors and managers. The Tan Tier includes positions such as the Media Director.
- Blue Tier consists of those involved in the intern program and worship team. This tier includes both regular full-time and regular part-time employees.
Employment of Relatives
The church has no general prohibition agains hiring relatives. However, a few restrictions have been established to help prevent problems of safety, security, supervision and morale.
While we will accept and consider applications for employment from relatives, close family members such as parents, grandparents, children, spouses, brothers, sisters, or in-laws generally will not be hired or transferred into positions where they directly or indirectly supervise or are supervised by another close family member. Further, such relatives generally will not be placed in positions where they work with or have access to sensitive information regarding a close family member or where there is an actual apparent conflict of interest. Exceptions to this rule will be determined on a case-by-case basis and require approval from the Elder Board.
If two existing employees marry, the above requirements apply and staff may have to be reassigned or transferred.
Introduction Period for New Employees
The introductory period for new employees lasts for 90 days from an employee’s 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. You and the Church each have the right to terminate employment without advance notice and without cause.
The introductory period could involve frequent evaluation of performance. All employees, regardless of classification, status or length or 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, regular performance review, change of status records, commendations, and corrective action warnings are examples of records maintained.
The only people authorized access to an employment file is the employee, the employee’s direct line of supervision and the Pastor of Ministries. All salary information is considered confidential and is not to be shared with other employees. The Lead Pastor and CPA authorize access to this portion of the employee’s file.
Upon your request, your supervisor will determine a specific time and place where you may both review the content of the file. The records may not be photocopied or have any portion removed. You may submit any written supplement you feel appropriate for the file.
Hours/Days of Work
Regular office hours, subject to modification and adjustment as determined by the Church, will be from 8:30 am through 5:00 pm, Monday through Thursday. The ministerial and pastoral staff members will have weekend worship responsibilities and their schedule will be determined in conjunction with their immediate supervisor. All regular full-time employees are expected to work 40 hours a week.
Certain areas may have hours of work outside regular office hours, based on the needs of that department.
Breaks and lunches will be assigned by supervisory staff. Employees working a shift of six or more hours should be scheduled a lunch break.
Virtual office technology provides people the opportunity to be connected regardless of the location. The virtual office has become a popular choice in today’s culture. We can office from home, Starbucks, or the public library. The Church desires the employee to be connected and involved in the community, but team work and staff unity are vital aspects to our work. In general, the employee should office from the Church. If the employee plans on utilizing a virtual office for a certain day’s work, he must gain permission from his immediate supervisor and inform the church receptionist no later than 8:30 am.
Any person who desires to regularly office outside of the church on a consistent basis must gain written permission from his immediate supervisor and the Pastor of Ministries.
Generally, staff meetings are held every Monday night beginning at 6:00 pm. These meetings can be either “logistical staff meetings” or “pastoral staff meetings.” Employees on the Orange, Green and Tan tiers are expected to be a part of the “logistical staff meetings.” All ministers and pastors are expected to be a part of the “pastoral staff meeting.” Those involved in the operational and/or administrative aspect of the church are invited, but not required, to attend the “pastoral staff meeting.” This also applies to those in the church intern program.
Staff Development Program
The Executive Pastor will annually outline a program for staff development. This will include days of fasting and prayer for the ministerial/pastoral staff. Those involved in the operational and/or administration aspects of the church are invited, but not required, to attend. This is also true for those involved in the church intern program. An all-staff dinner will be held the week following staff development and attendance is required. The employee should request a copy of the staff development program and plan on participating.
Absenteeism and Tardiness/Leave Early
Each employee is expected to be regular and punctual in his attendance.
Absenteeism—An employee who is absent from work is responsible for notifying his supervisor and the church receptionist. Employees who fail to comply with this rule will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
An employee whose absences are excessive or where absence from work is unreported for three consecutive working days is subject to immediate termination.
Tardiness or Leaving Early—Each employee is expected to be at his place of work and ready to work at starting time and to work until quitting time. Habitual tardiness or leaving early will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
You must contact your supervisor and the church receptionist each time a tardiness or leave early instance occurs or is anticipated.
Your Job Description
Job descriptions are used to aid in staffing, wage and salary administration and training. Additionally, they also aid employees and supervisors in communicating about job responsibilities. Job descriptions are only guidelines and can normally be expected to change over time.
From time to time, employees are expected to perform duties and handle responsibilities that are not part of their normal job. If the new duties and responsibilities remain a significant part of the assignment, then the job description may be changed.
You will receive a performance review from your supervisor at the completion of your first ninety days of employment. Thereafter, your performance will be formally evaluated annually.
The performance review allows your supervisor to discuss your overall performance and summarize both formal and informal discussions held throughout the review period. It will review your strengths and also point out ways to improve your performance.
When a vacancy occurs or a new position is created, a qualified person within the present staff may be considered for that job, along with other qualified candidates. Lateral changes are made only when it is to the best advantage for all concerned.
Employees may prepare themselves for possible consideration for advancement by:
- Working efficiently, intelligently and producing results in their present job.
- Displaying a good attitude.
- Being considerate, cooperative, and a team-player.
- Being punctual in attendance and conscientious in work performance.
- Taking special measures of development that prepare for advancement.
When an opening occurs that interests you, advise your supervisor and the Executive Pastor of your interest in obtaining information concerning duties, requirements and other factors that pertain to that particular job.
Should you decide to leave the Church’s employment, please notify your supervisor in writing of your intentions as soon as possible. It is requested that you give at least two weeks notice (four weeks for ministerial/pastoral staff) and schedule an exit interview with the Lead Pastor and Pastor of Ministries. Employees who leave the employment of the Church, regardless of circumstances, without having completed twelve months of continuous service, will forfeit vacation pay.
During the exit interview, all Church property must be returned, i.e., building access and door keys, employee badge, computer equipment, etc. On return of these items and arrangement for payment of any outstanding Church bills, a time will be scheduled to issue your final paycheck within employment laws.
The Church does not offer COBRA coverage for former employees.
General Wage/Salary Policies
Your salary is based on several factors including education, work experience, tier level and responsibilities of the position. The employee’s salary plus benefit package equals the total compensation package.
Each employee has an opportunity to increase his or her salary by merit raises or promotions. Job performance is reviewed annually and salary increases are based on the results of the review and not solely on length of service or cost of living. The Lead Pastor and Pastor of Ministries reviews and approves staff recommendations for salary adjustments. The Lead Pastor makes final approval over all salary adjustments.
Your compensation package, like your personnel records, is a confidential matter. Compensation should not be discussed with anyone other than the Lead Pastor or Pastor of Ministries. If you have questions regarding your pay, please consult one of these people. Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay.
Overtime Pay/Compensatory Time
Non-exempt employees are eligible to receive overtime compensation at the rate of one and one-half (1½) times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty hours each workweek in accordance with applicable state and federal fair-employment laws and regulations. The supervisor MUST approve overtime in advance. Failure to obtain supervisory permission to work overtime may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination for repeated offenses.
Exempt staff may be provided compensatory time off for all hours—authorized in writing, in advance, by the supervisor—worked in excess of any 40-hour workweek. Any approved compensatory time off must be taken within two (2) weeks of its accumulation. Compensatory time may not be accrued for the sole purpose of extending vacation time.
When given practical advance notice, employees will be expected to work overtime when the job requires it. Failure to work overtime for a less than practical reason may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
A workweek for employees of the church will begin on Sunday 12:00 am and end at 11:59 pm on Saturday.
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 garnishments 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. It should be noted that ordained ministerial and pastoral staff have separate tax implications per the IRS.
By January 31, immediately following 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, please contact the CPA.
All employees are paid semi-monthly on the 1st and 15th of the month. Paychecks will be issued as requested by employee, either by direct deposit or by check. Terminated employees will receive their final paycheck after their exit interview and keys and other church-issued property have been turned into the Pastor of Ministries.
General Provisions and Applicants
The Sanctuary Fellowship is committed to provide 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 it should, therefore, be viewed as additional compensation.
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 modification 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 approved commissioned/licensed/ordained minister, they have applied for and received a government-approved exemption.
Social Security (SECA) is not deducted from the paycheck of 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 non-ministerial staff. The Church pays the employer’s share of the non-ministerial 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 benefit, and retirement health care. These are subject to individual circumstances too detailed to explain in this manual. This information can be obtained at the nearest Social Security office or on the government’s website.
Income tax is deducted from all non-ministerial staff paychecks according to the IRS tax schedule based on income earned and deductions claimed by the employee on his W-4 form. Additional taxes may be withheld if requested and need to be indicated on the W-4. Income tax is not deducted from Ministerial/Pastoral Staff paychecks unless requested by the minister/pastor and indicated on his W-4. Ministerial/Pastoral staff are responsible to file their own income tax payments when a tax liability is due.
The health and safety of employees and others on church property are of utmost concern. It is, therefore, the policy of the Church to strive constantly for the highest possible level of safety in all activities and operations, and to carry out our commitment of compliance with all appropriate health and safety standards applicable to our ministries and organization by enlisting the help of all employees to ensure that public areas and work areas are free of hazardous conditions. The Church will make every effort to provide working conditions that are healthy and safe, and employees are expected to be equally conscientious about work-place safety, including proper work methods, reporting potential hazards, and lessening observed hazards. Unsafe conditions in any work area or public area that might result in an accident should be reported immediately to the Pastor of Ministries. The Church’s safety policy and practices will be strictly enforced, including possible termination of employees found to be willfully negligent in the safe performance of their jobs.
If an employee is injured in connection with employment, regardless of the severity of the injury, the employee must immediately notify the supervisor, who will see to necessary medical attention and complete required reports. In any case of serious injury, employees are to receive prompt and qualified medical attention, followed by the filing of necessary reports. When an employee is injured, the employee and supervisor must complete an injury report form and submit the form to the Pastor of Ministries, regardless of how minor the injury might appear.
The Sanctuary Fellowship pays the entire amount of Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums that provide benefits to employees who experience injury or illness in connection with church employment. State law governs benefits entitlements. Benefits available to employees injured on the job consist of the following provisions:
- Replacement income
- Temporary disability
- Permanent partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Medical expenses, including doctor’s visits, treatment, surgery, drugs and hospitalization
Compensation entitlement begins on the first full day of hospitalization or after the seventh day of absence due to the injury if the employee is not hospitalized. Prior to the seventh day of absence, employees may use any available accrued sick leave and/or vacation as paid time-off.
The Church is exempt from mandatory participation in the state and federal unemployment insurance program. Therefore, there are no unemployment insurance funds available, through either the State or Federal program, to former employees of the Church.
If included in approved budget, professional expenses related specifically to the employee’s job duties will be reimbursed or paid directly by the church. These expenses may include the following, but are not limited to:
- Conference and seminar fees
- Advanced education tuition for self
- Transportation for conference/seminars
- Lodging for conference/seminars
- Research materials
- Meals for conference/seminar travel
The Church partners with Guidestone Financial, formerly the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, to provide a venue for staff members to contribute to a tax-deferred retirement plan. Guidestone Financial offers a qualified 403(b) retirement plan to which staff members may voluntarily elect to contribute a portion of their salary.
Paid Personal Time Off
Bereavement—Since death is an unexpected event which can occur at any time, the Church does not require a completion of 90 days of employment before the employee can qualify for this paid absence. Regular full-time or regular part-time employees are entitled up to three days off with pay in the case of death of an immediate family member if the funeral is local. If the employee has to travel out of town, four days will be granted. Immediate family is defined as spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, parent-in-law, grandchild or grandparent. This benefit does not apply if the death occurs while the employee is on vacation, holidays, leave of absence or absence for any other reason.
Your supervisor must be contacted promptly if a death in the immediate family occurs. This type of absence is not considered for purposes of determining overtime. The supervisor may extend the number of allowable days off, depending upon circumstances; however, any extension will be without pay.
Bereavement leaves, as defined in this policy, will not accrue or accumulate, nor be paid if unused at year-end or upon termination of employment. This leave pay shall not be credited as time worked for the purpose of computing overtime.
Holidays—The church offices and building are closed on the following days. These are considered paid holidays for all regular full-time employees:
- New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Easter (Monday after Easter)
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day (plus Friday following Thanksgiving)
- Christmas Day
- Winter Break – the workweek between Christmas and New Year’s
In the event any of these holidays occur on Saturday, the preceding Friday will be considered the holiday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be considered the holiday (with the exception of Easter).
Regular part-time employees will receive holiday pay if they are normally scheduled to work the day on which a holiday falls. When it become necessary to schedule work on a recognized holiday, the personnel concerned will receive an alternate day off or extra pay. Any holiday that occurs during the employee’s authorized vacation period entitles him to an extra day to be taken consecutively with the vacation or taken before the end of the vacation year. Holiday pay will not be received if an employee is on a leave of absence for any reason.
Jury Duty—Employees are encouraged to carry out their civic responsibility for jury or witness duty when called and may serve without loss of pay. Regular full-time and regular part-time employees will receive regular pay in addition to jury or witness pay. Notify supervisor of notice of call to jury duty or trial witness. Report for jury duty as required and advise your supervisor of the expected length of time to serve. If excused early, you are expected to return immediately to Church duties.
Upon completion of jury or trial witness duty, present your jury certificate to your supervisor. The length of jury duty performed will entitle you to be paid in addition to amounts paid to you by the court. Jury duty time will not be considered time worked for purposes of computing overtime pay.
Personal Leave—Regular full-time and regular part-time employees may be granted time off with pay for personal illness, disability or non-job injury. Illness within the immediate family (spouse, child, or parent) requiring the presence of the staff member will be treated the same as illness of the staff member. Paid personal leave accumulates at the rate of five and one-half (5 ½) hours per month for regular full-time employees and is prorated for regular part-time employees. The employee can earn a maximum of 64 hours (8 days) of personal leave each year. Employees can carry over their personal leave days for a total of 90 days.
Although paid personal leave begins accruing upon commencement of employment or transfer into a personal leave eligible position, an employee may not use paid personal leave until completion of the 90-day introductory period. Employees will be paid at their regular pay rate for sick time taken. Unused paid personal leave will not be paid out at the end of the year. Accumulated personal leave is not paid out at termination of employment and may not be used in lieu of notice of termination of employment.
The following condition must be met in order to receive pay for personal leave: Staff member must promptly report to their supervisor (and church receptionist) by telephone the cause of absence due to illness, injury, or urgent personal matters. If the employee is absent for five or more continuous working days, a doctor’s release is required before returning to work and receiving sick pay. An employee who becomes ill or injured while on vacation will be paid only for the vacation. Should the incapacity continue after the vacation period, personal leave pay may commence. Personal leave pay will not be in addition to compensation provided by the Church in the form of insurance or Workers’ Compensation. The church may, in such situations, pay the difference between such compensation and the amount required, to assure the employee of full pay for the period involved under personal leave pay. No personal leave time accrues during any type of leave of absence. Any personal leave time accumulated in excess of eight (8) days will not be paid at termination. An employee who uses personal leave days for the purposes other than illness, disability, non-job injury, or urgent personal matters is subject to disciplinary action or termination.
Vacation Leave—Regular full-time and regular part-time employees may be granted time off with pay for vacation. Paid vacation accumulates according to the schedule below for regular full-time employees and is prorated for regular part-time employees.
- For new hires, vacation is accrued at the rate of 25 percent (of annual tier level days) per calendar quarter employed.
- Eligible employees employed on January 1 accrue 100 percent of their allotted vacation on January 1 of each year employed.
- Employees may carry over a maximum of 5 vacation days per calendar year but may not have more than 5 weeks (25 days) vacation per year.
Individual Paid Personal Leave and Vacation allotments will be discussed between the staff member and their supervisor. Accrued paid vacation will be paid at termination of employment, but may not be used in lieu of notice of termination.
Maternity/Paternity Leave—All full-time employees are entitled to one week of maternity/paternity leave for the birth of their child. The Church will provide a benefit of one week (5 work days, including Sundays for pastors/ministers) paid leave. This leave must be requested in writing and submitted to the Pastor of Ministries. Advance notice is required in non-emergency situations. Employees can accrue up to 90 total days of Personal Leave (see above), which can serve as paid time-off during such instances beyond the one week. Accrued Personal Leave will not be paid upon retirement or termination.
Inclement Weather—In the event of inclement weather, the Church offices will be closed. A “severe weather day” is not up to the individual; rather, the Church offices, will follow the decision of Fort Bend Independent School District. This is the most efficient and effective means of communicating an office closure to the staff. If FBISD closes schools for the day, then the Church offices will also be closed. If the district closes schools for the morning, then the Church will also be closed for the morning.
An employee not reporting for work due to weather conditions on days not deemed a severe weather day may take a vacation day or personal leave, with his supervisor’s approval if such days are available.
Leave of Absence
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may entitle an employee up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons in any 12-month period. The Church may continue to provide regular payments for insurance premiums as designated by the Line of Site Benefit Program. In order to qualify, an employee must have worked for the Church for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months. Such leave may be available for the birth and care of a newborn child, placement of a child for adoption or foster care, a serious health condition of a family member (child, spouse or parent) or a personal serious health condition.
A leave of absence not covered under FMLA rules may apply to regular full-time and all part-time employees. They may request, subject to the sole discretionary approval of the Church, a leave of absence without pay or paid employment benefits for a period not to exceed six months. During a leave of absence, employees will be responsible for either maintaining or discontinuing any employment-related discretionary insurance benefits. Request for a leave of absence should be submitted in writing to the supervisor as far in advance of the anticipated leave date as possible. The leave request must be dated, signed by the employee, and must state the reasons, circumstance, duration, and location of the employee during leave. The supervisor will submit his recommendation to the Pastor of Ministries, who will approve or disapprove the leave, notifying the employee through his supervisor. Extensions of an initial leave of absence must be requested in the same manner, but will additionally require the approval of the Pastor of Ministries and the Elder Board.
Upon expiration of a leave of absence, the employee may be reinstated in the position held, or an equivalent one, at the time the leave was granted, if such a position is available. An employee who fails to report promptly for work at the expiration of a leave of absence will be considered to have voluntarily resigned.
Standard of Conduct
The church expects you to treat every person you come in contact with fairly and respectfully. Harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or disability will not be tolerated. Harassment means unwelcome or offensive conduct of a discriminatory nature that affects an individual’s employment opportunities or that creates an intimidating or hostile environment. Sexual harassment is the most recognized form of unlawful harassment. Sexual harassment of anyone by church employees, supervisors, co-workers, church members or vendors, on or off the Church property, is prohibited.
Examples of prohibited conduct include:
- Unwelcome sexual advances including but not limited to unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions.
- Subtle pressure or requests for sexual acts or favors.
- Other verbal or physical conduct of a harassing nature including but not limited to verbal abuse of a sexual nature, unnecessary touching of an individual, graphic comments about an individual’s body, a display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, sexually explicit or offensive jokes, or physical assault.
- Submission to the conduct is made a condition of employment; or
- Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision affecting the harassed employee; or
- The harassment has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
If you believe that you are being, or have been harassed in any way, please report the allegations of the incident or incidents to the Pastor of Ministries or Lead Pastor within a reasonable time, without fear of resprisal. All complaints will be handled promptly and in a confidential manner. The church will retain confidential documentation of all allegations and investigations. In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes unlawful harassment, the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of the conduct and the context in which the alleged incident occurred, will be investigated by appropriate parties. Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action when justified, up to and including possible termination.
Some of the work done by Church employees is confidential. Discussing confidential material with individuals who are not employees or employees who do not have a need to know the information is prohibited.
Conflicts of Interest
Employees will not be allowed to solicit, obtain, accept, or retain any personal benefit from any supplier, vendor, member, or any individual or organization doing or seeking business with The Sanctuary Fellowship.
- The purchase of business-meeting meals.
- Consumable gifts offered to an entire work group during the holiday season where rejection would damage the spirit in which the gifts were offered.
Employees will not be allowed to offer, solicit orders for, or sell any product or service to other employees or members of the church. Supervisory personnel may consider the following as exceptions upon approval:
- Fund-raising drives or activities approved by the Church.
- Sales or solicitation of orders for products or services outside scheduled work hours when approved by the immediate supervisor and the Elders.
The Church respects employee’s activities outside his employment that are moral, private in nature and which in no way conflict with or reflect adversely upon the Church. Every employee is expected to devote full time and ability to the Church and not to engage outside interests which interfere with employment attendance, performance, and efficiency as determined by the Church, including the use of the Church’s facilities, materials and resources.
If a conflict of interest situation should develop or an employee has any doubts, the matter should be discussed with his supervisor.
It is the policy of The Sanctuary Fellowship to maintain a harmonious, pleasant, and positive work-place environment, and therby makes work relations an enjoyable experience for all. It is believed that this objective can best be achieved by establishing specific standards of undesired conduct that are likely to result in disciplinary action or possible termination, and to make them known openly and frequently to employees.
Examples of misconduct and unsatisfactory performance that may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination:
- Destruction of, damage to, or unauthorized removal of The Sanctuary Fellowship property or personal property of others.
- Inefficient or careless performance of job responsibilities or inability to perform duties successfully.
- Failure to promptly report a work-related injury or accident.
- Negligence or any action that results in injury to an employee, self, Church member, or visitor, or that endangers the health or safety of others.
- Intentional falsification of records required in the transaction of the Church ministries or business, including falsely reporting hours worked.
- Unauthorized punching or signing of another employee’s time clock record or recording time for another employee. Both employees may be subject to disciplinary action.
- Irregular attendance, repeated tardiness, unreported or unexcused absence, abuse of personal leave, or overstaying a leave of absence without written authorization.
- Insubordination, including refusal or failure to perform assigned work or to follow instructions of authorized personnel; rude or discourteous conduct.
- Possessing or being under the influence of drugs.
- Making malicious, false, or derogatory statements that may damage the integrity or reputation of the Church, its ministry, or its employees.
- Misrepresentation or withholding of pertinent facts in securing employment.
- Improper use of Church telephones or internet.
- Abuse of break times and lunch periods.
- Accepting gratuities or tips.
- Distributing or posting information that is detrimental or in conflict with the general interest and beliefs of the Church.
- Use of Church vehicles (trailers) without prior approval, or unlawful operation of said vehicle (trailers).
- Possession, display, or use of explosives, firearms, or other dangerous weapons while on duty or on any Church or Church entity property.
- Directly or indirectly, either for one’s personal benefit or for the benefit of any other person or organization, revealing any confidential Church, Church member or employee information.
- Participating in behavior in direct contradiction of the morals, ethics and scriptural principles the Church embraces.
- Discriminatory conduct or actions against any other person. Violation of any policy, rule, procedure, or practice established by the Church.
Types and Progression of Discipline—Depending on the nature and circumstances of an incident, discipline will normally be progressive and bear a reasonable relationship to the violation. The types of discipline that may occur are as follows, in general order of increasing formality and seriousness:
- Verbal Reprimand: A verbal statement by the supervisor to an employee, usually pointing out an unsatisfactory element of job performance, is intended to be corrective or cautionary. A verbal reprimand informally defines the area of needed improvement, sets up goals for the achievement of improvement, and informs the employee that failure to improve may result in more serious actions. A verbal reprimand needs to be noted by the supervisor in his own file.
- Written Reprimand: This is the first level of formal discipline. The supervisor, with approval of the department head, issues the written reprimand. A copy is sent to the Pastor of Ministries for placement in the employee’s personnel file.
- Discharge: Employees should be aware that their employment relationship with The Sanctuary Fellowship is based on the condition of mutual consent to continue the relationship between the employee and the Church. Therefore, the employee or the Church, unless bound by a written agreement, is free to terminate the employment relationship at will, with or without cause, and at any time.
Recommendations to discharge an employee are to be made to, and authorized by, the employee’s department head and/or the Pastor of Ministries/Lead Pastor.
Employees are cautioned that the Church does not condone, nor assume any liability for, the practice of lending or borrowing money, or anything of monetary or personal value, between employees. Employees who voluntarily participate in such activity, or create these obligations, do so at their own risk.
Personal Appearance Standards
All employees are expected to present themselves during working hours in appropriate attire. In general, The Sanctuary Fellowship is a casual environment. We desire to be authentic in who we are even in our dress, but inappropriate attire is not acceptable. Staff members who have personal contact with guests or church members should be particularly conscious of appropriate attire.
Employees who are in doubt as to the proper attire should consult the Pastor of Ministries.
Personal Calls, Internet, Email, and Visitors
The Church telephones are provided for church-related purposes. The Church is realistic and understands that personal calls are to be expected, but asks that employees keep personal calls brief and to a minimum. The same is true for internet and email usage. Personal use must be brief, realistic and minimal.
Friends, relatives, or other persons are permitted to visit an employee during working hours or at work locations, but such visits should be practical and not excessive. Employees are expected to exercise good judgment in their handling of an unforeseen visit. Should this become a habit, constant interruption, or general problem, it may become cause for disciplinary action. If it is necessary for the employee to take time to deal with the visit, this time off may be considered unpaid.
Employees park at their own risk and the church will not be responsible for theft or damage to any vehicles parked on church property (Cinemark or offices). Also, the church will not be responsible for personal property left in vehicles that is lost, damaged, stolen or destroyed.
The Sanctuary Fellowship Confidentiality Agreement
While employed by The Sanctuary Fellowship, I understand I may be subjected to information that may be confidential in nature. This may include, but may not be limited to information that I am told by a member, other employee, church member or supervisor.
I understand that no confidential church or employee information is to be revealed or discussed with anyone.
I also understand this information may not be used directly or indirectly for my personal benefit or for the benefit of any other person or organization.
By signing this document, I further understand that violation of this policy could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment with The Sanctuary Fellowship.
(To be placed in employee’s personnel file)
Personnel Manual Acknowledgement
I hereby certify I have received a copy of The Sanctuary Fellowship Personnel Manual on this date as indicated below. I further certify I have read and understand the manual. I also agree to abide and be bound by any and all terms and conditions therein. I understand the information, policies, and benefits described herein are subject to change and that The Sanctuary Fellowship may do so at its sole discretion without advance notice. I further understand that neither this manual nor any provision of this manual is an employment contract or any other kind of contract.
(To be placed in employee’s personnel file)
View original PDF: The Sanctuary Fellowship Policy Manual