Responsibility in Church Records Management

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While a church records management policy can help you be more efficient in the storage of both paper and digital records, saving both time and space, it should also promote responsible storage and disposal of records.

Some of the material in board minutes is sensitive. Much of the membership and personnel data is private. Church leaders must assume the responsibility of guarding that information so it is not at risk of being found or stolen. That means not only writing a church records management policy about the storage and disposal of records but also making sure it is consistently implemented.

Other information might not require confidentiality but needs to be kept safe for historical preservation or tax or audit purposes. Churches are not immune from vandalism, fire, storm damage, and the like. Even digital records can be lost through computer crashes or file corruption.

Responsible church records management means:

Church leaders must put measures in place to guard information through safe records storage and disposal.

Safe Record Keeping1) Safe Storage of Records

This could involve making regular back-ups of data, limiting who has passwords to computer software or keys to locked desk drawers or files. It could mean keeping a copy of critical data at a safe off-site location such as a bank deposit box.

2) Safe Disposal of Records

This could involve developing a record retention schedule so data that is no longer needed is destroyed rather than kept in a box in some closet or on the computer. Financial and other records should only be kept as long as is legally required. You keep only those records that are needed to preserve history or for legal purpose or that are currently being used.

Safe disposal of paper records also means that they are adequately destroyed using a cross-cut shredder. Merely throwing papers into a dumpster puts them at risk of being found and misused.

As a church leader you are responsible to protect the flock that has been entrusted to you. Safe record storage and disposal is one of many ways you can do that.

Love “always protects.” (1 Cor. 13:7)

2 Replies to “Responsibility in Church Records Management”

  1. Talk about sensitive board minutes. I once worked at a church and had issues with a church board member that got brought up in board meetings. The next day when in the office, found photocopies of notes laying face up in trash can. Anybody could have seen them and then it could have gotten out to other people and cause disunity because of what the issue was. I properly discarded photocopies. Since people in church didn’t know the problem, it never became point of division but very well could of.

    • Robert, you provided a good example of why records must be safely disposed of, preferably with a cross-cutter type of shredder. Praise God you found the photocopies before anyone else did and that unity was preserved in your church.

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