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Church Consulting | Necessary Church Documents

This content is written for Talanton Church Services.


At Talanton Church Services, we specialize in church consulting. We are located in Tulsa, Oklahoma but serve churches throughout the United States. We create margin for ministry by providing pastors with help on non-ministry related tasks. Whether it is church accounting, church bookkeeping, church governance, church facility management, or church staffing, Talanton Church Services creates margin for ministry. Kyle Willis, Founder of Talanton Church Services, aids churches in their operations and administration, so that they can focus on their ministry. 


In this article, we want to talk about the necessary documents that every church should have in place. While all of these can be important for various reasons, a full portfolio of documents is needed to protect your church and the various stakeholders within your organization. Before we share our thoughts, it is important to note that this is not a complete list of the necessary church documents; however, it will begin to help you think through what may be needed. Our advice is not legal advice, so we always advise that you speak with a lawyer where applicable. 


At Talanton Church Consulting Tulsa we have the opportunity to talk to several pastors and church leaders each week about the challenges facing their ministries. Churches can quickly find themselves on the local or national news for issues related to a lack of character or leadership. While these necessary church documents will not necessarily prevent moral failures, good church governance documents can provide a framework for making decisions and a documented expectations for all involved.


Before we list out the necessary church documents that should be in place, we want to share with you an analogy. Jesus often spoke about things found in nature. Specifically we know the importance of a tree producing fruit. Many churches want to see visible fruit, such as the salvations of non-believers, but real results fall short of expectations. In order to produce fruit, a tree must have a solid root system or foundation. A solid system of church documents is one of the ways a church can strengthen the roots of the church. We believe that faithfulness produces fruitfulness, so this article from Talanton Church Services Tulsa, is written to enhance your church’s faithfulness. 


Does your church have these documents written, communicated, understood, and stored digitally for your church staff to access? If not, Talanton Church Services can assist you in drafting, modifying, finding, and storing these necessary church documents. 


Necessary Church Documents - Financial Checklist. Churches that are organized with their financial documents can be an indicator of a sound financial position. Although most churches have a good grasp on the list below, we would recommend a brief audit in the spring to validate these documents are current, stored correctly, and to validate who has access to which documents.


Tax Records - Federal, State, Sales Tax, and Payroll Taxes

IRS Forms - W-2, W-4, 1099 

Annual Financial Audits

Monthly Financial Statements

Bank Statements

General Ledger

Weekly Offering Count Sheets

Deposit Verification

Canceled Check Log

Employee Expense Reports

Payroll Registers

Investment Records

Donor Records

Designated Funds Documentation

Asset Register

501c3 Documents


Necessary Church Documents - Organizational Checklist. Churches who have spent time not only developing their organizational church documents, but evaluating their effectiveness against current practices, will be more effective than churches who do not. Although these require some work and you hope to never use these, they will help increase your preparedness in times of crisis. 


Church By-Laws or Constitution

Articles of Incorporation

Property Deeds and Drawings

Building Permits

Committee or Board Meetings

Licenses - Software/CCLI

Sales Tax Exemption Letter by State

Insurance Policies (Property, Worker’s Comp, Liability) 

Compliance Standards

Emergency Local Contacts

Emergency Evacuation and Planning

Staff Harassment Training

Volunteer List

Background Checks

Volunteer Training

Membership List

Parent Waivers for Youth Activities

Supplier or Vendor Contracts

Supplier Contacts

Vendor Reports

Internal Forms 


Necessary Church Documents - Policy Checklist. While your church may have several policies, the list below are some of the most common missing documents we hear about at Talanton Church Services. Church policies will not replace a person’s character but should clearly define expectations of one’s actions. 


Child Abuse Prevention

Financial Handling

Social Media Policy

Credit Card Usage

Reporting Abuse Requirements by State


Necessary Church Documents - Personnel Checklist. A full set of records for your church staff is necessary, regardless of the size of your church staff. Churches often times overlook personnel documents or begin to draft these necessary church documents in a reactive manner. The recommendation of Talanton Church Services, Church Consulting Tulsa, is to begin drafting these personnel documents months before the actual need arises. 


Employee Personnel Records 

Job Descriptions

Interview Guides

Personnel References

Employee Contracts

Employee Handbook

Annual Performance Evaluations

Time Sheets

New Hire Paperwork

I-9 Forms 

Employee Garnishments

Ministerial Housing Allowance


While no one wants to use these necessary church documents, a solid root system or foundation will help remove the emotion from moments of crisis and will help you sleep well during the good times. Do not put your church’s reputation or your personal credibility on verbal practices; many things in your church must be documented. Finally, Talanton Church Services, Church Consulting Tulsa, can help give a deeper level of knowledge to your leadership team. You and your church will benefit greatly from a proper relationship and it is why it is our mission to support the local church. 


We know that you want to be good stewards of everything God is entrusting you with as a pastor or church governance body, including the mundane items, like church documents. If you could benefit from church consulting or have a question, Talanton Church Services is always here to help. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 405.343.8700 and we would love to come visit you. Once again this is the Talanton Church Services, Church Consulting Tulsa, and it’s our pleasure that you have spent time with us today.


Written for Talanton Church Services. Church Consulting Tulsa | Necessary Church Documents

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