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The importance of trustees

By Alan Hough | 18 September 2020

Being a church or Christian charity trustee is a very important and hopefully rewarding role within the organisation that you serve. Good, effective churches and charities need good, effective trustees as an essential part of a broad and diverse leadership team. Romans 12 draws that familiar picture of the church as the ‘body of Christ’, urging each person to take their place for the benefit of all. Trustees are a valuable and indispensable part of that body.

Recently, we have written a suite of briefing papers looking at various aspects of trusteeship.

Charity structure and governance – an overview – This introductory paper is intended to set the scene for the others in this series. Using some fundamental questions, this paper paints a broad picture of charities and their governance structures and provides a context into which the other papers can be better understood.

What to look for in a trustee – This paper examines what to look for in a trustee in an age where charity regulators and the general public expect greater levels of professionalism than ever. The paper goes beyond eligibility and skills to consider the character and heart of a prospective trustee.

Effective ‘faith based’ trustee boards – For your church or charity to thrive it will need an effective trustee board: one able to make timely, well informed and well balanced decisions. This paper looks at what it looks like to run an effective trustee meeting but goes beyond that to consider what trustees should be doing away from the meeting and how trustee boards can develop to become ever more effective.

Trustees – financial responsibilities and reporting – The Charity Commission requires trustees to manage their charity’s resources responsibly. Whilst this extends beyond financial management, managing the church’s finances and its financial assets form a significant part of this responsibility. This paper looks at trustees’ responsibilities when it comes to accounting records, budgets and financial reporting.

Trustees – appointments, powers, duties and responsibilities – Trustees have extensive powers over how a church or charity is run. But with power comes both responsibilities and expectation. This paper seeks to explore all these aspects, drawing heavily on the Charity Governance Code and the Charity Commission guidance CC3, the essential trustee.

Spiritual leaders and trustees – Churches in the UK are ‘spiritual entities’ working out what it means to be part of the family of God, but in almost all cases, they are also legal entities. As a result they need to be steered by spiritual leaders, but also work within the UK regulatory framework. This paper looks at how those dual goals can be achieved and at some of the leadership models that we see operating in UK churches.

All these papers are free and can be accessed through the resources section of our website. We would encourage you to take a look and see how some of the issues discussed may impact your church or charity.

Read more

Charity structure and governance - an overview

What to look for in a trustee

Effective 'faith based' trustee boards

Posted by Alan Hough

Alan has an accounting background having worked in “the City” for more years than he cares to mention. He now works as an advisor and consultant to a number of Christian churches and charities seeking to help them better understand and embrace their finances.

On a good day, you might find him on out on his bike or at White Hart Lane cheering on his beloved Spurs.


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