Operations Managers: What do they do for the Presbytery and Congregations?
In my travels around the Presbytery I am often asked: “What does an Operations Manager actually do?” or “What can you do for my congregation?”
Let’s firstly look at my duties as prescribed in the Position Description along with duties I have picked up along the way during my seven months at the Presbytery.
Provide support to the Presbytery Secretary as required in PRC/SC/ SOB, Ministers Gatherings and meetings of Presbytery:
- Point of contact for congregations/ministry agents for items on agenda
- Develop agendas in partnership with the Presbytery Secretary
- Distribute papers via drop box/email alerts
- Attend all meetings to facilitate as required
Support of Presbytery Ministers
- Work with and support Presbytery Ministers incorporating the vision and mission plan of Presbytery
- Support of Ministers in Placement to access; Corporate and Purchasing cards
- Travel reimbursement
- Responsible for Presbytery to be compliant with Terms of Placements and related documents
- Advise Presbytery and Congregation with respect to SYNOD and Presbytery payroll
- Provide information and support on implications of business activities
- Document By-Laws at the direction of Standing Committee
- Document Committee Processes and Policies
- Develop Processes in line with Synod Policies regarding Grant applications, sale of proceeds and Conservation Management Plans for congregations
- Researching new technologies and alternative methods of efficiency
- Develop and maintain an Operations Manual for all Presbytery functions
- Compliance with SYNOD Policies and Legislative requirements
- Responsible for day-to-day overseeing of all financial and accounting functions
- Responsible with Presbytery Treasurer for all payroll related duties
- Provide bookkeeping support to the Presbytery Treasurer
- Responsible for signatories of Presbytery’s 16 accounts, approval of transactions and reports with the Treasurer to Presbytery meetings.
- Provide timely and accurate analysis of budgets with Presbytery Treasurer
- Provide input to strategically enhance financial and business performance and opportunities
- Policy and procedure development for Presbytery oversight/management of:
- Proceeds of sale
- Management of redundant properties
- Repairs/Maintenance on properties for which Presbytery has responsibility
- Compliance with SYNOD Policies and Legislative Property requirements
- Maintain Property Register data as integrated into Presbytery files
- Member of Presbytery Property Committee
- Member of Reid Heritage Committee
- Member of the Pilgrim House Policy Committee
- Participate in review of Presbytery congregational assets
- Facilitate handovers of closing congregations and Faith Communities
- Prepare Policies and Procedures relating to Property matters
- Liaise with other team members, including interacting with managers of different areas of the Church, presenting findings to stakeholders and committees
- Provide leadership and direction for staff and congregations regarding the operational matters of the Presbytery office
- Work with congregations and facilitate workshops for Treasurers, Sale Proceeds, Heritage Properties
- Develop effective and efficient ITC systems to enable Presbytery Communication, record-keeping, office functioning
- Manage IT contracts, negotiations and compliance
- Provide guidance with contractual requirements for staff members relating to employment, leave, Position Descriptions and Payroll
- Prepare Policies for Ministers and employees such as Presbytery Vehicle/E-Tag Policy and Financial Delegation Policy
- Prepare policies and documents such as Treasurers Handbook, Position Descriptions for Presbytery Chair, PRC Chair and Presbytery Treasurer
Now we have looked at what I am responsible for let’s look at what I might be able to do for your congregation:
Support of Presbytery Ministers
When your congregation calls a new Minister, sometimes the financial and remunerative details are not quite as straightforward as previous Terms of Placement arrangements. What I can do to help with that:
- Provide templates for Placement documents that are compliant with Presbytery and SYNOD. I am also working on checklists for the Congregation Treasurer to use when calculating remunerations
- Review your Terms of Placement documents before signing
- Provide solutions in order to navigate any road blocks in getting your new Minister in Placement
This is a big one for congregations. I, along with our invaluable Property Committee, can assist you in many property questions and requirements.
- Provide Hazard reports on your buildings regarding asbestos. I am currently in the process of arranging all these reports to be issued to your Church Council so you are aware of any requirements when maintaining properties.
- Provide assistance in preparing Heritage Property CMP’S (Conservation Management Plan)
- Provide the Policy on Proceeds of Sale and “How to set up a Vision Statement” along with the Five Marks of Mission which are all required for approval of the distribution of Sale Proceeds
- Provide advice on property leases
- Provide advice on maintenance programs
- Provide assistance and documents on Faith Community Property transfers
- Arrange property inspections by the Property Chair to determine major works
This is such a new concept for some congregations, but a vital one in order to get your message out there and encourage new members. I am currently arranging with the Head of Information Technology & Systems IT for Uniting Resources to provide specific training and access to set up new web pages which will provide users with a better format and a more user-friendly web page. Watch this space for more information on this exciting project.
In my work for Presbytery I am responsible for implementing and providing advice to Standing Committee and the Presbytery Treasurer on all Finance matters. This has provided me with a unique window in Congregation life as well as insight into the challenges faced by Congregation Treasurers today. In the latter half of the year I am arranging a workshop to cover all forms of Governance for Congregations including Finance. Real congregation Treasurers, Church Council Chairs and Secretaries will be on hand who are aware of your day-to-day issues and challenges. Again, watch this space for information, and don’t miss out on the limited spots available in the first two work shop days. I hope to see you there!
Processing payroll each fortnight or each month is a challenging task. With changes to the Taxation Reporting Requirements coming in next year, many congregations are moving to SYNOD Payroll to provide these services. I encourage all congregations to look into this option further and I can provide contacts within payroll to support you in your transition across. It’s quite an exhaustive process but well worth it in the end. In conjunction with the Presbytery Treasurer, I am in the process of moving all of Presbytery staff and Presbytery Office Ministers over to the new system as we speak. I can provide assistance on these matters and I am available for any questions or queries. I have been told by those congregations on the new payroll systems that it’s not without its problems. However, all new endeavours cause some waves and I’m sure we can work through this together to achieve a positive outcome.
This particular blog has been quite a long one but I feel it’s also an important one. I hope this information provides an insight into Presbytery responsibilities and duties and to know more about what we can do for you.
I would also like to give my deepest and sincerest thanks to our many volunteers who provide a great amount of their own time to help Presbytery and Congregations carry on their important work. With a special mention to:
John Sutton, Presbytery Treasurer
Mike Evans, Property Committee Chairman
Keith Thomas, Property Committee member, specialist in property maintenance and management
Without these amazing chaps I couldn’t do what I do and it’s as simple as that.
I’m signing off now as I have a few e-mails to answer. If you have feedback about this blog, my role, or would like more information on topics (or maybe a suggestion for a new story), I would love to hear from you. Please contact me via my details below.
For now, stay safe and go well.
Canberra Region Presbytery
The Uniting Church in Australia
Office – 6248 9311
Mobile-0455 558 130