We love the jobs you hate
Gemma Adam, our Practical Services Director, returned to work in September after twelve months of maternity leave. Now that the dust has settled, we set her a few questions to find out a bit more about life leading the Practical Services team.
What has excited you about being back at work?
It has been exciting to see just how much has been achieved amongst our family of churches and in the FIEC office over the past year. I find we can so easily get wrapped up in our own personal witness and serving in our families and local churches, but the joy of being part of the work of FIEC is seeing the spread of the gospel on a much bigger scale.
What does your role as Practical Services Director involve?
My role is to ensure that our family of churches have access to excellent, helpful and relevant advice on all areas of compliance and regulation which affect churches. My work includes staff management, dealing with some complex trust matters for churches, advising the Trust Board of FIEC, meeting with the other FIEC directors to give a “practical” viewpoint, and assisting in the production of model documents, guidance notes, and articles for the website.
To borrow the old Mr Muscle kitchen spray slogan, I think you could say FIEC Practical Services “loves the jobs you hate”! Whether it’s Charity Commission guidance, employment contracts, trust deeds or tenancy agreements, we love to labour and deliberate over such things to make them work for Independent evangelical churches and we love to help churches that are in a muddle with these things.
What sort of work have the Practical Services team been doing recently?
To give you a bit of a flavour, we’ve helped a number of churches to adopt the FIEC model constitution and correct existing governing documents to enable them to register with the Charity Commission; we’ve advised individual churches on the terms of employment for their pastor and whether or not the pastor should be an employee or an office holder; we’ve helped a number of churches to release permanent endowment so that it can be used for the church’s general purposes; and we’ve given advice on building projects, the funding of overseas missionaries, and how the hosepipe ban affects baptisms!
What are the biggest challenges facing Practical Services in the coming months and how can we best pray for the work?
Sadly, we are having to deal with a couple of difficult church situations where there has been disagreement, and the lack of proper governing documents has exacerbated the situation. Please pray for real wisdom and sensitivity as we deal with these matters but also for them not to become all-consuming so that we are able to give full care and attention to our enormous and ever-growing workload.
How can churches find out more about Practical Services?
Please take a look at the Practical Services section on the FIEC website where you can find information about all of the services that we offer, and the charges we make for our advice and model documents.
We also have articles on the Resources page on a whole range of issues. These have replaced the old document we used to send out called ‘Blue Pages’, as the website enables us to keep our advice up-to-date and there is an excellent search function enabling information to be found more easily.