A quick walk through of many churches or assessment of basic files reveals there are necessary but often overlooked documents that are needed. Especially when it comes to personnel.
I asked Human Resource expert and owner of Thomas Bickham Group, Ms. Precious Bickham, to answer a question: what basic documents or paperwork does every church need?


Having an employee handbook is a must. Your handbook serves two important purposes: 1. letting your employees know what you expect of them, and
2. protecting your business in case there is a dispute.

An employee handbook can be as simple or as complex as you want, but there are some general approaches, depending upon the nature of your business, that you need to consider. A few benefits of having a handbook are:

  • An introduction for new employees to the policies, procedures and culture of your company
  • A helpful tool for employees and supervisors to understand and consistently adhere to organizational practices
  • A reliable basis for employee performance management and disciplinary actions
  • Legal evidence that your company’s policies are consistent with and encourage adherence to employment laws


You must keep three specific files for each employee in your business. These files are:

  • I-9 File: This form is used by the U.S. Government to identify and verify that your employees are eligible to work in the U.S. Keep all of your employee I-9 files together, in one file, instead of under individual employee names.
  • Employee General File: This is a file you create for your own benefit. It contains any documentation associated with that employee that you’ve collected during their time with you. This includes resumes, reviews, disciplinary action, training verification, evaluations, W-4 forms, payroll details, and so on. You will use this file often.
  • Employee Medical File: These files will contain notes from doctors, disability information, and any medical information that you have on an employee. Because you are dealing with medical information, you must protect and secure these files from others. That is why these are separate from general files. Be sure to keep them in a locked and secure place.


Depending on the laws of the country and/or state your business is in, you may be required to post information in an easily accessible place. Types of posters include Employee Rights Poster, Equal Employment Opportunity Poster, Job Safety and Health to name a few. These vary from place to place, so you will want to work with a local government agency or legal counsel to make sure you have met the requirements.

If your church or business is in need of assistance with these documents or general Human Resource help, The Thomas Bickham Group is available for consultation on all your human resource needs. Click here to visit their site. Give them a call at 832.390.2230 or email at info@tbickham.com

–Pastor Anthony C. Cobbs
Breakthrough Ministry Consulting