Record Keeping Tip for Pastors

One of the duties of a pastor is to keep the church record books current. Baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals, all have to be recorded. While it’s fun to think of yourself like the apostle Paul (I don’t know how many I’ve baptized) you really do need to keep records. This is not only for your sake, but for your people’s as well. How is your successor (and short of the congregation closing under your tenure, there will one day be a successor) to know who to care for if records are not maintained? It is a terrible thing for a pastor to come in and find that the records have not been maintained for years or decades. The new pastor must now spend his first months tracking down addresses, phone numbers, names, etc. Visiting members is a great idea, but near impossible if no one knows who they are. So, spend the time and keep the records straight.
But here is my tip for pastors. It is small, but potentially critical.
Gel pens are all the rage. The flow-y ink makes writing so pretty. They don’t have the little breaks in the line the way old fashioned ball point pens do. But the ink is not water-resistant. Unless you store the books in a fire-proof water-proof sealed chamber, If your church is ever in a flood, or there is ever a fire, the books will get wet. The ink will run. In many cases, the records may be totally erased. An old fashioned bic pen (12 for a $1 at Walmart) will not run. If the paper is at all intact, you can still read the writing. Use those pens for your vitals records. It may not look as pretty. But these records aren’t for looks. They are for informational posterity.

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