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So, you have a board meeting coming up and you want the minutes to be perfect, but honestly, you are not sure that you know how to take minutes properly. After all, state law requires that minutes be taken at every board meeting and the IRS may fine your church and board members if the minutes fail to properly document decisions as rehired by section 4958. What does a church secretary do to ensure that the board meeting is properly called and documented?


The steps below will help you.

  1. Prepare an agenda: An agenda is a list of items to be discussed and considered at the board meeting. Make sure you follow the proper format. The format should have an opening, prayer, reading of the minutes from the previous board meeting, old business, new business, officer reports, open floor and closing.

  2. Send a notice: State law requires your ministry to comply with proper notice requirements. The notice must contain the date, time and location that a board meeting will take place. We recommend that you make every effort to send the notice at least 10 days in advance of the board meeting to give each board member enough time to prepare, and the necessary plans to attend. The notice should be sent by mail or email. If your bylaws allow, you can also post it in a conspicuous location in the church. When you send the notice, you should also attach a copy of the agenda and a copy of the minutes from the previous board meeting.

  3. Take notes: Note taking is probably the most difficult thing about a board meeting. What should one write? How much should one document? To make it easier, the minute taker should have a note taking form, like the one that the Compliance Kit creates for you, that is based on the agenda. At a minimum you should document minimal discussions, followed by a motion made to vote on the matter and who seconds the motion. Now, you document who votes yes and who votes no. If the majority of the votes are yes, then the item is passed; if the majority vote no, then it does not pass. I can stress how important it is to take good notes by allowing yourself to be guided by a good note taking form. If your bylaws allow, I recommend that you record the board meeting in audio format. It will be helpful if you need to hear a certain portion again.

  4. Convert the notes to minutes: Here is where your note taking form will shine. If you properly used it, all you have to do is convert the notes to a formal set of minutes. Each item on the agenda must have a discussion, a motion duly made, followed by who voted yes and who voted no and whether there were enough votes to pass the motion.

  5. Signatures: One confusing aspects about approving minutes if that the minutes you write for today’s board meeting are not approved until the next board meeting. That means at each board meeting, the board votes to approve the previous board minutes. It is important that once the minutes are approved, they be signed by at least two officers. I recommend that they be signed by the president and secretary.

  6. Corporate Seal: Aha! The corporate seal. Why have one? First of all, state law requires corporations to have a corporate seal. Secondly, the corporate seal serves to show that the content of a signed document is an act and deed of the ministry, as opposed to one that is merely signed by a director. A signature without a seal can be interpreted to be an act carried out on behalf of the ministry by its officers or directors. The seal makes it clear that you did not sign on your personal behalf, but rather as an act of the corporation (ministry). It keeps you from being held personally liable for the consequences of an act of the ministry. 

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