Trustee: Overview

The board of trustees supervises and maintains all property belonging to your congregation so that the ministries of the congregation can be effective. The committee is entrusted to see to the proper keeping of God's house as a way to honor God and to facilitate the ministry of the local church.

The primary purpose of the church building and facilities is to enable the vision and ministry of the congregation. Good stewardship, common sense, and prudence dictate that the church, parsonage, facilities, property, equipment, furnishings, and other physical property be well maintained. A physical plant that is "well groomed" and attractive is much more welcoming, safe, and hospitable than one that shows signs of benign neglect. We honor God when we care for what has been entrusted to us...

-Adpated from Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation: Trustees, 2009-2012, p. 6-7. Copyright © 2008 by Cokesbury. Used by permission.

Read more from the Book of Discipline

Tasks and Responsibilities

The trustees together have several legal and administrative functions. They are to:

  • Oversee, maintain, and supervise all local church property. This would include conducting an annual inspection and inventory of all church property, including the parsonage.

  • Report annually to the charge conference on the state of the church's property, equipment, investments, and resources.

  • Receive and administer all gifts made to the congregation; make certain that all trust funds of the congregation are invested properly. Develop guidelines for receiving and managing wills, trusts, bequests, and other investments given to the church.

  • Ensure that the articles of incorporation of the congregation are kept up-to-date, if applicable.

  • Be responsible, in conjunction with the pastor, for all use of the church buildings and grounds.

  • Maintain adequate insurance coverage on all church property and develop appropriate risk management policies.

  • Submit to the committee on finance the annual budget requests for insurance, property maintenance and improvement, and new property purchases.

  • Be accountable to charge conference and to the church council.

-Adapted from Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation: Trustees, 2009-2012, p. 6, 12. Copyright © 2008 by Cokesbury. Used by permission.


The board of trustees is composed of not more than nine nor fewer than three members. Members of the committee are elected by the charge conference to serve a term of up to three years. At least one-third of the trustees shall be laywomen, one-third laymen, and two-thirds must be members of The United Methodist Church. A provision in the Book of Discipline allows for up to one-third of the trustees to be nonmembers of your church. There may be a person who is involved in your congregation, not yet a member, who would make a good trustee.

-Adapted from Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation: Trustees, 2009-2012, p. 11 and The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church--2008, ¶¶ 2524-2525.