LC: 3. RIGHTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL: WITHIN THE HOME
Voting members have the right to:
A. Freely and regularly elect officers of the Home in which they reside, in accordance with the Election Rules in the "Fundamental Family Rules."
You have the right to elect your Home teamwork. Under the Election Rules section of the "Fundamental Family Rules" you'll find the explanation of what steps must be taken to elect the Home teamwork.
In the past, Home teamwork elections were held every three months. Many have commented that it takes almost that much time for a teamwork to settle into the job and to work well together. So in order to make things more workable, Home elections will now be held every six months.
Three months after each election there will be a vote of confirmation, at which time each Home will vote to confirm or not confirm their present teamwork for the second half of the six-month term of office. This is explained more fully in Election Rules, C.
I suggested ... long ago that the local Colonies should choose their own shepherds when they are old enough and experienced enough and sufficiently established in the Lord and the work to do so. In other words, when the children had grown up, they should be fit and trusted to govern themselves (ML #328C:41).
We want you to be able to choose your own Home teamwork, people you love and trust and respect as good shepherds, those who have courage to make the difficult decisions which shepherds need to make, who can encourage you to do your best for the Lord and His work, and who can correct you when you're not doing your best. These elections are not popularity contests, and you have a serious responsibility to desperately pray for the Lord to lead and guide you to choose those whom He wants to shepherd the Home. The elections should be accompanied by united prayer for the Lord's help and guidance (ML #2865:69).
B. Know the complete financial state of the Home in which they reside, including knowledge of all of the Home's financial assets, liabilities, income, expenditures and debts.
As financial matters are a very important part of the running of the Home, and can in many ways make or break a Home, it is imperative that all voting members of the Home, except those ages 16 and 17, be involved in the financial decisions. In order to make sound decisions, the voting members must know the complete state of the finances, so it is up to the teamwork to keep them informed of such.
As you read through the Charter, you will notice that there are a number of financial matters that need to be decided upon through voting; and a two-thirds majority, instead of just a simple majority of 51%, determines all financial votes.
Knowledge of the exact locations of Home funds and bank accounts is limited only to the Home teamwork and others they feel may need to know. It is the Home teamwork's responsibility to keep the Home's finances safe and secure. But the details of the exact amounts of assets, liabilities, income, expenses and debts are to be made known to all voting members. (Although there will be a greater knowledge of Home finances within the Home, Home members should take care not to discuss such financial matters with outsiders, or where the Home's children can overhear.)
Although 16- and 17-year-olds do not have a vote on financial matters, they still retain the right to know the state of the Home's finances. Likewise, they should still engage in the discussions regarding finances, and their views should be heard and considered.
Throughout the Charter, there is quite a bit said about finances, and especially about debts. Unfortunately, sometimes a Home has debts, and when it does, this can cause problems, which must be solved. We have attempted to give guidelines by which to solve those problems; in doing so, it has meant having to write a great deal on the subject. The goal, though, is to keep your Home out of debt, and if you do, then many of the portions of the Charter concerning Home debts will not affect you.
I want to reveal to the [members] the state of their finances: Where it goes and how it goes and so on! I want them to know everything they can possibly know about, due to the fact that it is their business, it is their money, it is being spent on them and their business and their work (ML #301A:24,46).
Communication will help shift the burden of the finances off the shoulders of just a few people in the Home teamwork and onto the shoulders of all the mature members in the Home. This way everyone's faith and prayers can pull together to seek the Lord for the Home's needs. Everyone will be aware of the Home's financial needs and will be able to pray specifically and desperately! (ML #2813:21.)
1. All financial obligations belong to the Home as a whole, and the Home unitedly determines how to meet them. Should a member decide to move out of the Home, the member is personally accountable for, and must pay, their portion of the Home's debts and/or liabilities. (Portion equals the amount of debts and liabilities divided by the number of voting members 18 years of age and older.)
a) 16- and 17-year-old members are exempt from all financial decisions and obligations.
All financial decisions and obligations belong to the Home as a whole, and the voting members are collectively responsible to pay these obligations. The financial stability of the Home will be determined by how much the Lord blesses the Home, most likely based on their prayers and obedience, and how wise they are in how they use the funds the Lord supplies. Homes which are praying for finances and are obedient to the Lord's leading will most likely do well. As Mama said, "Everyone can work in some way to help support the Home. ... Everyone can pray and search the Word for direction!" (ML #2929:43.) But how prayerful and obedient the Home is will be determined by the decisions of its voting members. If your Home has financial difficulties there will be no one to blame but yourselves, because the majority of the Home members will have made all the decisions, and unitedly you must all bear the responsibility of those decisions.
Our Family policy has always been against being in debt. Dad has written a number of Letters about paying your creditors, those whom you owe money for rent, utilities or whatever. He has always advocated "cash and carry"--that you pay for what you buy, and if you don't have the money for it you don't buy it. Dad said, "If there's anything you need to learn, it's how to live on a businesslike basis.--Common sense, no credit, cash and carry. ... Live within your income day by day, or week by week or month by month. Don't spend money you haven't got" (ML #701:23,67).
Generally our Homes have adhered to this practice and have paid their bills on time. Unfortunately, there have been times when Homes have gotten into debt. Usually these same Homes do not do so well spiritually or organizationally either, and often end up closing, and their members move on to other Homes. However, the last ones remaining in the Home have often been stuck with the unpaid bills. "Brethren, these things ought not so to be." So although it is against our general policy, debts do sometimes occur, and thus we must deal with the problem in this Charter.
In order to enforce our policy of no debts, there have been some changes made on the TRF Report Form that clearly reflect whether your Home is in debt. If your Home reports being in debt for two consecutive months, the Home will automatically be put on Probationary Notice, which means your WS mailings will be stopped. So as you can see, not paying your bills on time, thus being in debt, will have serious consequences. Probationary Notice will be explained more fully in the Procedures for Placing a Home on Probationary Notice.
For the purpose of this document, we will differentiate between being in debt and having liabilities. A debt is when you have a bill to pay and the payment is overdue. For example, if your telephone bill is due on a certain date, and you don't pay it by that date, then it becomes a debt, because it is the non-payment of a bill. If your rent is due on the first of the month, but you find that when the day comes to pay your rent you don't have the money, then you are in debt, because you have an unpaid bill that is past due.
A liability is when you owe a certain amount of money that you promise to pay back over time, paying a certain amount at a given time each month. For example, perhaps your Home took out a Home loan of $1,000 with the agreement to repay it at $100 per month for ten months. Although you now owe $1,000, it is considered a liability, not a debt. You have agreed to pay your "bill" at the rate of $100 each month. However, if one month you do not pay your $100 bill, then the payment of that "bill" would be late, and that $100 would become a debt. The remainder of the $1,000 to be repaid would still only be a liability unless any part of it also becomes due.
Another example of a liability would be in cases when a Home receives outreach tools from their PPC on credit, and promises to pay for these tools at a specific rate per month. As long as they are faithfully paying the agreed amount each month, then the total amount they owe to the PPC is a liability. Liabilities only become debts when they are not paid on time, and are then the non-payment or late payment of bills.
If your Home has liabilities, you won't be put on Probationary Notice, providing you are staying current on your payments of the agreed-upon amounts.
While you remain part of the Home, you--collectively with everyone else--are responsible for the debts and liabilities. This doesn't mean that each person in the Home has to bring in a certain amount of money to pay the debts or liabilities, as in some Homes there will be those whose main ministry is outreach, while others care for the children, and so forth. Those on outreach would generally be the ones to bring in the finances, while those in childcare make it possible for the outreach teams to go out by caring for the children.
Hopefully Homes will stay out of debt; however, if yours doesn't, and you wish to leave your Home that has run up debts, then you are responsible to pay your portion of the debts and liabilities before you leave, 16- and 17-year-olds excluded. Your Home came to a united agreement on its financial decisions, and thus you are responsible for a portion of these debts and liabilities. If the result of those decisions is that your Home goes into debt, you must share in the blame.
If you choose to leave a Home, your portion of the Home debts and liabilities will have to be determined. The following is the formula for this: One portion equals the sum of debts and liabilities divided by the number of voting members 18 and over. So if you have 10 voting members (who have reached the age of 18) and your Home is $1,000 in debt, then your portion is $100. (A debt or liability of $1,000 divided by 10 voting members over the age of 18 equals $100.) So before you can leave the Home, you need to contribute $100 to the Home to cover your portion, unless for some reason the Home votes to free you from this payment.
This is by no means a license to run up debts. We want to reiterate that it is not Family policy to have debts; but if your Home does get in debt, then such debts must be paid off.
Debts also include overdue payments on money borrowed by the Home from another member in the Home (for example, from personal funds raised to move to another field, or funds that he had brought with him to the Home and which the Home had agreed that he could keep upon joining the Home) or from a member of another Home. When the money is first borrowed, it is a liability; but if you default on paying the funds back within the agreed time, then it becomes a debt. Therefore all rules pertaining to the paying off of debts would apply.
For example, someone is raising funds to move to another Home, and the Home's car breaks down. The Home doesn't have enough funds for the repairs, so it borrows some of the funds that the person had set aside for their move (in accordance with the Charter), and promises to pay the person back before they leave. At that point, the funds borrowed are a liability. However, once the person leaves the Home, and the repayment is thus overdue, it becomes a Home debt. At that point, if the Home is in debt for two months, it would be subject to Probationary Notice, as with any debt.
It is because of this clause that we have set the voting age limit for financial matters at 18. Originally we were going to allow the 16- and 17-year-olds to vote on and be responsible for the financial issues, including the Home's debts and liabilities. If we had, this would have meant that you 16- and 17-year-olds would be responsible to pay your portion of the Home's debts and liabilities before you could join another Home. After much prayer and counsel, we felt that while you could participate in financial discussions in your Home council meetings and give your opinions, it would be best for you if you were not allowed to vote on financial matters. And thus not be responsible for the outcome of the decisions. This way you could learn about how the Home deals with its financial concerns so that you will have a full understanding of it by the time you are responsible for them when you reach 18.
All the adults in a Home should in some way bear the responsibility of the support of the Home. All adults should be aware of the financial state of the Home. And that means all the adults should know the specifics concerning how you're doing financially--how much money is on hand, how the money is being spent, how your Home budget and buffer are doing, what bills are owed, etc.--not just percentages, but actual amounts. All adults should feel responsible for the support of the Home, not just your outreach teams or your poor Business teamworker! (ML #2929:39.)
It will [work] if we all work together and each do his part and carry his share of the load, as well as receiving his share of the benefits!--Like those who solicit donations in return for our literature, "Muzzle not the ox that treadeth out the corn," and "The laborer is worthy of his hire," and "They that preach the Gospel shall live of the Gospel"! From each according to his ability--unto each according to his need, according to Acts 2 and 4! (ML #176:84.)
C. Determine, through voting, the Home's expenditures and other financial matters in accordance with the Responsibilities of the Charter Home: Regarding Financial Matters.
1. 16- and 17-year-old voting members have no vote or responsibility in their Home's financial decisions.
D. Bring up any matter in the appropriate Home council meeting and have it brought to a vote. The matter must be discussed and voted on within 15 days.
While it may be most appropriate to suggest topics for Home council meetings prior to the meeting, allowing for a predetermined agenda to be followed in the meeting, you are free to bring up any matter that you want to in the appropriate Home council. However, since the meeting will probably be following a predetermined agenda, it may be inappropriate to stop everything and discuss and vote on that matter right then. The person chairing the Home council meeting will make that decision. In any case, the topic needs to be discussed and voted on within 15 days.
After agreement is reached in a Home council meeting, the decisions of the voting members are to be implemented. So even if the Home teamwork feels the Home should do one thing, but the voting members vote to do something else, then the decision of the majority of the voting members is what should be carried out.
We all ... need to listen to each other, counsel together, agree together, decide together and then work it out together. If we're going to be an effective body, every member must work together with all the other members--not just one, not just a few, not even the majority, but with all working together as a body, which Christ described as His Body, the Church, and with Himself as the Head (ML #263:76).
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family