LC: 26. RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITY OF AREA OFFICERS
Area officers are non-WS officers appointed by the continental office, and subject to the approval of WS leadership. A Home referendum on the confirmation of area officers must be held in accordance with the Election Rules in the "Fundamental Family Rules."
The area officers are appointed by the continental office, and are subject to WS leadership's approval. Area officers must be confirmed twice each year on specified dates as outlined in the Election Rules, C. 2. This does not mean that the Homes elect area officers, they only vote to confirm or not to confirm them.
For example, if the continental office appoints an area officer (Visiting Servant), the VS can begin his duties immediately, providing WS approves the appointment. Then, depending on when the next vote of confirmation is held, this VS may visit the Homes for a few months before the date arrives for the Homes to vote on his confirmation. At the vote of confirmation, if the Homes confirm the VS' appointment, then he will remain a VS for the next six months until the next vote of confirmation, unless the continental office has reason to dismiss him from his duties. If you are unhappy with your Visiting Servant, you can vote against confirmation. If a simple majority of the Homes vote the same way, then the Visiting Servant will be replaced.
Area officers are responsible to:
A. Fulfill the Obligations of All Family Officers.
B. Supply Home visitation services for their area.
One of the main reasons for developing the Charter was to allow each Home to govern itself without much, if any, outside help from leadership. Visitation by overseers is not a right granted to the Homes by the Charter. Since the number of VSs will be limited, it remains to be seen how much visitation they will be able to undertake.
Homes and their members must assume the responsibility for management of their affairs, and not expect their VSs to sort things out for them. We need to move away from Homes and individuals constantly looking to leaders to tell them what to do or to answer all of their questions. You must look more to the Lord for answers, as it is just not humanly possible for your leaders to handle the myriad of decisions that our Homes worldwide face.
The Charter is a guide to help you know how to govern your Home, how to make decisions and how to sort out problems. You've been given a great deal in the way of rights, and it is also clearly stated what your responsibilities are, so it's now up to you to apply this to your life and to your Home. It is therefore vitally important that you study the Charter, and if some problem or question comes up, you should endeavor to solve or answer it according to the Word within the parameters of the Charter.
When the Visiting Servants come for a visit, you are expected to welcome them and to treat them with hospitality and respect. They are there as representatives of your continental office and their intent is to be a help to you.
C. Carry out duties assigned to them by the continental office.
The continental office will be the one to assign the area officers their specific duties.
D. Regularly keep the continental office informed of their personal activities, and the general activities of their area.
E. Determine major decisions by a simple majority vote of their teamwork of officers. In the event of a tie vote, the officers must submit the question to their continental office.
Because our leadership positions are teamworks, there is no one individual that has sole authority or responsibility. Major decisions facing the area office must therefore be made by a majority vote of the area officers after prayer and discussion about the matter. Not every matter has to be decided upon by voting, but major ones that affect the overall area and/or teamwork do need to be decided in counsel and prayer together.
F. Attempt to settle, by prayer and counsel, any matters between their area's Homes that the Homes are not able to resolve.
Although the Homes should be able to settle most matters that may come up between them on their own, there may be times when they can't. In such cases, the area officers can be called upon to try to help settle them.
G. When visiting a Home, offer advice and counsel to help them progress spiritually, physically or organizationally, as well as advice on the well being of the members, including children. How and if such advice is implemented must be agreed upon by a simple majority of the Home.
Area officers may and should point things out to the Homes when visiting, and give them tips and counsel on any subject to help them progress and to take good care of their members. Such counsel does not need to be enacted unless the Home agrees to do so. However, if the area officers find that your Home is falling short in some aspect of the Charter or the "Fundamental Family Rules," and they point this out to the Home, the Home is expected to make whatever changes are suggested. If not, they are in jeopardy of being placed on Probationary Notice
The VSs may make suggestions to the teamwork regarding ways to help the personnel in the Home become happier or to overcome problems. It is within their authority to recommend to the teamwork that someone in the Home be placed on Probationary Status if they feel it is necessary. Placing a member on Probationary Status is a Home decision, though, so the area officer can't enact it, but only recommend it.
The Visiting Servants are merely to express our opinions and remind you of the Word and the Letters and the laws of God already set down in love, and to lovingly guide and counsel you from the direction of your World leadership and the Lord's, the Letters' leadership, our leadership (ML #1209:51).
It's not up to the visitor to make the decisions, it is up to the visitor, evangelist, preacher, prophet, etc., simply to preach the Word. ... Whether it's the Bible or MO Letters, give'm the Word, and then let them make their own decisions. They're supposed to be able to tell the people what to do, what the Word says to do, and to guide them spiritually, counsel them spiritually, advise them spiritually. But then people have to make their own decision (ML #1002:101,109).
H. Check on the Home's financial status, and as such, have the authority to audit their records and finances.
An area officer can ask the Home about their financial status, and can, if deemed necessary, inspect the Home's financial records, including confirming the amount of Home funds on hand.
Audit their books and see where the money is going , why and what for and how much income they've got and why not. (ML #701:44).
I. Determine, through visitation, observation and investigation, as well as discussion with Home members, whether a Home and/or individuals within the Home are fulfilling the Responsibilities of Individual Members and/or the Responsibilities of the Charter Home.
1. Upon discovery of an individual who is not fulfilling the Responsibilities of Individual Members, area officers must begin the Procedures for Moving a Charter Member to Fellow Member Status.
2. Upon discovery of a Home which is not fulfilling the Responsibilities of the Charter Home, area officers must begin the Procedures for Placing a Home on Probationary Notice.
When the area officers pay a visit to a Home, they are supposed to observe, investigate and talk with Home members, among other reasons to determine if the Home and the Home members are fulfilling their responsibilities.
If an individual member is not fulfilling the Responsibilities of Individual Members, the area officer has the option of suggesting to the Home that the member be put on Probationary Status, which is subject to the Home's final decision, as covered in Procedures for Placing a Member on Probationary Status.
If the offense is more serious and appears to warrant it, the area officer has the authority and must begin the Procedures for Moving a Charter Member to Fellow Member Status.
Or if a whole Home is errant, the area officer can likewise begin the Procedures for Putting a Home on Probationary Notice.
Or if the area officer encounters a member who has been accused of committing an excommunicable offense, the area officer is likewise authorized to and must take action, as outlined in the following clause.
For details on the various options--that is, Probationary Status, Fellow Member Status, Probationary Notice and Excommunication--please see the Procedures section of the Charter.
Just admonish them in love the first time, but if they won't take the hint then give'm "the word with the bark on it" ... and warn'm. If they still won't take it, God's Word says, "After the first and second admonition cast them out." That's Scripture, that's the Bible, that's Christian, that's Apostolic, that's Jesus and His Own laws! So don't tell us we're being too hard or anything. (Titus 3:10; Matthew 18:15-17.) (ML #1202:55.)
J. Investigate all accusations of excommunicable offenses, and report their findings to the continental office.
In some cases, investigation of an excommunicable offense can be waived. (See Procedures for Excommunicating Family Members, B. 2. a.)
K. Give approval for a Home to open in a city that already has a Charter Home, providing there is agreement between the Homes in the city and the area officers, in accordance with the Procedures for Opening a Home in a City that Already Has a Charter Home.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family