You are on page 1of 48

By Annette Marquis

To determine criteria of good governance so boards can evaluate themselves on their


effectiveness in serving the congregation and its mission.
To review advantages and disadvantages of various model of governance from the Carver Model of
Policy Governance to other models of hierarchical and collaborative governance.
To discover ways to work effectively with professional staff, boards, committees, teams, and
members for the good of the congregation.
To explore ways of organizing to assure everyone is working to fulfill the congregation's mission.
To explore the key roles and responsibilities of congregation boards.
By Dan Hotchkiss
Governance and Ministry
Rethinking Board Leadership
Governance as Leadership:
Reframing the Work of Nonprofit
Boards
Richard P. Chait, William P. Ryan ,
Barbara E. Taylor
There is no right way to
organize a
congregation.
Some mistakes have
been made often
enough that it is only
fair to warn against
them.
We can know good
governance when we
see it.
Dan Hotchkiss, Governance and Ministry
A unified structure for making governance decisions:
Articulating mission and vision
Evaluating programs
Ensuring responsible stewardship of resources
A unified structure of making operational decisions
Program leaders (paid and unpaid) work harmoniously to
create effective programs with the support of a structure that
delegates authority and requires accountability.
A creative, open atmosphere for ministry
Members take advantage of the many opportunities to share
their talents and interests in an atmosphere of trust and
creativity in which structure, goals, and purposes are clear.

Dan Hotchkiss, Governance and Ministry
A congregation easily becomes an end in its
own mind recruiting people to an empty
discipleship of committee service, finance, and
building maintenance. Institutional
management is a necessary but ultimately
secondary function of a congregation. If souls
are not transformed and the world is not
healed, the congregation fails no matter what
the treasurer reports.
Dan Hotchkiss, Governance and Ministry
The Working Board Model
Committee-Centered Model
Staff-Centered Model
Governance and Ministry
Dan Hotchkiss, Alban Institute


This is a functional system up to about
150 at worship.
The Board is comprised of
Officers and at-large members
Chairs or representatives of committees



Board
Officers
and at-
large
Chair
Chair
Chair
Chair
Chair
Clergy
Advantages
Improves communication, everyone knows whats
happening in the congregation
People bring a lot of experience
Can make overall decisions by involving major areas of
the congregation
Disadvantages
It is prone to micro-management
A lot to ask of individuals to chair a committee and be
on the board inherent conflicts of interest
Different skills needed
Boring meetings
Not elected by the congregation
Clergy
Board
Committees handle operations of the
congregation in their area of
specialty/interest
Finance
Facilities
RE
Membership
Staff report to committees, at least
functionally
Advantages
People volunteer in area of specialty, Finance, Personnel, RE, etc
Committees are free to operate as they choose little oversight
Lots of people involved in every decision so people feel included
Disadvantages
Not bound through a common vision
Some committees become more powerful than others
Tends to create triangles
New ideas have to be run through multiple committees
Maintains the status quo, can get a "no" at any step, no one can say "yes"
Gives an illusion of accountability but authority generally resides with the
committee
Staff report to and are supervised by committees (Committees are very
bad at being bosses)
Clergy
Finance
Building
Board
Clergy
Finance
Building
Board
Staff
Add a staff member
Clergy
Finance
Building
Board
Staff
Add more staff
Personnel
Staff
Staff
Strong ministry-led congregations
Ministers "cast the vision"
Congregation does not have meetings of any
significance
The pastor can say yes or no
Teams are picked who are in favor of the task

NOTE: Uncommon in UU Congregations



Board
Staff
Clergy
Staff
Staff
Advantages
This model begins with the goal of saying "yes"
Infinitely scalable-model of ministry teams
Committees have nothing to do but ministry -
teams rather than committees
Disadvantages
Congregation has little say in what happens
When people are unhappy, they leave
When the minister leaves, people leave
Elected Committees and
Committee Chairs
Staff Reporting to Committees
Multiple governing boards
Operations Board
Programs Board
A unified structure for making governance decisions:
Articulating mission and vision
Evaluating programs
Ensuring responsible stewardship of resources
A unified structure of making operational decisions
Program leaders (paid and unpaid) work harmoniously to create
effective programs with the support of a structure that delegates
authority and requires accountability.
A creative, open atmosphere for ministry
Members take advantage of the many opportunities to share their
talents and interests in an atmosphere of trust and creativity in which
structure, goals, and purposes are clear.
Dan Hotchkiss, Governance and Ministry
Minister and Board share the vision
Committees are used only in its original sense - to help a
body to do its job - helps the board to do the boards
work Program teams, ministry teams rather than
committees
Minister and board have unique responsibilities and joint
responsibilities
Staff Team (as Ministers)
Practical work
Board (as governors)
Fiduciary Work
Shared Functions (As discerners)
Planning work
Generative work

Board Staff
Committees Teams
Governance Ministry
Accountability
Policies
Board Staff
Governance Ministry
Oversight Management
Discernment
Strategy
As governors
As discerners
As ministers
Roles of Board and Staff
Lay
Leader
Ministry
Leader
Obey the law
Obey your constituted documents, by-laws
Make sure that anything a board member votes for is legal
under the by-laws
Obedience
Be diligent
Attend meetings
Read board packets
Care
Be an advocate for the congregation
Dont do anything to harm the congregation
Loyalty
Governance
Philosophy of
governance
Board covenant
Board self-
government
Board agenda
Board committees
Conflicts of interest
Discipline and removal
of board members
Discernment
Mission Statement
Who are we?
What difference do we
make, and for whom?
Core Values
What principles do we
intend to observe, no
matter what
Open Questions
What are the
unanswered questions
about our mission that
we will reflect upon in
the coming year?
Strategy
What major choices
have we made about
how we will fulfill our
mission?
Program development
plan
Membership
development plan
Capital Plan
Staffing Plan
Vision of Ministry
In what new and
different ways will we
transform lives in the
next 3-5 years?
Program
development goals
Membership
development goals
Capital budget
Operating budget
Management
Delegation to staff
Global Delegation
Staff Structure
Delegation to Others
Care for people
Health & safety
Nondiscrimination
Universal access
Congregational
covenant
Care for staff
Compensation &
benefits
Creating and filling
staff positions
Discipline and
discharge of staff
Whistle-blower
protection
Grievances
Personnel manual
Care for resources
Financial controls
Insurance
Capital reserves and
endowments
Document retention
Powers reserved to
the board
Oversight
Monitoring
Financial reports
Staff reports
Board inquires
Financial Audit
Evaluation
Program evaluation
Board and head of staff
evaluation
Staff evaluation
Clergy leader
performance review
Advantages
Congregation views leadership as working together as a team
Moves away from having bodies who do both policy-making and
do the work
Vision is shared by board and minister
Clarity of roles of ministry teams
Disadvantages
Requires trust between the board, the minister, and the ministry
leaders
Members are less involved in decision-making
Dan Hotchkiss, Alban Institute
Basis for the governance system is policies
Board has limited role. Their purpose is to
answer three questions:
Whom do we serve?
For what reason?
At what cost?

Board handles their own governance

Sets executive limitations - a fence around the


paid staff. Staff is free to act as long as they
operate within those limits

Board speaks with one voice



CEO - Chief Executive
Officer
Does not truly exist in
organizations with
congregational polity. The
CEO in our congregations is
more of a general manager.
Congregations have the final
word.
COO - Chief Operating
Officer
The individual who guides the
day-to-day operations, usually
with an administrative
emphasis. Highly functioning
church administrator.
CSO - Chief Staff Officer
(General Manager)
Charged with responsibility for
general oversight of the staff
system. In reality, most of our
senior ministers have
supervisory management
responsibilities but must
involve the board in senior
level hiring and firing.
A congregation and its lay leaders grant authority to staff in order for it to morally hold staff
accountable for its actions.
Congregation
Board of Trustees
Minister or
Executive Team
Program
Ministry with
children and
youth
Worship Pastoral Care
Development
Fundraising Investments Grant-writing
Operations
Finance Human Resources Facilities
Ends
An end statement is a big mixing bowl - an outcome to be achieved,
for whom, and for what cost? A congregation might have 7 or so end
statements.

Executive limitations
sit in smaller bowls inside the end statement in order to restrict
actions in completing the end statement.
For example, can't misspend money to achieve the end.

If it's not spelled out as a limitation, anything can be done once.

Based on past history, board might create a limitation based on
failure.
Our members and friends will enjoy a deeply,
meaningful, transforming liberal religious experience
through inspirational worship, education and individual
spiritual practice.


Outcome: "will enjoy a deeply, meaningful,
transforming liberal religious experience"

For Whom: "Our members and friends"

At what cost: "inspirational worship, education and
individual spiritual practice"

Advantages
Board is free to focus on vision questions
Volunteers are engaged in meaningful ministry
Staff and the minister are evaluated on pre-
established goals
Disadvantages
Minister is focused on running the church, not
much time left for ministry
Gives significant control to the minister
Richard Chait and his colleagues argue that
we should shift emphasize modes over
models in seeking to govern well.

Richard Chait, William Ryan and Barbara
Taylor, Governance As Leadership: Reframing
the Work of Nonprofit Boards (Hoboken: John
Wiley & Sons, 2005)
Type 3: Generative
Prevent
theft, waste
or misuse of
resources.
Ensure that
resources are
deployed
effectively.
Promote
lawful and
ethical
behavior.
The board
speaks with
one voice.
Safeguard
the mission
against
unintentional
drift and
unauthorized
shifts in
purpose.
Can we afford it?
Is the budget balanced?
Is it legal?
How much money do we need to raise?
Should we move resources from one
program to another?
Is staff turnover reasonable?
Are we treating staff fairly and
respectfully?
Type 1
Questions
Oversees
strategic
planning
process and
articulates
what matters
most for the
future.
Aims to
construct a
consensus
about what the
congregations
strategy
should be.
Crafts forms
and structures
to mirror the
congregations
priorities and
values.
Builds
authority,
responsibility
and
accountability
into the
system.
Whats the plan?
What other congregations are doing this
and what can we learn from them?
What can we do to improve the
congregations image in the community?
How can more people know we are
here?
How can we address the growing
number of children in our congregation?
Type II
Questions
Defines what
knowledge,
information
and data
mean.
Thinks
retrospectively
and constructs
the
congregations
dominant
narrative.
Chooses and
uses new
frames of
reference.
Engages
others within
(and beyond)
the
congregation
in generative
thinking.
How do we meet peoples spiritual needs?
How do we make this a great place to
work?
How to we assure our children incorporate
liberal religious values into their lives?
How do we live our values in our
community?
Why did our minister leave?
Type III
Questions
Type 1: Board as
Control Mechanism
dam : river
curbstone :
roadway
air traffic controller
: pilot
landlord : tenant
Type II: Board as
Direction Setter
compass :
navigation
headlights :
automobile
rudder : boat
guidance system
: satellite
Type III: Board as
Meaning-Maker
inspiration : poet
conscience : ethical
person
spirit : higher
purpose
1. Your facility is crowded on Sunday mornings and there is parking and limited
space for religious education.
2. A Board member was arrested for public exposure in a children-focused
restaurant.
3. Your canvass campaign was 10% over projections.
4. Two African American men were arrested in your community for protecting an
African American woman from being beaten by a white man
5. You were left an undesignated bequest of $20,000.
6. It was just discovered that your treasurer has not made any deposits from the
Sunday collection in 6 months.
7. Three youth were caught drinking in the building.
8. Your minister announced his/her resignation.
9. A member sent out an email to selective members of the congregation - the
email used derogatory language to blast the president and the board.

What are the board questions?
Fiduciary
Strategic
Generative
Board researches
models
Invites wider
conversation with
committees
Reflection
Stage
A tentative decision
about what we are
going to try.
Decision (1)
Try the new model.
"permission to play" rather than
suspending the by-laws.
Appoint a special committee called
the Policy Board-delegate all
authority to them.
Trial
After the trial, make
the changes necessary
to implement the new
model
Decision (2)
It's easier to start a
new thing than to
replace something
in existence.
It's easier to create
new norms of
behavior for new
people than it is to
change norms of
behavior for old
people.
If you tell people
what's being
discussed, who is
discussing it, when
a decision will be
made, people will
tolerate a lot of
top-down
decisions.
Special thanks to Dan Hotchkiss and Richard
Chait for their valuable work in the area of
governance

and

to the participants of the Art of Governance workshop for their
commitment to improving the quality of governance in their
congregations in order to fulfill our grand Unitarian Universalist
vision of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.