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Policy-Based Governance


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An overview of John Carver's Policy Governance model applied to churches, with examples from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua

Published in: Spiritual
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Policy-Based Governance

  1. 1. Policy-Based Governance for ChurchesAn Overview Presented by Gary Lerude
  2. 2. What is Governance?How a group or body organizes itself to carry out its Mission and Vision Effectively Efficiently In harmony with its values 2
  3. 3. What Are We Trying to Achieve?A governance system that Clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the governing board, staff, committees, volunteers Enables the governing board to focus on the church’s vision, long- range goals, and policies Builds community, encourages programs, and empowers initiative Supports growth 3
  4. 4. The Policy Governance® Model Developed by John Carver Governing Board Integrated system of governance First adopted by non-profits Where are we Since used and tailored by UU going? churches, districts, and the UUA How are we going to get The governing board discerns the there? strategic goals (Carver calls them “Ends”) and defines the “limitations” within which the church must operate Minister, Staff, Minister, staff, committees, volunteers Committees, work to achieve the goals within the Volunteers limitations defined by the board4
  5. 5. Flow of Authority and AccountabilityReflects Congregational Polity,where each congregation is autonomous “Staff” • Paid staff “Executive” • Committees • May be an • Volunteers individual Governing (the Minister) Board or a team • Elected by • The Minister church typically leads Church members the team Members • Ultimate authority5
  6. 6. An Integrated Governance System The governing board identifies the needs of Congregation the congregation and larger community Larger Community The board discerns and articulates goals to address the needs – Governing consistent with the church’s vision Board and mission Closed Loop Minister Executive Executive TeamThe Minister, staff, committees, andvolunteers offer programs and provide Staff Volunteers Committeesservices to achieve the goals. Staff 6
  7. 7. Carver’s Four Governance Policies Bylaws Church Bylaws Overarching governing document for the church Governance Process The Board’s job and how the Board Governance Process will do its job Board-Executive Linkage Board – Executive The Board’s relationship to the “Executive” and how the Board Linkage monitors Executive performance Strategic Goals or “Ends” Strategic Goals What the church aims to achieve Executive Limitations The boundaries within which the “Executive” and “Staff” are free to Executive Limitations operate7
  8. 8. Common Topics for Discussion Is our church big enough for Policy-Based Governance? I don’t like the language – Executive, CEO – we’re not a business Should we have a single Executive or a team? We’re giving too much power to the Minister, Board, etc. I don’t want the Board to lose visibility into what’s going on! We spend every Board meeting wordsmithing policies. I want to do something! Do we have to write all the policies before adopting Policy-Based Governance?• Adopting a new Governance model is a big change – so the process generates lots of questions and requires considerable dialog.• Don’t become paralyzed by over analyzing. Try and iterate.• Policy Governance won’t build trust in a congregation if trust is lacking.8
  9. 9. UU Nashua’s Governance Structure Church Membership Financial Nominating Records Review Board of Trustees Board Committees or Linkages • Investment Review • Personnel • Stewardship Executive Team • White Wing School • Minister • Director of Religious Education Minister • Church Administrator and Membership Coordinator Executive Team • Treasurer Staff Volunteers Committees9
  10. 10. UU Nashua’s Strategic Goals Worship & Spiritual Vision & Development Mission Congregational Religious Fellowship Education Maintenance of Our Facility Social & Community Environmental Involvement Justice Denominational Presence10
  11. 11. UU Nashua Strategic Goal Examples Worship & Spiritual Development We enable spiritual growth, for each of us and as a church community. We provide a place where new and long-time members from various religious backgrounds feel free to question their beliefs and find support in seeking their own personal insights into lifes meaning and value. We encourage each member to decide what is truly important in his or her life and to make life changes accordingly. Religious Education Our religious education program uses the sources, traditions and principles of Unitarian Universalism and the world’s religions to help our youth and adults develop a religious and spiritual basis for living life, with all of its joys and difficulties. We help them to think for themselves in developing their own beliefs, values, and principles.11
  12. 12. Executive Limitations Examples Treatment of Church Members and Visitors With respect to interactions with Church members and visitors, including children, the Executive Team shall not cause or allow conditions, procedures, or decisions that are unsafe, undignified, unnecessarily intrusive, or that fail to provide appropriate confidentiality or privacy. Financial Condition and Activities With respect to the actual, ongoing financial condition and activities, the Executive Team shall not cause or allow the development of fiscal jeopardy or a material deviation of actual expenditures and income from the annual budget approved by the congregation or Board priorities established in the Church Purpose and Goals.12
  13. 13. UU Nashua TimelineChurch Year Activity 2002-2003 • Board began studying Policy Governance 2003-2004 • Church Goals developed and adopted by the Board, and presented at the Annual Meeting (June 2004) 2004-2005 • Board drafted remaining Governance policies • Executive Team defined by Board and Steve Edington • One year trial of Policy-Based Governance model planned for 2005-2006 church year • Dialog with committees and the congregation 2005-2006 • Trial of Governance model, September – May • Board officially adopted Policy-Based Governance, based upon initial experience and positive feedback 2006-2007 • Board formed Bylaws committee to recommend updates to the Bylaws, to be consistent with Governance model June 2010 • Congregation adopts revised Bylaws13
  14. 14. Summary Policy-Based Governance has proven effective in UU churches Better defines roles and responsibilities Allows Board to focus on the long-term and strategic questions Empowers paid staff, committees, and volunteers Enables us to better carry out our mission Implementation of the model can and should be tailored Needs and circumstances of the congregation Will evolve with time Resources for Further Study Policy Governance® web site UUA’s Wiki web site on Policy Governance14
  15. 15. Policy-Based Governance for Churches Policy-Based Governance for Churches by Gary Lerude is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.15