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Board Responsibilities: Webinar January 2012

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This webinar is designed to help congregational boards understand the nature of their work--what is it, and what is it not! It is designed as orientation and thought piece.

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Board Responsibilities: Webinar January 2012

  1. 1. Webinar onBoard Responsibilities will begin soon!
  2. 2. BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES:WHAT IS A BOARD TO DO?Lisa Presley,District Executive, Heartland District, MidAmericaRegion
  3. 3. BROUGHT TO YOU BYMIDAMERICA REGIONCentral MidWest, Heartland and Prairie StarDistricts
  4. 4. WELCOME! Welcome Introductions Technical Issues
  5. 5. THIS WEBINAR IS BEINGRECORDED
  6. 6. BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES:WHAT IS A BOARD TO DO?Lisa Presley,District Executive, Heartland District, MidAmericaRegion
  7. 7. WHAT IS A BOARD? Body of people committed to the well-being of the congregation Legal entity responsible for the congregation  First among equals Granted powers of decision making by:  State/Commonwealth by law  Congregation through bylaws  Tradition and history
  8. 8. JOBS OF BOARD Fiduciary  Duty of care, loyalty to mission, and obedience to foundational documents Govern by Policy  Create the policies that will guide all four aspects of congregational life  Create policies that will articulate the ―separation of duties‖ and delegate responsibility and authority appropriately Spend time on ―open questions‖  Who are we, where are we going, what is next
  9. 9. WHAT IS IT RESPONSIBLE FOR? Three separate (but related) obligations:  Fiduciary – duty of care  Strategic – duty of planning  Generative – duty of forward thinking Governance as Leadership
  10. 10. FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITIES Duty of loyalty and care for the congregation through:  Financial oversight to protect against waste, theft or misuse and ensure resources used effectively and efficiently  Mission oversight to make sure that congregation does not unintentionally drift or intentionally shift from its main mission/goals  Oversight to protect from foreseeable harm
  11. 11. FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITIES Not only legal imperatives but also moral and practical imperatives Set the tone and tenor of how the congregation is, should be and could be ―Trustee‖ holds assets for the benefit of another—Board members hold the congregation as a trust for future generations and for its mission ―Technical‖ work, not adaptive—finding the best way to do what we know needs to be done, and has been done before by others
  12. 12. FIDUCIARY QUESTIONSDo our systems and procedures protect: The congregation from financial loss or downturn? The people from physical, psychological or spiritual harm? Our children and other vulnerable adults from abuse? Our buildings/campus from loss and destruction? Us from being sued for things over which we should have control?
  13. 13. STRATEGIC RESPONSIBILITIES Shiftfrom internal review and oversight to looking at possibilities ―out there‖ How to get from Point A to Point B Big picture of congregation’s future: look to internal strengths and weaknesses and align with external opportunities and threats Look for where going, and what could be doing Focusing on the next 3-5 years Moving from ―technical‖ to ―adaptive‖ challenges, where there are no real concrete answers, but ambiguity and learning both exist
  14. 14. STRATEGIC QUESTIONS Who should we be 3-5 years from now? What is our mission, and how do we achieve it? What is our trajectory for the next 3-5 years? What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats exist outside of us? How can we build for the future? What is the Board’s role in moving the congregation forward?
  15. 15. GENERATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES Fiduciary & Strategic could be called management Generative is ―leadership‖ What could we be, what else is possible? Thinking outside of the box Looking to meaning and enhancing the congregation’s value Longer term vision—min. 5-10 years, and looking at the changing frame of society and religion Pure ―adaptive‖ work—it exists in ambiguity and possibility and there’s no clear answer to any of the questions; a wide open field
  16. 16. GENERATIVE QUESTIONS What will be most strikingly different about our congregation five years from now? What do we hope will be most strikingly different about our congregation five years from now? Five years from now, what will be considered this current Board’s most important legacy?
  17. 17. GENERATIVE QUESTIONS What is possible for us? Who sees the situation differently? What are we missing? What is the biggest gap between what we claim and what we do? What headline would we most like to see about us? What least like to see?
  18. 18. RISKS IN CONGREGATIONALGOVERNANCE Some ways congregations get trapped: Trying to secure support by ―pandering‖ to people’s fears and prejudices  Need to ask people to step beyond their fears Succeeding so well at organization that it loses its religious mission  Forget the true purpose of the congregation: to transform people and the world Livingfor the policy development, building, rather than mission
  19. 19. WHAT MAKES GOVERNANCEWORK? No one right way for carrying out You are looking for:  Unified structure for making governance decisions  Mission, Vision, Evaluation  Unified structure for making operational decisions  Program, Staff, Volunteer Accountability  Creative, open atmosphere for ministry and governance  Transformation of people, the world
  20. 20. WHAT MAKES GOVERNANCEWORK? Clarityabout job and job description Recruitment part of ongoing leadership development program Orientation of new members  To the life of church, including physical plant  To the Board and its operations (including history, policy, covenant, expectations) Regular evaluation of Board’s performance, including Board Member’s self-evaluation
  21. 21. ORIENTATION Orientation to the position  What are the expectations?  What are the existing documents?  What scope or limitations?  Confidentiality conversation Orientation to the congregation  History, including relevant secrets  Mission  Tour of premises
  22. 22. EVALUATION Evaluation of:  Programs, practices, policies: are they the right ones for us now?  Board performance: Are we doing our jobs, or someone else’s? Are we following our covenant of how we are working?  Board members: How am I contributing? Am I showing up? Doing my part? Remaining open to the whole? Holding on to the past?
  23. 23. BECAUSE YOU ASK: WHAT KINDS OFGOVERNANCE POLICIES?There are four kinds of policy that Boards need: Discernment: all about mission, and how that’s determined Strategy: all about what things at what time; what are the major projects and when will they happen Management: ensuring that things run, and they run right, by delegating power and authority appropriately Oversight: ensuring that the resources of the congregation are properly safeguarded, managed, handled
  24. 24. RESOURCES Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards, Richard P. Chait, William P. Ryan and Barbara E. Taylor; Wiley Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership, Dan Hotchkiss; Alban Institute Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What, Peter L. Steinke, Alban Institute Leadership Without Easy Answers, Ronald A. Heifetz, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

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