A church’s method of governance should spring from the congregation’s values.
The recent edition of Parish Paper offers guidelines for good governance.
“Governance is how we make decisions as a congregation. Typically, the board takes responsibility for big-picture issues and works to help the congregation achieve its mission. The board accepts responsibility for keeping the church’s resources—people, money, and property—safe. The board also pursues ways to creatively leverage resources to more effectively serve the congregation’s mission.
“Ministry is different from governance, even if the same people do both. We know many people in the congregation who wear two hats, serving on the board and working in the church’s food pantry. Ministry is all the other things a congregation does: offering meaningful worship, educational and spiritual development groups, community service, and outreach.
“Why is the distinction important? Churches often feel great about their ministries and concentrate on their programs. However, they tend to spend less time ensuring that the way they govern does not impede the growth and vitality of those same ministries. Dysfunctional governance structures can create an inward focus, a resistance to change, complacency, arrogance, and diffuse accountability.”