1 00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:05,000 - So, to exercise good partnership requires some structure, 2 00:00:05,240 --> 00:00:09,150 and briefly I've suggested in the book, 3 00:00:09,150 --> 00:00:13,680 in Chapter 8 especially, some ways of creating 4 00:00:15,270 --> 00:00:19,860 annually board work products that will help 5 00:00:19,860 --> 00:00:24,310 to be clear about setting direction for the church 6 00:00:24,310 --> 00:00:26,850 at an appropriate board level. 7 00:00:26,850 --> 00:00:30,570 One piece is an annual vision of ministry, 8 00:00:30,570 --> 00:00:34,050 which you might also call a set of three top goals 9 00:00:34,050 --> 00:00:36,180 or top priorities. 10 00:00:36,180 --> 00:00:40,830 It has to be a short list, three, two, or one top priorities 11 00:00:40,830 --> 00:00:44,550 is just fine, four, five, or six is too many 12 00:00:44,550 --> 00:00:46,440 because if you get too many, first of all, 13 00:00:46,440 --> 00:00:48,750 it's not priorities any more, and secondly 14 00:00:48,750 --> 00:00:50,440 nobody remembers what they are, 15 00:00:50,440 --> 00:00:53,050 it doesn't have the kind of impact. 16 00:00:53,050 --> 00:00:54,500 It's important to remember that 17 00:00:54,500 --> 00:00:57,210 just because something's not a top priority 18 00:00:57,210 --> 00:00:59,210 doesn't mean it won't happen. 19 00:00:59,210 --> 00:01:01,790 But it is the board's responsibility to be clear 20 00:01:01,790 --> 00:01:06,110 about what is the top priority, usually in a year, 21 00:01:06,110 --> 00:01:10,173 would be a good planning length of time. 22 00:01:11,300 --> 00:01:14,890 I also suggest that the board define each year 23 00:01:14,890 --> 00:01:19,130 up to three open questions that it intends 24 00:01:19,130 --> 00:01:22,380 to work with the staff and with the whole congregation 25 00:01:22,380 --> 00:01:27,380 to inquire over time about some of the big questions 26 00:01:28,244 --> 00:01:32,730 that are longer term and are most important for the future 27 00:01:32,730 --> 00:01:35,270 as distinct from daily operations. 28 00:01:35,270 --> 00:01:38,660 Questions like, what is our purpose 29 00:01:38,660 --> 00:01:41,420 in having education for children? 30 00:01:41,420 --> 00:01:44,640 What is our ministry in this community? 31 00:01:44,640 --> 00:01:47,500 Are there groups in this community that we 32 00:01:47,500 --> 00:01:52,500 intend to reach as members or partner as partners with 33 00:01:53,580 --> 00:01:56,740 that we're not currently, and what do we need 34 00:01:56,740 --> 00:01:58,690 to learn and how do we need to change 35 00:01:58,690 --> 00:02:01,150 in order to be better neighbors to others 36 00:02:01,150 --> 00:02:02,660 in our community. 37 00:02:02,660 --> 00:02:06,880 Those kinds of questions, tailored and made specific 38 00:02:06,880 --> 00:02:09,595 to a local congregation situation 39 00:02:09,595 --> 00:02:12,970 are worthy of a longer conversation 40 00:02:12,970 --> 00:02:17,276 that's centered in the board but includes the senior members 41 00:02:17,276 --> 00:02:21,460 of the ministry staff and also the entire congregation 42 00:02:21,460 --> 00:02:23,970 is invited as they're willing. 43 00:02:23,970 --> 00:02:27,670 Typically there are 60 to 80 people in most congregations 44 00:02:27,670 --> 00:02:30,852 who are interested in being part of that conversation. 45 00:02:30,852 --> 00:02:35,040 And inviting them in a consistent way to be part 46 00:02:35,040 --> 00:02:38,720 of a connected conversation over a year 47 00:02:38,720 --> 00:02:40,900 is a very good thing to do. 48 00:02:40,900 --> 00:02:44,086 Finally, a work product for the board 49 00:02:44,086 --> 00:02:48,873 is to get around to that evaluation conversation. 50 00:02:49,730 --> 00:02:51,740 There's a lot to say about evaluation, 51 00:02:51,740 --> 00:02:56,550 I say some of it in the book, and I'll say here just 52 00:02:56,550 --> 00:03:00,400 that evaluation to be healthy, needs to be mutual, 53 00:03:00,400 --> 00:03:04,270 needs to be designed in partnership between the parties, 54 00:03:04,270 --> 00:03:07,180 and it needs to be clear and frank. 55 00:03:07,180 --> 00:03:10,400 And you need, this is the most important thing really, 56 00:03:10,400 --> 00:03:13,040 you need to get around to it, which is the hardest thing 57 00:03:13,040 --> 00:03:15,440 I find for boards to do. 58 00:03:15,440 --> 00:03:18,170 So that's governance by partnership, all the ways 59 00:03:18,170 --> 00:03:20,950 that the board maintains a good relationship 60 00:03:20,950 --> 00:03:24,420 with those who are working in ministry, 61 00:03:24,420 --> 00:03:26,410 particularly with the person who's 62 00:03:26,410 --> 00:03:29,410 been put in charge in ministry. 63 00:03:29,410 --> 00:03:34,190 The second kind of governance is governance by conversation. 64 00:03:34,190 --> 00:03:37,210 And that's that year long conversation 65 00:03:37,210 --> 00:03:39,640 about the open questions, or whatever way 66 00:03:39,640 --> 00:03:41,580 you choose to structure that. 67 00:03:41,580 --> 00:03:45,750 That the best boards are not the ones 68 00:03:45,750 --> 00:03:50,560 that work in isolation or go off on a mountaintop 69 00:03:50,560 --> 00:03:52,880 or on retreat and come back and surprise 70 00:03:52,880 --> 00:03:55,390 everyone with a new sense of direction. 71 00:03:55,390 --> 00:03:57,680 Certainly they don't do it in isolation 72 00:03:57,680 --> 00:04:00,800 from their head of staff, but they shouldn't do it 73 00:04:00,800 --> 00:04:02,920 in isolation with anyone. 74 00:04:02,920 --> 00:04:05,890 One of the most important ways of getting a new idea 75 00:04:05,890 --> 00:04:09,500 accepted in a congregation is to give a lot of warning 76 00:04:09,500 --> 00:04:11,460 that you're thinking about it. 77 00:04:11,460 --> 00:04:13,410 The most important thing a proposal 78 00:04:13,410 --> 00:04:15,810 can have going for it before any group 79 00:04:15,810 --> 00:04:18,170 is that it's been heard of before. 80 00:04:18,170 --> 00:04:23,170 So you want to have the courage to tell everyone 81 00:04:23,590 --> 00:04:26,060 about the questions you're thinking about 82 00:04:26,060 --> 00:04:28,520 before you know the answers. 83 00:04:28,520 --> 00:04:31,030 That's something that goes against every grain 84 00:04:31,030 --> 00:04:32,770 of some people's instincts. 85 00:04:32,770 --> 00:04:35,980 That we like to be sure, we like to be fully prepared, 86 00:04:35,980 --> 00:04:38,300 we like to know answers before we even 87 00:04:38,300 --> 00:04:40,520 admit we have questions. 88 00:04:40,520 --> 00:04:42,880 And I'm encouraging a reversal of that 89 00:04:42,880 --> 00:04:45,880 and I know it takes courage, but that's how you 90 00:04:45,880 --> 00:04:48,600 open up the best kind of conversation, 91 00:04:48,600 --> 00:04:52,600 and effective boards govern as much by conversation 92 00:04:52,600 --> 00:04:54,450 as in any other way. 93 00:04:54,450 --> 00:04:57,320 And then finally governance by policy. 94 00:04:57,320 --> 00:05:01,810 There is a set of model policies in the second edition 95 00:05:01,810 --> 00:05:04,760 of Governance in Ministry, I hope that you will 96 00:05:04,760 --> 00:05:07,330 use that and benefit, buy it but 97 00:05:07,330 --> 00:05:11,440 not just copy and adopt it, because every congregation 98 00:05:11,440 --> 00:05:15,022 needs to cover all the bases that are there, 99 00:05:15,022 --> 00:05:17,510 but it also needs to do it in a way 100 00:05:17,510 --> 00:05:21,380 that is consistent with its culture and its intentions. 101 00:05:21,380 --> 00:05:26,380 So be sure to run all of my language through your brains 102 00:05:27,410 --> 00:05:31,480 and in your conversation before you adopt it. 103 00:05:31,480 --> 00:05:34,720 Sometimes people wonder a very basic question 104 00:05:34,720 --> 00:05:37,720 and I'll finish with this, about what is a policy? 105 00:05:37,720 --> 00:05:40,180 And how is a policy different from anything 106 00:05:40,180 --> 00:05:42,890 else a board does? 107 00:05:42,890 --> 00:05:45,720 Boards do lots of things, some of which are not policy, 108 00:05:45,720 --> 00:05:49,510 for example, a board might decide to elect 109 00:05:49,510 --> 00:05:52,990 someone to be a delegate to a denominational meeting. 110 00:05:52,990 --> 00:05:57,830 That's a one time decision that is not a policy decision. 111 00:05:57,830 --> 00:06:00,370 Or it might decide to approve a rental 112 00:06:00,370 --> 00:06:03,140 of part of the building by a group outside 113 00:06:03,140 --> 00:06:05,470 and that would be with dates attached 114 00:06:05,470 --> 00:06:07,030 and just a one time decision. 115 00:06:07,030 --> 00:06:09,930 Those things are not policies. 116 00:06:09,930 --> 00:06:14,930 Policies are decisions that control decision making 117 00:06:15,210 --> 00:06:18,400 over time, so they're lasting, 118 00:06:18,400 --> 00:06:21,910 they're written, they're made accessible in some way, 119 00:06:21,910 --> 00:06:24,680 I think the best way to make policies accessible 120 00:06:24,680 --> 00:06:27,130 is to include them in a policy book, 121 00:06:27,130 --> 00:06:29,510 of course they're recorded in the board minutes, 122 00:06:29,510 --> 00:06:31,940 but I wouldn't depend on the board minutes 123 00:06:31,940 --> 00:06:34,140 as the main point of reference, 124 00:06:34,140 --> 00:06:37,410 so you have to hunt through months and months of minutes 125 00:06:37,410 --> 00:06:39,020 to see what the policy is. 126 00:06:39,020 --> 00:06:41,920 No, collect them also in a policy book. 127 00:06:41,920 --> 00:06:45,192 That's also a way of disciplining the board 128 00:06:45,192 --> 00:06:48,870 to notice every time and to make a decision 129 00:06:48,870 --> 00:06:51,990 whether it means to be making policy or not. 130 00:06:51,990 --> 00:06:56,640 So there's no confusion about a one-off decision 131 00:06:56,640 --> 00:06:58,790 which somebody might think is a policy 132 00:06:58,790 --> 00:07:02,710 or perhaps a precedent, that it is or isn't. 133 00:07:02,710 --> 00:07:05,150 Because you'll know, because if it's policy 134 00:07:05,150 --> 00:07:06,990 you'll put it in the policy book, 135 00:07:06,990 --> 00:07:08,943 if it's not, you don't.