Simple Governance Resource Guide

As your church moves into charge conference season, we wanted to let you know that we have heard your requests for simpler processes in completing your church’s documentation requirements during the charge conference. You will soon learn about how we are refining this process for 2018. We have also heard from churches of all sizes about the challenges of shared leadership responsibilities by similar people across multiple committees. If your church is interested in simplifying your administrative structure, the information below on “Simple Church Governance” will likely be welcomed news for you. As many of you may know, The 2016 Book of Discipline provides for alternate governing structures. Paragraph 247.2 provides:

“The charge conference, the district superintendent, and the pastor, when a pastor has been appointed (see ¶205.4), shall organize and administer the pastoral charge and churches according to the policies and plans herein set forth. When the membership size, program scope, mission resources, or other circumstances so require, the charge conference may, in consultation with and upon the approval of the district superintendent, modify the organizational plans, provided that the provisions of ¶ 243 are observed.” In order to help churches make a more informed decision, the Mississippi Conference has compiled a list of resources below that you may find helpful in discerning whether an alternate governance structure would be appropriate or helpful in your context.  If you have specific questions about making such a change, please contact your district superintendent for guidance.

1. “Untangle Your Committees. Unlock Your United Methodist Church.” A pastor blogs about his church moving from a SPPRC / Trustees / Finance committee model to a 12-member Church Council.

2. “Single Board Model of Governance Brings Benefits to Congregations of all Sizes.” This brief article is a case study from the First UMC Anahua in the Texas Annual Conference. They were wrestling with the reality that the “typical” church structure of multiple committees is driving the mission of the church versus the mission driving the structure. Read how they implemented an “Accountable Leadership Model” with a 14-member single structure governance model.

3. “Simplified Accountable Structure: Unleash Your Congregation’s Leadership Potential.” The Center for Vitality at the Arkansas Annual Conference produced this detailed 29-page step-by-step implementation workbook on moving to a simplified single board structure. This very helpful resource can inform your church’s discernment process and offers four different models to consider. Their annual conference also compiled a compendium of resources including a 25-minute video overview, a six-part video series, and a number of print resources which can all be accessed by clicking here

4. “Ministry Leadership Models: N.O.W. and Single Governance Board Structure.” This one-hour webinar recording was led by Jacqui King, Director of Leadership for Congregational Vitality with Discipleship Ministries of the UMC. This video explores how leaders can build a ministry team to address the concerns and conditions of people in the congregation and community so that people grow in their spiritual life and live as Christian disciples.

5. Ministry Models in Action. This two-page handout provides hyperlinks to a variety of churches implementing both single governance and the NOW: Nurture, Outreach and Witness models of ministry.

6. Online Academy Course. The California Pacific Conference developed this online video course which was produced from recordings from their “Small Church Academy: Single Board Governance” event held in December 2017.

Click here for a PDF of the Mississippi Conference Simple Church Governance Resource Guide. 

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