I am in my 13th year on staff at Castleton United Methodist Church. For the past 5 years I have been one of the pastors of this church. I have attended Church Council meetings from the beginning. It was not uncommon for us to have over 40 members as a part of our Church Council. It was also not uncommon to have only about 1/3 of the members show up to meetings. It became apparent this model of church leadership was not effective or engaging. On January 1st of 2014, we began to operate our church under a single board model, which had been vetted by the Cabinet and Bishop of our Annual Conference. What follows is the function, structure, selection, and scope of our single board, known as the Leadership Team.
The purpose of the Leadership Team (LT) is to aid the church in fulfilling its mission to “create disciples for the transformation of the world” while also being in compliance with The United Methodist Book of Discipline. This is accomplished through “empowering clergy and staff, efficient management of resources, and providing clearly defined leadership and responsibilities.” The LT is “responsible for strategic planning, fiscal oversight, and overall policy-making” for the church.
The LT consists of 12 individuals: Senior Pastor, 2 Associate Pastors, Treasurer, 8 At-Large members. The LT chair, vice-chair, and secretary will be named from the At-Large members, as well as the chairs of Finance, Trustees, and Staff Parish, though no individual can be 2 of these positions simultaneously. The At-Large members as well as the Treasurer will serve in 3 classes with staggered 3yr terms so that no more than 1 class will rotate off in 1 year. The Lay Leader and Lay Delegate to Annual Conference will be provided from the At-Large members as well. Individuals may serve on the LT after their term is over but must take a one year respite at least.
In order to be a member of the LT an individual must:
a. be a disciple of Jesus Christ
b. support the mission of the church to make disciples
c. be a member of the church fulfilling the 5 membership vows
d. not have any other family members already serving on the LT
e. not be paid for any service to the church or have a relative that works for the church
f. be trustworthy with sensitive information
Any member of the church may be nominated to serve on the LT by having his/her name provided to the LT via nominations or self-nomination. There is a separate Nominations Committee, chaired by the Senior Pastor, that gathers and vets names and then submits them to Charge Conference for confirmation.
The LT functions to:
a. facilitate the necessary vision, mission, programming and ministry to allow the church to achieve its mission
b. focus on strategic leadership rather than administrative detail
c. delegate the day-to-day planning, administration and staff oversight to the team of 4 (3 clergy & the Dir. of Operations)
d. represent the members of the church and their interests
e. provide support to the team of 4 as needed and when requested
f. hold the clergy accountable for accomplishing the goals of the church through measurable means in conjunction with the LT
g. establish teams to assist with duties as assigned; those teams would have specialized or limited duties, such as, but not limited to, stewardship campaigns and formulating a budget
h. meet as needed but not less than 1 time per month
i. serve as the Church Council, Trustees, Staff Parish, and Finance committees as required by The Book of Discipline
This gives an overview of the single board model we have adapted at our church. 8 months in, it has been working well while also teaching us some things along the way. If you would like more details about a particular section, just ask. If you have other questions or thoughts to share, please do.