From the President, April 2019
From the film Cool Hand Luke came one of moviedom’s most iconic lines:
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”
For some organizations and people, “failure to communicate” is their default setting – but not for Peoples Church. Here, we’re in the process of developing a culture where clear, effective communication is the norm. In fact, we consider communication to be so important that it’s one of our five Developmental Ministry goals.
Over the last several years, your elected Board members have been going all out to provide transparency in their communications with you. And by addressing another of our DM goals, Governance, the Board is taking yet more steps to create an environment where communication channels are easy to understand, effective, and work for us rather than against us.
So how is the Policy Governance (PG) model being implemented by the Board going to help us connect and communicate better? Just a bit of background info will make it clear.
In the Policy Governance model, the policies created by the Board:
- describe what work is done by the Board does, how that work is done, and what our relationship with the executive team (AKA the minister) looks like
- specify that the Board delegates achievement of our Ends to the minister
- clearly list limitations on what the minister can do as s/he pursues those Ends
And that’s totally cool, because it frees up all members to become more easily involved with aspects of the church they’re passionate about.
- No more getting bogged down trying to communicate a project proposal to the Board for Board approval. The Board’s job is to focus on strategies for future health; it doesn’t get involved in approving service projects or dealing with the nuts-and-bolts operations of the church.
- No more trying to figure out who’s doing what and why: You know what areas are hands-off for the Board and for the minister.
- No more worrying about any “closed door” deals. You know what’s expected of and allowed to your Board and your minister – and you have the right to ask questions if you’re ever concerned that they’re not acting according to policy.
- No more waiting around, hoping something you’re passionate about can be addressed. Instead, you ask yourself, “Does this activity directly address one or more of our Ends?” If so, you know to take your idea to the minister. S/he’ll then invite you to be one of the people who will collaborate to make it happen.
Policy Governance is like the lane markers on a highway: While you’re limited by those markers, you’re also liberated by them. You don’t have to ask permission to steer around a pothole; you just go ahead and do it, all the while knowing you’re safe in your own lane. (We’ll save the discussion of idiot drivers for another time.)
And on top of all that, Policy Governance is a structure that actually creates a greater sense of wholeness within the church. Everyone knows the direction we’re heading (because it’s stated in our Ends). Everyone knows what everyone else can and can’t do, because it’s clearly stated in our church policies. And because of our Covenant of Right Relations, everyone also knows what they can expect from other members – and how to address it if anyone falls out of covenant.
The theme for April’s church services is Wholeness. As you listen to the reflections every Sunday, think about how beautifully this new era of clear governance at Peoples will help create that wholeness – and just think about what we can do with it.