Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Governance and Ministry Book Review

I just finished reading Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership by Dan Hotchkiss. This is a very good book about how to have good church boards. I believe the church board has the potential to be a center of strength, change, and spiritual discernment for our churches. However, much of the time our boards are mired in reports and rubber stamping the decisions of our staff members.
Over the past 6 years, I have been on a steady mission to improve the functioning of our church board. This has included a wide variety of approaches. I've concentrated mostly on improving our meetings in terms of quality of discussion, flow of information, use of time, and pursuing larger topics (delegating the smaller topics to our various teams).
Along the way, I have been greatly helped along this path with articles from the Alban Institute. This book collects together much of that sage advice in a framework guiding a church leadership team on how to restructure a church board for greater effectiveness.
At first I thought, we might go through the whole restructuring process they recommend (including a 1 year research and planning phase). Because of some other issues, I don't think that level of change would be best for us at this stage. Also, because we have been changing incrementally, we may not need a total overhaul. However, I still found many useful tips, thoughts, and techniques.
Reading a board book can be a bit boring at times, but I would still recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a better church board. The Josh rating: JJJJ.
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