Great Committees

by Dan Hotchkiss In an old cartoon by Charles Addams, a man and his son walk through a park and look at statues, each of which depicts a little clutch of people. “There are no great men, my boy,” the father says, “only great committees.” (The New Yorker, May 5, 1975) We laugh. A great … Read more

Putting staff in charge without losing volunteer commitment

Boards that try to delegate authority to staff often worry that volunteers will lose commitment. It’s a realistic concern: volunteers who handled large responsibilities under the board do sometimes decide, when the board passes the management baton to the head of staff, that they are no longer needed. This used to surprise me. Why would … Read more

Life after Governance Change

by Dan Hotchkiss An anthropologist from Pluto might be forgiven for misclassifying “board and committee meetings” among the sacred rites of Earth religion. Meetings, with their arid liturgy of motions, seconds, minutes, and reports, give comfort and security to some, while driving others—particularly those who like results better than extended conversations about pros and cons … Read more

Missouri Synod Lutheran review of Governance and Ministry

One of the interesting things about Governance and Ministry is the interest it has generated across the religious spectrum–I’ve heard from Southern Baptists, Catholics, and Orthodox Jews as well as Unitarians, Episcopalians, and the United Church of Christ. Most recently, I enjoyed reading a recent post by Art Scherer of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. … Read more

Green Eyeshades and Rose-Colored Glasses

Congregational budget-makers frequently divide into two camps that approach the task in different ways. The first camp is likely to include children of the Great Depression, experts in finance, elementary school teachers, and persons anxious about their own money situation. Their first priority is to make sure that the budget balances and that the congregation … Read more