How I am Different from John Carver

“How is your model different from the Carver model?” Since Governance and Ministry came out, I hear this question now and then, especially from people in the United Church of Canada, the Mennonite Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Association, where John Carver’s Policy Governance is widely known. I have benefited from John Carver’s writings and agree … 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

If you’re interested in the REALLY younger generation…

… you might want to listen to this public radio interview with my niece Samira Hotchkiss Mehta about the pre-teen phenomenon Twilight and the Mormon worldview of its author: Interesting in its own right, and in my unbiased opinion, possibly an early glimpse of an up-and-coming public intellectual at work.

Don’t underestimate system delays

Planning efforts often fail, and one important reason is that leaders underestimate the time it takes for causes to produce effects. Your planning process may discern, for instance, that your mission calls you to invite more people than your current space will hold. But if you build a bigger sanctuary, you will produce dust, noise, … Read more

Defining Community Ministry

Every denomination that practices “congregational polity” does so a little differently, and each seems to discover its own sticking points. For Unitarian Universalists, one persistent quandary is how to recognize and support professional ministry outside the most standard parish settings. UU ministers have long served as chaplains, community organizers, educators, and in other community roles, … Read more

From Mainline to Sideline

by Dan Hotchkiss The best way to be rich, for a character in a Jane Austen novel—indeed, the only really proper way—is to inherit land. The less fortunate escape poverty by “engaging in trade,” by which one may become respectable, if never quite genteel. Standing on a middle ground between mere tradesmen and the landed … 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

The Art of Governance (book excerpt)

The Alban Institute has published an excerpt of my new book, Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership in this week’s issue of the Alban Weekly e-newsletter (subscribe to its successor, Perspectives.) Religion transforms people; no one touches holy ground and stays the same. Religious leaders stir the pot by pointing to the contrast between life … Read more

Charge to the minister

Charge to the minister For the installation of Tess Baumberger Unity Church, North Easton, MA March 22, 2009 by Dan Hotchkiss Tess, I’m glad you’ve come to Easton. Traditionally, the “charge to the minister” includes wise, oracular advice to the new minister from an old one. Sadly, I have no such advice to offer; if … Read more

Statement for my church’s fund drive

The stewardship committee at my church asked me to say a few words recently in behalf of the annual fund drive. It was interesting, having the chance to speak as a lay member. Here is what I found myself saying: When Chris asked me to speak this morning, she suggested I might talk about how … Read more