Governance & Ministry

Readers of Governance and Ministry frequently write for information. To help those too shy to write, I’ve started this quick FAQ page to answer some of the most frequent questions:

Do you still consult directly with congregations? Yes! write me using the “Contacts” tab at the top of this page, and I’ll be happy to respond about how I can help your congregation. So far I’ve worked with congregations, regional bodies, and related institutions in 30 denominational families ranging from Conservative Judaism to Presbyterian to Christian Science to Episcopalian.

I consult on governance in a number of ways, ranging from ad hoc phone or video calls to 18 month consultations:

  • Ad hoc coaching phone calls for clergy and other individual leaders are $200 an hour.
  • For institutional clients, coaching calls are $300 for the first hour and $250 for additional hours scheduled at the same time.
  • You can see my free office hours and propose an appointment time at my appointment page. I am happy to discuss a possible consultation with any prospective client at no charge.
  •  A typical phone coaching arrangement for a congregation undertaking a significant governance change effort is to contract for up to 10 hours of phone time over a year. I would quote a fee of around $2500 for this. The advantage of this over ad hoc coaching is that I keep a file so that I can prepare for our appointments, and am available to 2 or 3 designated leaders for unlimited phone and email “extras.” These might be used, for example, to prepare for an important meeting.
  • A core service that can enhance the value of phone coaching is an initial visit and workshop. I would meet once or twice by phone with a planning group, then come to facilitate a workshop where I lay out some of the material in the early chapters of Governance and Ministry. I do this in a dialog format that stimulates quite a bit of conversation and yields some important clues about how a new way of decision-making will need to be adapted to accommodate a congregation’s values and traditions.
  • A phone coaching relationship can be further enhanced by additional visits. An outside consultant can be particularly helpful when helping the paid staff, committee chairs, and other ongoing leaders to shape and adjust their work to a new governance model, and when the Governance Task Force is dealing with particularly challenging decisions.
  • I also do larger governance consultations, including an initial workshop, interviews of a cross-section of leaders, and full participation with the Governance Task Force to develop a custom plan, help draft policy language, lead sessions with leaders and the congregation,  and support implementation of the new model.

Whatever the plan, I prefer to map out all consultations in advance, and to present a written proposal that quotes a project fee based on $1800 a day plus expenses. That way we can focus on your objectives and the role I will play in achieving them, rather than worrying about whether the clock is or is not ticking.

Are there congregations that have used your book that have posted their governance policies online? Yes, these religious bodies have made their policies available: Community Church of Chapel Hill, NCEdmonton Presbytery, United Church of CanadaFirst Unitarian Church of Omaha, First Unitarian Church of OttawaFirst Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin, Metropolitan Community Churches, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix.As you will see, the results vary quite a bit, and some reflect the influence of my writings more than others. Naturally, I cannot guarantee the work of others, so borrow at your own risk! If your congregation has used Governance and Ministry and would like your policies added to this list, let me know.How is “Governance and Ministry” different from John Carver’s “Policy Governance”? I addressed this frequent question in a blog post, “How I am Different from John Carver.”