Why form a simplified board structure?


Potential Advantages:


1. Fewer meetings
2.Avoid people having to serve on multiple committees
3.Make decisions in timely manner (more efficiently). For example, under the old system, hiring a custodian involves the Trustees, Finance 4.Committee, SPRC, and Church Council
5.More time to do ministry & make disciples. The fewer people we have doing administrative work, the more people we can have doing ministry.

Encouraged by New England Annual Conference:

Healthy, vital churches engage in exciting ministry and mission outside the walls of the church into the community, and offer radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional discipling process, and extravagant generosity.  Such churches have typically moved to a leaner, simpler, and more accountable governance structure:  Cressey Road UMC & Hope-Gateway UMC.

Discussion began at St. John’s in October 2013.

Currently, we struggle to fill “slots” on committees, and some positions require attending multiple meetings each month.

On May 21, 2018, our Church Council unanimously approved the proposal to form a simplified committee structure at St. John’s

Next steps:

1.We will hold a “town hall meeting” of the congregation to present the proposal and the reasons for adopting it, and to hear affirmations and/or concerns.
2.Church Council will meet to make any needed revisions to the proposal, vote on it, and send the proposal to the District Superintendent.
3.After the District Superintendent approves the proposal, he will call an All-Church Conference at St. John’s for all members of St. John’s and the retired UMC clergy affiliated with St. John’s to vote on the proposal.


Proposed by Rev. Sue Frost (pastor), Cheri Nixon (Lay Leader), Larry Holman (Associate Lay Leader), & Bryan Rickman (Church Council Chair)

 We move that St. John’s United Methodist Church in Dover, NH form a simplified board committee structure, as outlined below, beginning January 1, 2019, and review how it’s working in January 2022.

 Simplified Board Structure:

Church Conference (meets annually)
“Strategy Team” or “Vision Team” (meets monthly)
Committee on Nominations & Leadership Development (Fall & as needed)
Mission & Ministry Core Team (January “calendar” meeting & as needed)
Occasional “town hall” meetings or “listening” sessions to obtain insight & input from the congregation
Church Conference

People:  all members of the congregation, retired UMC clergy affiliated with the congregation, elected honorary members (if any)

Chair:  District Superintendent or assigned clergy (with elder status)

Topics:  mission, state of the church, measurable goals, how we’ll use our resources (money, facilities, & people), election of Church Council leaders and members of the Committee on Nominations & Leadership Development

Strategy Team (minimum of 9 people):

Class of 2019 (“graduates” on December 31, 2019)

“John” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC & Chair (also SPRC chair & Trustee chair)

 “Sally” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC

 “Josie” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC

 Class of 2020 (“graduates” on December 31, 2020)

 “Carol” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC & Lay Leader

“Ben” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC & Associate Lay Leader

“David” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC

Class of 2021 (“graduates” on December 31, 2021)

“Matilda” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC

 “Tony” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC

“Hattie” = Trustee/Finance/SPRC & Lay Member to Annual Conference

Pastor (does not vote)

Recording Secretary—will be one of the Trustee/Finance/SPRC people


·         Each Strategy Team member is a church member and a spiritual leader for the congregation, who attends our worship services regularly

The Strategy Team members reflect our congregation’s diversity in age & gender (anyone designated as Trustee/Finance/SPRC must be 18+)
Only 1 person from immediate family residing in the same household serves on the Strategy Team
Staggered 3-year terms (must rotate off & take 1 year off, before returning), with the exception of the Lay Leaders and the Lay Member to Annual Conference
Meetings are open to others, except during confidential SPRC discussions
Staff, and family of staff, cannot serve on the Strategy Team
The Financial Secretary and the Treasurer can serve on the Strategy Team, but a best practice is for them not to.

 Purpose is to govern (not manage):

Accountable to the Mission: making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world
Establish the Vision, in concert with the pastor: how we will fulfill the mission
Establish Boundaries: policies for ministry, finance policies & budget, standards of practice & behavior
Delegate Authority to others 



What is the desired outcome?
Which person will be responsible? 
Delegate Authority:

What strategies, finances, facilities will the person/team need?

What results do we expect?
How will we know if we have faithfully fulfilled our mission?
How do we protect the body from mistaken or malicious leadership?
What are the boundaries, values, standards, and limits required?

Meets Monthly (but not in July, August, or December) for 1½ – 2 hours

Strategy Team members will receive a packet a week before the meeting (agenda, covenant, statistics & financials, ministries bearing fruit, minutes, update on goals)
A quorum is at least 5 people. A simple majority of those attending rules.

Occasionally, a subset of Strategy Team members will meet separately to work on a specific task (preliminary budget, policy manual, stewardship campaign) which they will bring to the full Strategy Team to approve.

Committee on Nominations & Leadership Development:

People:  Pastor (chair), Lay Leader, and 3-9 others (3-year terms, in 3 classes)

Task:  Works throughout the year to identify, call, & equip people to serve on the Strategy Team.  They recommend a slate of people to the Church Conference, and make nominations to Strategy Team to fill any ad-interim vacancies that occur between Church Conferences.  They provide training and support to Ministry Team Leaders, including creating and updating an interest list (a list of people and the things they enjoy doing).

 Ministry Teams:

One team (of any size) for every ministry

A ministry may be…

a regular, ongoing program
Worship Design & Music
Cornerstone Dance Team
Sunday School
Youth Fellowship (CIA)
United Methodist Men
Dover Friendly Kitchen/SOS/Haven Hill/SOCC
Facilities maintenance (including sexton)
Small Groups
Permanent Endowment
Communication & Media
an annual event
teacher recognition brunch
new members reception
confirmation class
a single major event
one-time mission trip team

One leader for each ministry team


Gathers the team & keeps them organized & focused on goals & outcomes
Supervised by the pastor (who holds leader & team accountable to the missional goals established by the Strategy Team)
 The team decides how they will reach their goals (within the church’s policies)

 Mission & Ministry Core Team

 Leaders:  Pastor & Lay Leader


 Ministry Team Leaders

United Methodist Men representative

Youth Group leader

Director of Music


Other church group leaders

Purpose:  Meet regularly to coordinate ministry programs, so that they are mutually supportive and well-aligned with the mission of the congregation


 The Pastor leads:

Discerns and articulates the mission & vision of the congregation in all settings
Accepts responsibility and exercises authority in keeping the congregation focused on fruitfulness in the goals established by the Strategy Team
Provides alignment to the mission & vision, by equipping (inspiring) and deploying the Strategy Team & team leaders & staff. The pastor establishes adequate processes, so that:
Each team understands and embraces their part in the overall mission of the congregation
Teams are not competing with, or limiting, each other
Gaps in ministry are addressed
Mutual support and synergy are built between all the ministries in the congregation
Assures that the ministries of the church are carried out according to the boundaries & values established by the Strategy Team