Over the past three years on this website I have published various articles reflecting upon the relevance and application of John Carver’s ideas regarding non-profit board governance. Recently at the instigation of a denominational leader I collected all of those articles, reworked them to some degree and consolidated them into a single resource.
You can access that new publication under the “Resources” tab on the home page. The title of this new resource is “Reflections on John Carver’s Model of Policy Governance® and its Relevance for Church Boards and Implementation as a Working Model.” There are 16 separate blog articles consolidated in this publication.
There is no charge for this resource, but you access it through a process that allows me to track the number of downloads.
Undoubtedly Carver’s ideas continue to generate creative leadership options, particularly for the governance of larger congregations. When applied in a disciplined and conscientious way, with sensitivity to the theological dynamics of a faith community, this model enables a church board to focus effectively upon key aspects of its work.
The one area where I think some adaptation is needed may come in areas of congregational life in which elders carry specific responsibilities for spiritual leadership. For example, the elders, who usually will be included within a church board, often have some responsibility to nurture and advance prayer ministry in a congregation. They can choose to delegate this to a particular person in the congregation or may choose to give collective oversight to this spiritual dimension of congregational life. If they opt for collective leadership and not delegate it to the lead pastor for implementation, then they need to develop a mechanism by which they can do this which integrates with Carver’s governance model. Some options would include: 1) forming an adhoc committee within the church board to lead this aspect of congregational life; 2) convening as elders after the board agenda is completed and giving attention to this as a separate administrative function; 3) appointing one elder to spear-head the initiative with reporting responsibility to the lead pastor.
By and large though, in my experience with this model of governance in local congregations it works well, providing that the lead pastor, chairperson and board members engage it seriously and positively.