Is moving to a single board model of leadership legal (allowed by the United Methodist Book of Discipline)?
Yes ¶ 247.2 of the 2016 Book of Discipline reads: The charge conference, the district superintendent, and the pastor shall organize and administer the pastoral charge and churches according to the policies and plans herein set forth. When the membership size, program scope, mission resources, or other circumstances so require, the charge conference may, in consultation with and upon the approval of the district superintendent, modify the organizational plans, provided that the provisions of ¶ 243 are observed.
Who needs to approve going to a single board model?
A church conference and the district superintendent must approve moving to a single board model of leadership. A church conference, defined by ¶ 248 is a charge conference in which, in order to encourage broader participation by members of the church, the vote is extended to all professing members of the local church present at such meeting, Like a charge conference, notice of time and meeting of the session must be given at least ten days in advance.
What committees are affected by moving to the single board model?
All the administrative committees i.e. Trustees, Finance, SPRC and Board of Stewards cease to exist once the single board model has gone into effect. The Nominations/Lay Leadership committee remains in place and nominates all members of the single board, which are then voted on at charge conference.
How many people should be on the board?
The Texas Annual Conference Center for Congregational Excellence (CCE) recommends a total of nine-twelve people make up the New Board. Further, it is recommended that the Senior Pastor be a voting member but never the chair of the Board. FMC is recommending a total of 13 voting members including the Senior Pastor.
Can other church staff be on the New Board?
Every church situation is unique, but generally the CCE recommends that other than the Sr. Pastor other paid church staff can have a voice but no vote on the New Board.
Why should our church consider this change?
Many churches in the Texas Annual Conference have made this change and find that it allows for more nimble decision making, it allows the leadership of the church to focus on the big picture view of making disciples of Jesus Christ and it pushes the day to day management of ministry out to where it belongs with the pastor, staff and hands on volunteers.
What other churches in the Texas Annual Conference have made this change?
What is the New Board called?
The church can call the new single board whatever it wants. However, this style of leadership is not unknown in the Methodist church. In the 1930’s and 1940’s there was a group of leaders called the Board of Stewards that were the governance for the Methodist churches of that era. In order to avoid confusion with current committees, the single board at FMC will be known as the Church Leadership Team.
What are the rules for the New Single Board?
As is true of its current committees, the Church Leadership Team creates the rules and policies for the church not otherwise determined by the Book of Discipline. The CCE recommends that there be two sets of rules.
1. The first set we call Organizing Documents and we recommend that they can only be changed by the approval of a Church Conference (See above for our Organizing Document for FMC to be voted on at the church conference on November 14, 2021.)
2. The second set of rules are “operating guidelines” for how the CLT, the pastor, the church staff and the congregation will interact. The CLT will, with these operating guidelines, set the boundary rules for all the entities that make up the church. These rules should not try to include rules for every conceivable situation but should instead be rather broad in its writing. The operating guidelines can be changed by a majority vote of the new board.
With uncertainties about the future of the denomination, will those decisions be made by this Single Board?
No. Any decision relating to a local church disaffiliating from The United Methodist Church over issues related to human sexuality is subject to ¶ 2553, as adopted at the 2019 Special Session of General Conference, which mandates that such vote would occur at a Church Conference called by the district superintendent at which all professing members of the local church could attend and vote. All other decisions related to human sexuality are subject to the Book of Discipline and not at the discretion of a local church committee.
Timeline of Process Towards Adoption of Single Board Model
- September 16, 2021 – Initial Organizing Document sent to Board of Stewards
- September 23, 2021 – Board of Stewards meets to approve process
- October 6, 2021 – Q&A Session Announced to Congregation in eNews.
- October 10, 2021 – Q&A Session Announced to Congregation in Bulletin and Sunday School Announcements
- October 13, 2021 – Q&A Session Announced to Congregation in eNews a second time
- October 17, 2021 – Q&A Session Announced to Congregation in Bulletin and Sunday School Announcements a second time.
- October 17, 2021 – Q&A Session hosted in Chapel – 4:00 PM – You are encouraged to submit questions at
- October 19, 2021 – Nominations Committee meets to nominate members
- November 1, 2021 – Final Proposal Sent to District Superintendent and Board of Stewards
- November 14, 2021 – Church Conference vote for approval
- January 1, 2022 – Church Leadership Team (CLT) begins