President’s Report: Means to Our Ends

by Tom Doe, President

Please help the Board set the direction for our new church year.

The big event on the board’s calendar for October is our annual board retreat, which will be on Saturday, October 20. The board retreat usually happens in June or July, but this year we scheduled a pre-retreat in July to be followed by a full board retreat after the arrival of our minister, Rev. Stephen Furrer. I reviewed the results of the pre-retreat, or pretreat as we called it, in the August Beacon.

One of the most important objectives of the retreat is the creation of our board Ends.  I capitalize Ends because it is one of the most important board functions under Policy Based Governance. We have had Ends for at least 10 years since we implemented Policy Based Governance, however, Rev. Elaine over the past two years helped us focus on making this an annual activity and using our Ends to focus the energies and activities of the church.

Ends are the major objectives that the board assigns to staff, both paid professional and lay volunteer. Once the board assigns responsibility for Ends, the board empowers that person or group to use their best judgment to achieve the End subject to the limitations of our policies. The board does not micromanage, but the board does have oversight responsibility to assure the End’s achievement. Furthermore, under Policy Based Governance, the achievement of Ends is the basis for the performance reviews of our staff.

This year I am encouraging the board to expand our process regarding Ends to include more congregational involvement.  For us to be successful our members should be able to participate in the creation of the Ends.  Ends should create both a sense of enthusiasm and buy-in from our members. Furthermore, in order to achieve Ends, there should be a strategy that includes assignment of responsibility for each End to staff members, lay volunteers, or teams within the church. Ideally, every church member should have an opportunity to take ownership of some part of the Ends that aligns with their interests and values.

There will be an opportunity for members to engage in the Ends process through the Saturday morning conversations and through discussions that we will schedule on Sunday mornings.  At our last meeting the board decided to restart the Saturday morning coffee and conversation sessions. These were initiated by Rev. Elaine and the past board to encourage conversations between lay leadership in the board about both specific topics and general topics of interest. These had been occurring from 10 AM to noon on first Saturdays of each month, however for October we will have the session on Saturday, October 13 to avoid time conflict with several activities occurring on October 6.

All members and friends of East Shore are welcome to attend, and the topic of October’s session will be the Ends for this year.  If you cannot attend, I am also trying to set up some discussions after the services on October 14, and you are welcome to send your ideas for Ends to myself or any other board member.