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Distinguishing Ends from Means
Governance for Congregations, Policy Based Governance

by Gretchen Dorn

From All Souls of Deluge Falls (fictitious), The Nested Set Principle (PDF).

"Ends decisions address what benefit will come to pass for whom, and the worth or cost of that benefit…Means, on the other hand, include practices, methods, conduct, and other activities done as people pursue those all-important ends."
John Carver

The Policy Governance Model calls for clear distinctions between organizational ends and means. Here are some test examples from our very own All Souls of Deluge Falls (ASDF):

  • The members of ASDF will live out their gifts and values in shared and mutual ministry.
     x  ends     means
  • ASDF will provide a rich program of religious education for its children, youth, and adults.
        ends  x  means
  • The residents of Deluge Falls will come to understand liberal religion as a valuable asset to town culture, economics, and community.
     x  ends     means
  • The program of religious education at ASDF will be cost efficient, equitable, and inclusive.
        ends  x  means
  • Our congregation's existence in this community will serve to increase social justice for all residents of Deluge Falls.
     x  ends     means
  • The fiscal affairs of ASDF will be planned so that the expenditure of funds in any fiscal year will not exceed conservative projections.
        ends  x  means .
  • The members and friends of ASDF will feel connected to this religious community, the broader Unitarian Universalist community, and the world in which they live.
     x  ends     means