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Relation to Committee on Ministry
Governance for Congregations
The traditional Committee on Ministry (COM) model could conflict with Policy Governance. To get your juices flowing, here are some of the Policy Governance/COM sticky wickets we've identified:
  • COMs typically deal with ministerial compensation/review and recommend raises to the Board but in a Policy Governance situation this function is strictly a Board function since No committees ever report to the Board (the Executive role being the only one that reports to the Board.) Have you been using COMs in compensation/review matters? How's that work within Policy Governance?
  • Typical COM's are established by Boards or by bylaws but in Policy Governance, Boards never mandate that operations/means-related committees exist. (They only establish temporary, as-needed, Board committees doing Board work.) We've thought of using policy limitations language, "the minister(s) shall not fail to use a COM," to create a relatively permanent yet otherwise 'unlimited' COM. If the COM is not created by Board limitations policy then we've guessed that the COM would exist purely at the minister(s)'s pleasure and could be dismissed at any time. What has your experience been?
  • COMs could be seen as usurping Board oversight of the minister(s). We believe that an effective COM (under policy governance) would advise the minister(s) on the 'unrestricted means' and so would not venture into Board territory, but we'd like to hear your experiences.
  • COMs could be one source that Policy Governance Boards use to gather stakeholder input. We're wondering if this is happening (and how it's happening) in your Policy Governance congregation.

—Gretchen Dorn, Unity Church-Unitarian, St. Paul, MN

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