Governance Manual for Congregational Boards

Part of equipping congregational board members is to make sure they have all the information they need at their fingertips. One way of doing this is supplying an up-to-date Governance Manual with key documents. Going through this manual can help with on-boarding of new board members.

Here's a short list of the kinds of congregational documents that board members would need.

  • Table of Contents
  • Brief Introduction to the Manual for new board members
  • Board Covenant
  • Board Meeting Procedures
  • Perpetual Calendar
  • Congregation Mission
  • Congregation Vision
  • Congregation Covenant
  • Bylaws
  • Executive Limitations (Policy Governance)
  • Ends Statements
  • Strategic (Long Range) Plan
  • Policies
    • Safe Congregations Policy (which would include information on the Right Relations Team and their processes, Disruptive Behavior Policy, emergency response policies, etc.)

    • Personnel Policies (or a separate section for the Personnel Manual)

    • Finance Policies

    • Other policies

    • Descriptions of / Charges to all board committees including any term limits for chairs

  • Procedures
  • Appendix (as needed)
    • Organization Chart or other visual representation of church structure
    • Committee Directory
    • Annual Board Goals
    • Letter of Agreement with Called Minister
    • Financial equations for determining endowment income or the like
    • Any other key information
    • Current Line-Item Budget
    • Previous Year's Annual Report

About the Authors

Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe

Rev. Sunshine J. Wolfe is Congregational Field Staff for the Central East Region serving congregations in western Pennsylvania and across Ohio. Ghe hails originally from Indiana where ghe learned to sing, dance, and cause trouble- the social justice kind. Ghe is currently a member of TRUUsT...

David Pyle

The Rev. David Pyle is the Regional Lead and a Congregational Life Consultant with the MidAmerica Regional Staff. Rev. Pyle holds a Masters of Divinity from the Meadville Lombard Theological School and a Bachelors of Arts in History and Political Science from East Tennessee State University. He...

UUA Congregational Life

The regional Congregational Life staff are congregations' local connection to the UUA. All of the program Congregational Life staff have expertise in most aspects of congregational life and each also has a few program areas of expertise. See the...

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