A typical congregational board meeting
Congregational Board Member Training
Congregational Board Member Training

High-functioning congregational boards have committed members who understand their governance, who understand their roles, who work as a trust-based team, who understand their fiduciary duties and who still take time to attend to the spiritual dimension of their leadership. Here, you can find resources that will help you lead with both skill and grace.

This training is divided into twelve sections, so that you can use each one as a shared learning experience as part of your board meetings. (Each section takes around 45 minutes.)

Download the Syllabus (PDF) to keep track of your progress!

What is the Purpose of a Board?

1. Call of Duty: Governance Basics

a. Duties of a Board
b. Bylaws, Policies and Procedures
c. Time and Money
d. Being a Learning Community

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2. In the Room Where It Happens: Why We Have Meetings

a. Effective Meetings
b. Setting the Agenda
c. Making Room for Multiple Viewpoints
d. Whole Congregation Discernment

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Boards As Spiritual Leaders

3. Finding Your Center: Spiritual Grounding as Leaders

a. Covenant
b. Minister as Partner
c. Serving with Grace
d. Culture and Identity
e. Self-Care

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4. Knowing Your Purpose: Leading in Alignment with Your Mission

a. Understanding Mission and Vision
b. Leading from Mission to Action
c. Seeking Alignment with the Mission
d. Finding Your Prophetic Voice



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Boards as Change Agents

5. The Myth of Rationality: Understanding Human Nature

a. Anxiety and the Brain
b. The Self-Differentiated Leader
​c. The Temptation of Triangulation

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6. In the Wilderness: Change is Hard, Even if it's the Promised Land

a. Emotional Responses to Change
b. Resistance to Change
c. Technical vs. Adaptive Challenges
d. Adaptive Change

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Healthy Communication

7. Good Boundaries: Balancing Transparency and Confidentiality

a. Confidentiality and Healthy Disclosures
b. Creating Healthy Communication Channels
c. Avoiding "Parking Lot" Conversations
d. The Peril of Anonymous Feedback

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8. From "Me" to "We": Healthy Communications

a. Speaking with One Voice
b. Team Players: Interpersonal Dynamics
c. Minutes and Records

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Fiduciary Responsibilities

9. Who's the Boss? Board as Employer

a. Our Values, Our Staff 
b. Compensation Guidelines
c. The Unique Finances of Your Minister
d. Personnel Policies and Best Practices

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10. Guarding the Institution: Balancing Stability and Vision

a. Monitoring Policies and Guiding Documents
b. Goals, Dashboard reports & Accountability
c. Safety
d. Systems of Trust and Accountability

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Who's on First: Clarifying Board Roles

11. A Strange Partnership: Governance and Ministry

a. Authority and Accountability
b. The Mission-Based Board
c. Ministry as Partnership
d. There's Enough Ministry to Go Around!

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12. Staying in My Lane: Governance Roles and Responsibilities

a. Officers and Executive Committees
b. Standing Committees
c. Open vs. Executive Session
d. Understanding Boundaries


About the Author

  • 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 UUA Congregational Life Staff...

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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