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10. Guarding the Institution: Balancing Stability and Vision

Wrought Iron fence with sunset

Board members are often referred to as "trustees," meaning that they have fiduciary responsibilities to the congregation. They owe the congregation the duties of good faith and trust and are bound ethically to act in the best interest of not the congregation's membership, but to its mission in the world.

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Annual Planning

Many congregations start the church year with a retreat for the Board of Trustees (including the Minister). Ideally, this retreat is held Friday evening through Saturday afternoon, at a site away from the place you usually meet. Why do a Board retreat? Three reasons come to mind: getting acquainted, setting norms, and setting the Board's priorities for the church year.

More on Board Retreats

Goals and Reporting

To keep the congregation focused on its mission and vision, it's helpful to have a strategic plan or direction to help set annual goals. But even if you don't have a strategic plan, it's helpful to set annual goals and check in on how you are meeting those goals during board meetings.

More on Goals and Assessment

Safety

Our congregations strive to be safe and welcoming places to all. It is impossible to make a congregation 100% safe; however, there are steps that you can take to make your congregation safer while still creating a supportive space for learning, growth, and challenge as well as actively working for the inclusion and safety of all people. 

More on Safe Congregations

Systems of Trust and Accountability

To create a culture of trust among board members, it is important to pay attention to leadership qualities that promote trust: Competence, Authenticity and Reliability.

More on Trust

About the Author

UUA Congregational Life Staff Group

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...

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

Strategic Leadership

In the online course, gain a deeper understanding of how to focus your congregation on mission, by building trust and developing a cohesive leadership team. 

Strategic Leadership