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Elders - A Model for Authority, Clarity and Decision Making

I love the fact that Dave is using a sporting illustration here in his writing. Thank you, Dave Harvey, for this useful paper and we look forward to reading your book!

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invisible box

Elders - A Model for Authority, Clarity and Decision Making

I love the fact that Dave is using a sporting illustration here in his writing. Thank you, Dave Harvey, for this useful paper and we look forward to reading your book!

Elders - A Model for Authority, Clarity and Decision Making

I love the fact that Dave is using a sporting illustration here in his writing. Thank you, Dave Harvey, for this useful paper and we look forward to reading your book!

Elders - A Model for Authority, Clarity and Decision Making

Here at The Church Office, we appreciate that one of the best ways to learn can be to read. And I love passing on a great book recommendation! Our good friend Dave Harvey has recently written a book for Church Leaders offering additional guidance in understanding their roles in the work of governance. Here is an introduction to some of his thoughts on the topic which I think you will find really useful- I love the fact that Dave is using a sporting illustration here in his writing. Thank you, Dave Harvey, for this useful paper and we look forward to reading your book!

 

Elders - A Model for Authority, Clarity and Decision Making

The Role: Staff

The Responsibilities: Management

Let’s look at the distinction between governance and management. Governance is the proper application of power and policies for mission ends. Management, on the other hand, is the administration of delegated power for mission means. Governance is about identifying and protecting the ends (why and what -- why do we exist and what should we do in response?). Management is about effectively executing the means (How & when -day-to-day operations).

 

“While the board protects the ministry with excellence and the pastor orchestrates the ministry with excellence, the primary function of staff is excellence in execution".[1]

 

Staff includes anyone outside of the elders (full-time, part-time,or volunteer) who leads or manages a department or team. The staff exists to convert vision to action. They are called to steward the mobilized church towards doing the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-13). In a robust model, the staff answers to the Senior Leader or Executive Pastor, not to the Elder Board. Where the lanes of responsibility and accountability are clearly defined, security blossoms and the ecosystem for collaboration is more easily catalyzed.

In an era where leadership is often prescribed as the answer to every church deficiency, a wise Senior Leader recognizes the irreplaceable role of ministry-multiplying managers who can love people while they create and sustain the systems necessary for operational excellence.

Flow Chart

While no diagram captures the complexity and overlap of church roles and responsibilities, this chart is offered as a visual portrayal of what we discussed above. It borrows from a sports model hoping that the metaphor will enhance the clarity. 

 

The RACI Tool

 Definitions and Rules

The RACI tool is a simple tool for mapping power and responsibility by thinking through specific tasks and assigning who is responsible (R),accountable (A), and who should be consulted (C) and informed (I).

Rules for using the RACI Matrix

▪         Only One Responsible and Accountable Person: It is essential that only one person be assigned the R/A roles. Having more than one person responsible for the same task increases ambiguity and the chances of the work not being performed. It could also lead to duplication of work or waste of effort.

▪         Responsible-Accountable is Mandatory: The consult or inform roles are not mandatory for every activity. It is possible that some activities may not require them at all. But the responsible accountable roles must be assigned. Even if the system is performing the tasks automatically, someone must be made accountable to see that it does get done.

▪         Communication with the Consultant: There must be a two-way channel of communication with the consultant. The person who must be consulted before a decision or action is taken. This may be stakeholders, or possibly subject-matter experts consulted to cross-examine or improve a decision. Hence one has to ensure that adequate follow-up is done and there is minimum time lag to complete the communication and consider any feedback.

▪         Informing the required parties This is a one-way channel of communication that informs stakeholders (or others) that a decision or action is immanent or has been taken.

▪         “Accountable” for the eldership means action for others. Where the elder board is accountable, the Board Chair and the Senior Leader are vitally involved in supplying information, stewarding processes and shepherding tasks to ensure the elders can make informed decisions.

▪         Staff Size – Staff size may make a difference on who is responsible.

 

To explore Dave’s helpful ideas further ‘The Plurality Principle: Building and Sustaining a Thriving Leadership Culture’ is available for pre-order now for £12.99 here. If you know someone who you think this may be helpful for please pass it along!


[1] Kaiser, John, Winning on Purpose (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2006), 119

 

Dave Harvey
Dave Harvey
Dave Harvey (D. Min – Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as the president of Great Commission Collective, a church planting ministry in the US, Canada and abroad. In his 33 years of ministry, Dave was president of Sojourn Network, oversaw church planting, church care & international outreach for Sovereign Grace Churches, was a lead pastor for 19 years, and pastored for a total of 33 years. He is also the founder of AmICalled.com. Dave presently serves on the board for the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) and has traveled nationally and internationally doing conferences where he teaches Christians, trains pastors & church planters and conducts marriage events. Dave served as general editor for the Sojourn Network ‘How-To’ series and contributes regularly at The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, and For the Church. Dave is the author of When Sinners Say I Do, Am I Called?, Rescuing Ambition, Letting Go: Rugged Love For Wayward Soul (co-authored w/ Paul Gilbert), and I STILL DO! Growing Closer and Stronger Through Life’s Defining Moments. Married for 37 years, Dave and Kimm have four kids, four grandkids and lives in southwest Florida.

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