Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2016 Governance Implementation Team Report

This is a preview copy of the 2016 Annual Report about the activities of the Governance Implementation Team (GIT). This report will be part of the Meeting Book all members have access to in preparation for the Abiding Love Congregation Meeting on November 13, 2016.

Activities of the Abiding Love Lutheran Church Governance Implementation Team
Prepared for the November 13, 2016 Congregational Meeting

The Governance Implementation Team (GIT) is authorized by the ALLC Congregation Council to plan revisions to the Abiding Love governance structure and processes. This report provides details about what has been accomplished, how we got here, and a preview of plans for the next few months. The large number of moving parts related Governance change can seem quite complicated. The following summarizes what the team has been up to.

The key elements of the governance change process are:
   Structural and functional revisions to the ALLC Council that allow it to serve as a planning and visioning body dealing with policy and the future of the congregation rather than the details of operations management. The common phrase for this process is known as policy-based governance.
   Staffing additions and modifications that provide professional leadership support in key ministry programs.
   The development of Ministry Areas comprised of church volunteers operating with authority under the guidance of a Ministry Area director, and supported by dedicated staff.
   An eventual reduction in the amount of time the pastoral staff spends on administrative duties.
The three phases of the Implementation Team’s work are shown in bullet form below:
   Phase 1— Mid 2013 through January 2014, chaired by Greta Rymal.
This initial phase was an exploratory and evaluation process, which reviewed possible needs and  reasons for changes in the congregation’s governance structure, and analyzed possible options. Stagnating congregation growth and symptoms of volunteer burnout motivated the council to commission this group in 2013. This group reported its progress to the new Congregation Council in January 2014.
   Explored existing governance structure, evaluate problems and limitations.
   Explored organizational and congregational governance alternatives.
   Communicated with the church Council about its finding and recommendations.
   Phase 2— April 2014 through December 2015 
This group considered and recommended to council a new model of church governance.  The group followed up with comprehensive church-wide communication of the council approved governance change recommendations. The changes, including the establishment of ministry areas and a timetable, were approved in a congregational meeting. George Glaser chaired the group in 2014and Leslie Van Leeuwen chaired it in 2015.
   Decided on a governance model fitting the congregational needs.
   Named specific Ministry Areas and their functions.
   Developed a committee tasked with exploring the actual functioning of a visioning” and policy-based Council (what does it look like, and what does it do?)
   Advised the Council on structural recommendations, timetables, and staffing issues. 

   Phase 3—Begun in January 2016, this phase will continue for an indeterminate period as Abiding Love moves forward with the changes approved by the Council and congregation members at the November 2015 Congregational Meeting. The Phase 3 group has the responsibility for working with the Council, staff, congregation members and the Synod in planning and assisting in the implementation of the governance changes. George Glaser is chair of the group in 2016.
   Assists the Council in their initial task of creating new Ministry Areas (MAs) for Fellowship and Outreach, to be followed by other MAs including Worship Life and Children’s Services.
   Works with the Council Task Force, which is developing plans for the structure and functions of the redesigned Congregational Council.
   Works with the Staffing Committee in their work developing a plan that takes into account staffing needs.

Current Timeline for Approval of Revised Constitution & Bylaws
   Committee Recommendations Draft (October 2016) 
   Committee Recommendations Final (November 2016) 
   Presentation of the plan to congregational Council (December 2016)
   Synod Notification of plan (January 2017)
   Town halls/Small group Educational activities (February 2017) 
   Notice to Congregation (mid-March 2017)
   Congregational Meeting (end of March 2017)

The Governance Implementation Team communicates with the congregation on a regular basis through postings on the Governance Blog, accessible through the Abiding Love home page at Check it every month or so, and post questions and comments on that page as a way of staying informed about this important process.

Submitted by George Glaser
Chair, 2016 Governance Implementation Team

Friday, October 7, 2016

Governance Implementation Team Update—October 6, 2016

Blessings to all,

The Governance Implementation Team (GIT) is now at the point where we are vigorously working on revisions of the two major governance documents of our congregation: the Constitution and the Bylaws. Steve Kikta has been doing work on these items since we started looking at the governance issue in 2013. Now things are really starting to rev up as the GIT and the Council Task Force are in the process of preparing new language for these documents that will be presented to the Synod for its approval in January 2017, and to the congregation for approval in early spring 2017.

The existing ALLC Constitution and the draft of the revised Constitution contain language required by the ELCA for all congregations. However, there are several constitutional articles regarding the governance structure and process that can be handled more flexibly by moving details to the Bylaws, and that is the direction the planning groups are using in this revision process.

Look for a full report from the GIT in the Congregational Reports at the November congregational meeting. In the meantime, feel free to contact any members of the GIT, or post a comment or question on the blog.

Yours in Christ,
George Glaser

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Governance Implementation Team continues to move forward in our work of planning and transforming the governance policies and processes at Abiding Love. We have retained the services of consultant Dick Moeller with a company called Enovate Enterprises to help focus and guide us in our decisions about the decisions and timeline for proceeding with the necessary governance and operational changes. Dick is well-known to the Abiding Love congregation as the Executive Director of the international Water To Thrive Program.

The most visible changes to-date are the operations of the revised Fellowship and Outreach Ministry Areas. We are very lucky to have two ministry leaders, Billye Trostel and Steve Kikta who have been doing a great job of forging ahead in the Fellowship and Outreach Ministry areas without the benefit of a clear roadmap. In fact, I would say they are creating maps in ways that are great examples for those who will follow them.

There is also a Staffing Committee chaired by Kurt Lowe that will examine the personnel needs of the church as we move forward. This group has already started meeting and is expected to meet through the remainder of 2016. The Staffing Committee is working in coordination with the GIT.

Good communication is a big part of successfully making these changes. We invite you to speak with any member of the Governance Implementation Team with your questions and comments about the what is happening. We also hope members will use this blog and the Comments section to post any questions or comments.

We have a busy period ahead of us as we prepare the revised Constitution and Bylaws for Abiding Love, communicate with the congregation about all of these changes and what they mean, and submit the revised documents to the Synod for approval. Please pray for God's help with our work.

Monday, July 4, 2016

This is a mid-summer update on the activities of the Governance Implementation Team (GIT), and governance changes taking place at Abiding Love. 
  • The Fellowship and Outreach Ministry Areas continue to organize and practice under the evolving model with great success so far.
  • The Finance Committee approved a plan for the Governance Implementation Team (GIT) and the Council Task Force to hire Dick Moeller as a consultant to work with the two groups at least through the end of 2016. As you may know, Dick is the Executive Director of Water To Thrive, and he is a professional consultant who has worked with many congregations around the country on governance issues and other matters. Dick has already provided Abiding Love with many hours of pro bono work, and will begin his contract work with us this month at the July 13th GIT meeting.
  • Pastor Lynnae's decision to accept the new call and leave Abiding Love opens up a variety of possibilities for changing the organizational structure at Abiding Love. The GIT will be exploring these possibilities, and working with Pastor Brad and the Church Council regarding recommendations for new staffing configurations.
  • We look forward to working with Frank Loya, the newly hired Communications staff member.
Please check with me or any other members of the GIT about questions or concerns related to the governance changes. And this blog is a great place to post your comments. 

Yours in Christ,

George Glaser
Chair, Governance Implementation Team

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The 2016 ALLC Governance Implementation Team meets on a monthly basis for planning and oversight of the governance and operational changes that approved by the Congregational Council and members of Abiding Love. The current team is Chaired by me, and includes Kurt Lowe, Dale Sump, Steve Kikta, Liz Segner-Zarate, and Pastors Lynnae Sorensen and Brad Highum.

Additionally, a new and very active committee under the direction of the GIT is envisioning and planning the revised Council structure and processes. This group is named the Council Task Force (CTF), and is Chaired by Greg Dew. The other members of the CTF are Pastor Lynnae Sorenson, Leslie A. Van Leeuwen, Bill Hatcher, Pastor Brad Highum, Mark Glowacz, and Lisa Krabbenhoft. As you can see, the pastors are integrally involved in these two important planning groups.

Operational changes are already in place through the development of new organizational structures called Ministry Areas. These are groups representing the combined planning and functions of several previous boards, with much greater freedom and authority to get their job(s) done with less direct supervision by a Board Director. 

The Congregation Council accepted the recommendations of the GIT and began the transition to the new governance structure by designating the Fellowship Ministry Area and the Outreach Ministry Area. Billye Reeves-Trostel leads the Fellowship Ministry Area, and Steve Kikta heads up the Outreach Ministry Area. Feel free to talk with Billye or Steve about the specifics of what’s happening in those areas and how you might be able to help. 

We would like this blog to be an important communicational element in letting the congregation know about what is happening with the governance processes, so be sure to leave your comments or questions to help inspire that conversation.

Blessings to all,

       ~ George Glaser ~

Chair, Governance Implementation Team