Recently, I was asked the questions, “What does the Board do? What is the purpose of the Board?"
In answer to these questions, the primary responsibilities of the Board are to:
- Set policy
- Recommend a budget to the congregation
- Be accountable for achieving the mission of MSUS
The Board Sets Policy
Policy provides a framework for decisions that need to be made multiple times over a long period of time. Examples of questions that can be answered by our policies are:
- Who gets priority to use the church space?
- What actions will be taken to ensure the safety of children?
- How will conflict between two members of the congregation be handled?
- How will conflict between a staff person and a member of the congregation be handled?
- How are our investments handled?
- How will the income from pledges, fundraisers and Sunday collections be used?
The policies of MSUS are kept in a manual. Board members, staff, and Reverend Laura have copies. See me or Beth Hitomi if you would like to see the manual. Consider the manual a first stop reference about how things should be done or why things are done the way they are. My goal is to get the manual online so that the congregation has access to policies electronically.
Over the last few years, the board has made a conscious effort to focus on policy issues and delegate program decisions to appropriate committees and staff.
The Board Recommends the Budget and Oversees Finances
As many of you know, the Board recommends the budget for congregational approval at our annual meeting. In order for Board members to have insight into issues, concerns, hopes and dreams of the congregation, they must be in communication with the congregation throughout the year, not just at the annual meeting. Serving as liaisons to committees and having conversations during social hour are examples of how Board members connect with the congregation regarding what’s on their mind.
The Board is Accountable for Achieving the Mission of MSUS (The Board Serves as Fiduciary of the Mission)
“The Board serves as fiduciary of the mission.” I was very intrigued by this statement I read in a book entitled Governance and Ministry, Rethinking Board Leadership by Dan Hotchkiss. At first I thought fiduciary is a strange term to use. To me fiduciary had something to do with overseeing the use of money. He defines fiduciary as “anyone whose duty it is to act in faithfulness to the interest of another." Achieving the mission is what the Board is accountable for. This means the Board needs to ensure MSUS has an up-to-date mission statement and goals and strategies in place for achieving the mission. Monitoring progress is also their responsibility.
Thanks to Board members for their leadership, guidance, and oversight in setting policy, financial management and being accountable for achieving the mission of MSUS.
Laurie Young, President, MUSUS Board of Trustees