Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Parish Leadership 4: Tips for Organizing Around Goals and Work

To accomplish your work, this blog will be a series of bullet points with suggestions and ideas to help you in your work and calling to serve Christ’s Church as a leader.

1.     When I visit a Vestry Meeting, I like to see that each member has a Vestry Notebook. Page one is a statement of the parish’s vision or mission.

2.     Page two contains the current 1 to 3 years goals as set by the vestry leadership at a workday or retreat.

3.     Next to each goal is the name of the Vestry Member of Clergy who is assigned the role of shepherd of the Goal.  This person reports at each vestry meeting on the progress and status of this goal.

4.     I like to see the meeting start with a sharing of prayer concerns followed by a time of prayer.

5.     I want the business to begin with a report from the Rector, the Senior Warden, the Junior Warden, the Administrator or Treasurer.

6.     Next should follow a report from any Vestry Committees. A typical list might include:  Administration, Buildings and Grounds, Staff and Program. I would hope there would be a report from an on-going stewardship committee.  (Note these committees are organized around the vestry’s work)

7.     I would like to see an update from each of the shepherds of the current goals at each meeting.

8.     Each motion or resolutions from each committee or individual should be in writing which would include the alternatives considered the recommended.

9.     If the parish is larger, I would hope staff members and leaders of ministries would be invited to update the Vestry on their work on a regular basis.

10.   I would hope that there would be a year-round Stewardship Committee who would be charged with addressing the traditional stewardship of Time, Talents, and Treasure. The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) has excellent resources for communicating and teaching on Stewardship.

11. I would hope that the Stewardship Committee would focus on each of these at different times of the year. For example, Rally Day would be a great time to have a Ministry Fair with tables representing all Parish organizations and ministries to focus on the Stewardship of Time where members are encouraged to sign up or join.

12.  I would like to see the leadership consider a Stewardship Campaign for financial support in January before the Annual Meeting. Each Sunday, I would hope that there would be a brief witness on stewardship by diverse members of the congregation i.e., married, single, young, more mature, who state why they give to God’s work and support their parish.

13. There should be written requirements for Vestry Members that includes that they “recognize that the Tithe is the minimal standard of giving in the Episcopal Church and that they are committed to tithing or working toward the Tithe during their tenure on the Vestry.

14.  I would like to see that Vestry requirements include a pledge to pray regularly for the parish and for those with special needs.

15.  Leaders should make the Annual Meeting a festive occasion when the life of the parish is celebrated.

16.  The financial report should not be a detailed explanation of the budget, but a narrative description of the parish’s life and work. (a pie chart is often a helpful tool for such a presentation.)

17.  I would hope that at the Annual Meeting there would be special recognition of the longest tenured members of the Parish and welcoming of the newest members.

18.  I believe that each leader should see a part of their work as helping create an emotionally positive experience during the Sunday fellowship. (Sunday is not a day for complaining!)

19.  Churches should have both ushers and greeters (which includes families with children) and a designated Vestry Member of the Day who wears a ribbon that says, “Vestry Member: Ask Me!” (Visit the “Invite, Welcome, Connect” website for excellent recommendations on connecting to visitors and newcomers.)

20.  I would like to see the “coffee hour” replaced with a reception for visitors and new members and that each leader sees this time as an opportunity to meet and greet everyone in the room.

21.  I would encourage all leaders to remember that modeling is not a way we lead, but the only way we lead.