Simplified Board Structure

Many United Methodist churches are going to a streamlined form of congregational governance which is more effective use of our time and resources today. Annual Conferences everywhere are encouraging this development as they see the advantages of lean, more strategic church leadership.

Our focus is to have efficient, accountable church leadership while getting more people involved in mission and ministry instead of committees.

Here is a PowerPoint presentation to review with your nominations and church council on the overview of the simplified board model. The PowerPoint presents:

  • How churches are structured
  • Leadership Inventory of who all is involved in leadership
  • Define a simplified leadership board & ministry teams
  • Figure out what type of simplified leadership board structure looks like in your congregation
  • Incorporate three key documents in governance meetings: covenant, agenda and guiding principles



Nuts & Bolts

Simplified church structure by-laws template from the Indiana Conference

From the 2016 Book of Discipline – Alternative Structure  ¶ 247.2

The charge conference, the district superintendent, and the pastor, when a pastor has been appointed, shall organize and administer the pastoral charge and churches according to the policies and plans herein set forth.  When the membership size, program scope, mission resources, or other circumstances so require, the church conference may, in consultation with and upon the approval of the district superintendent, modify the organizational plans, provided that the provisions of ¶ 243 are observed.

Churches are encouraged to develop a church management structure that best serves the mission and ministry of the congregation in accordance with the Book of Discipline and in conversation with the people of the church and your district superintendent. Many of our churches have been in this process and are seeing the rewards of a streamlined structure.

5 Steps to Get Started in Exploring the Simplified Board Leadership Model 

  1. Intake call with liaison to hear background and notes
  2. Establish a training for pastor and key lay leaders for common understanding, timeline and next steps.
  3. Church council sends a copy of the structure you plan to populate as well as the missional reason you are moving to this structure to the DS for approval to move forward.
  4. Coach meets with training for Church Council, Nominations, Congregation on missional reason, specific structure, and timeline want to include for the whole church.
  5. Church council ensures every person is aware of missional reasoning, change in leadership structure and receives questions from congregation with prayer and discernment. Then vote at a charge conference. Work on implementation phase with nominations, and a year of walking with a coach on roles, agenda, and guiding principles.

If your church, network or district would like coaching or training on restructuring the committees into a simplified board model, contact your District Superintendent.

The congregational excellence staff assigned to your district will be glad to assist you with further resources: