The Key to Strategic Implementation? Communication

by Linda Buskirk on May 23, 2016

“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.”(Acts 2: 14)

It must have been breathtaking to be there at the first Pentecost, to hear God’s Word come to life in a mass of languages. However, it was after that Holy Spirit rush that the conversion began. When Peter communicated the Good News, 3,000 people were baptized on the spot.

I am guessing there were no tongues of fire dancing at your annual meeting, but perhaps proposals about new programs sparked enthusiasm for the coming year. If there has been a lull in progress since that time, consider the role communication plays in implementing good ideas.

I was once part of the leadership team at a small but growing Roman Catholic university. Pushing for the school to create its first comprehensive strategic plan was the marketing director. Her voice and direction strongly guided the implementation of many strategic initiatives – even the start of the school’s first football team.

“But she’s the marketing director,” I thought. “What does she know about football?”

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Registrar, Clerk, Or Secretary?

by Greg Syler on May 19, 2016

Our by-laws stipulate that one of the officers of the vestry is a person called ‘registrar.’ This person records minutes of vestry meetings and makes them available to the group. “[S]hall keep or cause to be kept true and accurate minutes of all meetings. …Copies of vestry minutes shall be made available to each member prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting.” The duties of the registrar as found in our by-laws are just as straightforward: “The registrar shall record the minutes of all vestry meetings and all-parish meetings in a suitable minute book, which shall be maintained in the church office.”

Our parochial report asks us every year to provide the name of the clerk of the vestry, which we assume means our registrar. And our diocese, meanwhile, asks us every year to update our list of parish officers, and specifically they ask us to provide them the name of the secretary of our vestry.

Registrar? Clerk? Secretary?

All of these titles are talking about (roughly) the same job. They’re referring to the person who records and, as needed, revises minutes of vestry meetings and, from time to time, meetings of the parish. I get it, and so do you. I wouldn’t waste your time with a blog post about different names for the same basic job. I promise.

The question I want to leave here for the church is whether we might want to look at enhancing, expanding or making more useful the job of registrar / clerk / secretary?

The fact is that, decades ago, the clerk or secretary or registrar was not only the minute-taker but also the primary record keeper and a true officer of the congregation. The registrar signed cemetery deeds, as, in our case, she still does. The registrar/clerk probably kept and updated the parish register, probably keeping it at his or her own home, recording marriages and baptisms and various other services.

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Vital Practices Digest: 5 Clergy Transition Resources for May

by Brendon Hunter on May 18, 2016

In the May Vital Practices Digest, we offer 5 resources for clergy transition in congregations, with the 5th a resource to help in developing year-round stewardship in your congregation.

Please share this digest with others in your church and invite them to subscribe to ECF Vital Practices to receive Vestry Papers and the Vital Practices Digest in their inbox.

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The Speed (or Lack Thereof) of Change

by Richelle Thompson on May 17, 2016

The conversation about building a parking lot began before I was born. And while I’m not ready for the pasture, I, sadly, no longer qualify as spring chicken.

Welcome to church time, which runs apace with glaciers.

I wonder if you, like us, have a project that’s been brewing for years but can’t seem to move from idea to action. Here’s how we pushed ahead with building a parking lot after years of the idea languishing on a pending list.

First, the rector was clear that the decision lives with the vestry, which would take recommendations from the building committee but would own the final decision and implementation. There’s truth to the adage of too many cooks in the kitchen. Plus, the vestry is comprised of the church’s elected representatives bound as stewards for the health of a congregation, including its buildings and finances.

Second, the rector and the vestry looked closely at the need. What would happen if nothing happened, if no parking lot was constructed? This church has zero off-street parking. Not even one spot. No reserved handicapped spots or places for visitors. It’s catch-as-catch-can on Sunday mornings, especially as the congregation has grown. Try finding a spot on a busy Sunday (we had nearly 400 on Easter) in a residential area. Don’t wear heels because you’ll be walking several blocks. Fortunately, the owners of a nearby funeral home attend the church, and they open their parking lot to members on Sundays. That’s a huge gift, but it’s inside knowledge—only those who attend the church already know they can park there. It’s not helpful for first-time visitors, and it’s too far for handicapped parking and for some of our aging members.

The need, the rector and vestry decided, was clear.

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Permalink  |  0 Comments Change, Leadership

Healthy Uncertainty

by Jeremiah Sierra on May 16, 2016

Imagine yourself in these scenarios: It’s about 15 minutes before your Sunday morning service and an acolyte hasn’t shown up. What do you do? The end of the year is nearing and there’s a small budget shortfall. What’s the next step? You asked someone to write an article for the newsletter and they’ve flaked out. Who do you call?

Many church leaders probably can answer these questions without too much trouble. The Church, with our congregations relying on volunteers and success being measured not just by revenue but by intangible things like spiritual growth and health, is an unpredictable organization. It requires flexibility from its leaders.

In researching for his book about productivity, Smarter Faster Better, Charles Duhigg found that the best decision makers tend to envision possible scenarios. “By pushing yourself to imagine various possibilities—some of which might be contradictory—you’re better equipped to make wise choices.”

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