January 29, 2018

What do you wish you had known when you first joined the vestry?

ECF Vital Practices seeks to build online communities of Episcopalians who share their stories, experiences, and best practices, who learn from one another, and who discover support to help sustain their leadership and their ministries. Late last year, we asked the church leaders on our Facebook page a question: What do you wish you had known when you first joined the vestry?

Below are their answers supplemented with ECF Vital Practices resources to help you take concrete first steps towards effective vestry leadership.

Jeffrey J – “I would ask the vestry to spend as much time reading the Bible as they do the budget.”

  • Vestry Meditations
  • The Vocational Vestry
  • Bonus – Looking for a way to start bible studies during Lent? Forward Movement is sponsoring a Good Book Club to help you do just that. Learn more by attending a webinar on January 31 at 3:30 PM ET. Register here. You can visit the Good Book Club on Forward Movement’s website here.

Larry H – “Take advantage of diocesan training opportunities. Keep an open mind. Try to stifle the “but we’ve always done it this way excuse””

Brenda P – “Study Roberts Rules of Order for meeting protocol. Also, insist on the topic list at least two days ahead of time. It’s important to be informed, not blindsided.”

Susan T – “Familiarize yourself with your Diocese and Church’s websites. The Diocesan site is chockfull of helpful information for use by your vestry.”

Rosina H – “Remember you are on the business side of the church when you enter the meeting.”

J. Barrett L – “ALWAYS begin meetings with extended prayer. Evening Prayer or Order of Worship for Evening. Have the agenda, committee reports, and all motions submitted in writing before the meeting and try to keep the business section under an hour.”

Elaine B – “Understand that a church's budget and revenue/expense reports are not the same as a business'. The church's money should be spent wisely, but it is a tool for ministry.”

Nick S – “I wish I had had a better understanding of fiduciary responsibilities and reporting.”

Need additional resources? Check out these two articles to find some more pointers.

Are you a new vestry member? Join us on February 1 at 3:30 PM ET for a Q&A webinar with Donald Romanik on what new vestry members should know. You can register for the webinar here or catch it live on our Facebook page.