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Governance and Bylaws Initiative

Thank you for taking the time to review our plans to update CCSM’s Bylaws and refine our governance structure this fall. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions after looking at this material, please share them (confidentially) via the form on the right side of this page. We’ll be responding to your individual comments directly throughout the summer and also developing a collective list of Questions and Answers below for everyone’s benefit.

Thank you for your input into this process!

Key Dates

June 17th, June 24th, July 1st, July 8th,  August 12th, September 9th Coffee Hour Q & A. Come by and find us in Kloss Hall!  We’ll be available to share more about this initiative and answer any questions you might have.

August 5th (Second Hour) and August 19th (Second Hour) – Bylaws Forums.  Attend a Bylaws Forum prior to the Special Meeting, ask questions and provide feedback.

August 25th (9am – noon) Council of Ministries Meeting: Visioning & Planning. We will be piloting our Council of Ministries meeting format on this date. This meeting is open to EVERYONE who wants to find their place in CCSM’s Ministry and we encourage your attendance and feedback. Penny and Marge are facilitating. Please read the “CCSM Ministries” document below and stay tuned for details.

September 9th – Proposed Bylaws Finalized and Available. Hard copies will be available in the church office.

September 23rd – Special Congregational Meeting (target date). Members will vote on the Bylaws at this meeting. Once the Bylaws are approved, we will then proceed with a vote on the incoming leadership slate.

Ongoing Monitoring. An important part of this process comes after the updated Bylaws and refined governance structure are implementedOver the next year, the Board will assess the effectiveness of these modifications and share any further recommendations we might have via The Pine Tree and congregational meetings. We will again be reaching out to members for input during this stage of the initiative.

Key Information

Please click on the name of the documents/media below to view.

START HERE – 6 minute overview video.

New Bylaws draft – Annotated version with explanations of specific provisions. The Bylaws will be finalized only after we hold forums with our members to answer questions and receive feedback.

Snapshot Comparison – High level comparison between current and refined governance structure.

Current Bylaws – For your convenience.

CCSM Identity – Referenced in the New Bylaws draft.

CCSM Ministries – Referenced in the New Bylaws draft.

CCSM Committees  – Referenced in the New Bylaws draft.

Questions and Answers

Below are our responses to questions/comments that have been provided throughout the process:

Q. Why are we undertaking this initiative now?

A. This initiative began within the Board of Ministries a couple years back when Jeanne Back was in her first term as moderator. It started as a series of discussions among members whenever there was time on the agenda and then became formalized into an intentional project.

The Board of Ministries had been dealing with repeated issues in recent years — lack of role clarity; reactivity; inability to address important, but less-urgent issues; and a mismatch between what the Bylaws stipulated and how we have actually been operating (to name a few). We thought the time was ripe to make these changes while CCSM is strong and vibrant.

Q. Is this initiative so major that you could call it a paradigm shift?

Many of the changes we’re proposing to our Bylaws are meant to better reflect how we’re actually operating today.

With this being said, most of the felt change will be by those in leadership positions — Board members and Ministry Leads. The Ministry Leads (currently called Chairs) will no longer be required to serve on the Board. Also, they will now receive training and guidance so that they can effectively support the teams within their ministry areas. New Board members will be trained as well.

The rest of us who are not in these more senior leadership roles will more likely notice: 1) greater transparency from the Board and 2) greater visibility and flexibility with regard to CCSM’s ministry opportunities.

Other obvious changes are: 1) leadership elected in January (not June) and 2) a reduction in our slate from 70+ people to 21.

We hope that whatever “shift” people feel is deemed to be a positive one!

Q. Why are you eliminating nine-member ministries?

The reality is that many of our ministry teams are not full; the three-year term is a barrier to participation; people often don’t serve three years anyway; we want to de-emphasize top-down committee “work”;  and each ministry is unique with different requirements.

We want to build in more flexibility so that each ministry has a composition that supports its needs for the priorities it has in a particular year — which most likely is a number other than “nine”.  We will be working with leads to define what numbers they need to support the teams in their ministry areas with an emphasis on promoting action-oriented teams and one time volunteer opportunities.

Q. Now that we have twelve ministries instead of six, won’t this mean we’ll need a lot more volunteers? Given that it is so hard to fill the slate currently, won’t it make this exercise even harder?

We’re going to answer this question with a mini-CCSM history lesson.

Our proposed refinements actually better support what the architects of our current governance structure had in mind. Under our current structure, most of our ministry work should be carried out by “task teams” (term from our current Bylaws) — small, self-organizing groups that have a clear sense of purpose without any term requirements (see our Ministries Description document). In other words, discreet teams with specialized purposes that fit under the umbrella of a broader ministry mission are actually what make up our ministries.

In recent years, however, the emphasis has shifted from these action-oriented teams to our nine-member “planning” ministries. Our recruitment efforts have been focused on filling the slate of committee members every spring rather than focusing on linking people to action-oriented, team opportunities where they may feel called to serve and participate. Consequently, in addition to planning, our ministry members often wind up running a variety of events and programming as well. It is very hard to recruit people to our ministries under these circumstances.

Our new ministries are pretty much a regrouping of our current ministries to be more focused with the addition of a Communications ministry and the formalization of the Latino Ministry.

Q. Will this new structure create silos?

Great question! It is designed to eliminate our current silos. Right now, our ministries plan independently from each other and from any priorities the Board may have. In our new model, high level Board priorities will be shared at the Council of Ministries meetings along with liturgical themes from Penny that our collective ministry will then utilize in high level planning, together.

Additional planning and coordination will take place between meetings, but we believe they will be doing so with better information and with a sense of being part of something much larger.

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