BOM Training Episode 1

Episode 1 – Welcome

Handbook for Board of Managers serving through St Johns Papatoetoe.

Presented by Rev Timothy Rose

Welcome to this series of episodes introducing you to your role as a Manager. In this episode we will clarify some terms to help you understand your position. We will then give an overview of the purpose of this series. We will end this episode by providing your key resource to dig deeper into what we cover.

So let’s get started!

Let’s clarify some terms.

When some people hear “board of managers,” they think, “Okay, board of directors” and all that the term carries with it. Nope.

The closest thing to a board of directors in a  Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa of New Zealand (PCANZ) congregation is the church council.

Whoa! That was a mouthful! “Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.” St Johns Papatoetoe is part of that mouthful. We shorten by its acronym: P.C.A.N.Z. which you can refer to as pecans – and not because we are nuts either! It is just an easy way to remember the official title of our church.

So St Johns is a part of PCANZ. That means we are part of something bigger. That also means we cannot do whatever we feel like. And that is why we created this series of sessions – to help you understand where your role fits into the bigger picture.

We’ll dig done a little deeper into the structure of the church in a different episode. For now, let me back up and repeat a previous point.

The closest thing to a board of directors in a  Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa of New Zealand (PCANZ) congregation is the church council. And according to the Book of Order:

It is the council’s duty to provide “for the governance, spiritual oversight and pastoral care of its members and leadership in mission, plays a role in the wider community and, subject to chapter 16, has responsibility for the management of its finances and property.” (BOO 7.2.1 ).

Now you have probably heard about the Book of Order. It is just what it says it is: it is a book that tells us how to operate our church decently and in order. That is based on 1 Corinthians 14:40: “but all things should be done decently and in order.”

When you go through church resources and communications, you will often see the Book of Order referenced by its acronym: BOO. No one is trying to scare you! They are not shouting “boo!” At you. It is just the acronym.

The Book of Order is usually referenced by numbers, such as 10.5. The first number is the chapter of the Book. The second number is the section within that chapter, and so on. Before we show you how to access your copy of the BOO, let’s return to our original statement:

The closest thing to a board of directors in a  Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa of New Zealand (PCANZ) congregation is the church council.

In fact, the council is responsible for all elements of a congregation’s life, except the minister’s work. Ministers are accountable to the presbytery. The council does not run every program in the church, but it does have oversight of the various groups. If there are difficulties that need an official sorting out, it is the council’s responsibility to do that.

The Book of Order (BOO) allows for several combinations of leadership within a congregation to form its council. St Johns Papatoetoe adheres to the traditional model of session and board of managers. That means the session is St Johns Papatoetoe church council and the board of managers are a distinct group.

Session members, called elders, are responsible to the session itself, which in turn is accountable to presbytery. Managers, on the other hand, are responsible to the congregation, including the session. Unlike elders, who are elected by the congregation and ordained for life (though not necessarily in active service for life), the board of managers is a congregational committee.

St Johns Papatoetoe congregation determines the term for which it elects a member of to the board of managers (7.8.2). Currently, the practice is that managers are elected each year for a one year term.

Sessions add the managers’ function to their committee structure (7.1.4). St Johns Papatoetoe elects a  board of managers as a committee from the congregation to assist the session in its responsibilities.

Membership on the board of managers need not—and should not—be limited to elders. They would do well to draw on the talents of others who are involved in the life of the congregation. One long-serving manager in The Presbyterian Church of Canada said, “Every church member should serve a term on the board of managers to see what’s involved in looking after things.” (PCC Board of Managers Handbook, 4).

These episodes are primarily for members of the board of managers, to help them understand their work at St Johns Papatoetoe. However, because the board of managers works closely with the session, it would be helpful for sessions to participate in these episodes.

Ministers, who are called “teaching elders” in our tradition and are members of session, and should also be involved with these episodes. Having been trained in theology and biblical studies, ministers can help explain some terms and phrases as well as why things are done a certain way in the church.

For that matter, this series could be open to anyone in the congregation who wants to know how the church makes decisions and organises itself.

Before we close this episode, we need to make sure you know where to find a collection of helpful resources. They can be found at our denominational website, under the “For Parishes” heading.

Scroll down and you will find:

  • The Book of Order
  • A Handbook for Congregations
  • The Conditions of Service Manual

In the left hand menu, you will see Treasurers’ information – Church Management Support Guide. This is a key resource for the nitty gritty of the Manager’s role.

Of course there are a lot more to discover just in this website. For now, those are the key places to go. And of course, these episodes come with the Board of Managers Handbook upon which these episodes are based.

That’s all for now. Until next time, “let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

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