Policy Governance® was developed by John Carver and is outlined in his books Boards That Make A Difference, Reinventing Your Board, and other of his writings. This model is a complete, universal theory of governance especially for “servant-leadership” organizations such as non-profit groups and public institutions (hospitals, school boards, etc.) The Policy Governance® Model is applicable to and has been implemented by many churches across North America. Several United Churches in Canada have implemented the model either in whole or in part, and many more are considering and studying it.
Lynn Valley United Church entrusts the Board of Governance to carry out the mission, vision, and goals of the congregation and provides the Board of Governance with its donations of human and financial resources to achieve these ends. If the congregation does not achieve what it wants to achieve within the means provided then ultimately the Board of Governance is responsible.
The Board of Governance, therefore, divides the work into two basic components: Ends (The actual ministry of the congregation, known as “Ministry”) and Means (the particular way the Ministry will be achieved). Work on Ends (“Ministry”) is kept solely in the Board of Governance’s hands. This is the work of ensuring that all the members and interested persons in the congregation are heard, and that the pursuit of meaning revealed in the Christian tradition is disciplined – through prayer, study, worship and service. This is in order to determine what direction the congregation should be going, what its needs, hopes, dreams, worries, and visions are. Based on that hearing process, the Board of Governance then lays out clearly and in written form what direction and goals it will pursue. It starts doing this broadly, based on the congregation’s Mission Statement and Core Values, then narrows down to be more specific. It is disciplined in not saying how it will achieve these things but only what it wants achieved.