Friday, May 1, 2015

Good Governance for Presbytery

Presbytery meetings are unusual because they include procedural or administrative items and theological and pastoral discussion. They're the building blocks of the Presbyterian Church, take substantial time and sometimes make decisions with significant ramifications. So here are my tips to making Presbytery better.

  • The moderator needs to keep an eye on the clock, moving procedural items along quickly to give time to theological and pastoral items
  • A good clerk is worth their weight in gold
  • Presbytery should keep a list of standing orders, little ways of doing things that are peculiar to that particular group and that can be given to new members. 
  • If possible meet during the day, this allows for extended discussion and breaks for networking (being kept up late is generally a bad pastoral move)
  • Circulate material, agenda, reports, correspondence requiring action etc several days before meeting
  • Develop a standing order where, non-controversial items are automatically approved and delegated
  • Use the devotion time as a time to preach a short sermon, rarely do the ministers get to hear each other
  • Don't pad reports, there's no need to persuade, just present the information
  • Don't be afraid to attempt to persuade and negotiate during discussion though
  • A good moderator should flag when the discussion is loose and informal and then flag when Roberts Rules should be adhered to closely
  • Meet in a geographically central location
  • The seating arrangement will affect the dynamic of the discussions

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