Building Effective Boards for Religious Organizations: A Handbook for Trustees, Presidents, and Church Leaders / Edition 1

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Nonprofit boards are, without question, most effective when they're structured around the organization's goals. If an organization's mission is religious-as it is for about half of all nonprofits-the board must interpret its roles and responsibilities accordingly if it is to function properly. Building Effective Boards for Religious Organizations-a first-ever look at a board's crucial role in a religious nonprofit-is a comprehensive, practical handbook for any religious organization.Drawing clear insights from a wide variety of religious board experts, Building Effective Boards for Religious Organizations addresses the challenges of understanding how and why religious boards operate as they do. Through case studies and concrete recommAndations, this dynamic guide shows how boards can replace the hierarchical management model with a cooperative model of trusteeship that encourages a faithful, and more effective, practice of governance. It illuminates the board's proper role in strategic planning, offers insights on how to deal with mergers, provides a process for reading the current health of the organization, and shows how a deep appreciation of the organization's mission enables boards to organize for greater impact.Focusing close attention on specific dimensions of the board-from its structure and communication functions to its application of religious beliefs and traditions in its work-the authors offer many practical ways a board can work to improve effectiveness. They show how to get started on change, how to identify shared priorities for action, how to generate movement and sustain ongoing growth, and how to make better use of information and communication formats to support greater effectiveness.Building Effective Boards for Religious Organizations gives religious boards precisely the perspectives, models, and tools they need to advance a wide range of issues and shows them how to work together more creatively and productively. Members of the

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is truly masterful. It matches our situation so well it is uncanny. The book will act as the sailor's basic navigation tools for nonprofit managers and trustees. It is very learning-community oriented and has high value for everyone." —William Andersen, executive director, The Episcopal Church Foundation

"Should be on the desk in every religious organization. Holland and Hester guide the reader through governance basics, from purpose to planning, with faithful attention to the special role of shared leadership." —Pat Murrell, professor, University of Memphis

"This book is an excellent resource for boards of religious organizations. Each essay contains at least one model on which to reflect or a tool with which to strengthen a board." —Margaret M. Healy, president, Rosemont College

"If you want to improve the governance of religious organizations, read this book. The assembled experts provide a roadmap for how a board can add value to the organization it serves." —Eugene R. Smoley, Jr., senior fellow, The Cheswick Center

"This ought to be required reading for any member of a religious board and those who serve with them." —John M. Mulder, president, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

"A rare opportunity to encounter the experience of the most respected leaders in the governance of theological education. Presidents should not miss it." —Ansley Coe Throckmorton, president, Bangor Theological Seminary

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787945633
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/25/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS P. HOLLAND, Ph.D., is a professor and director of the Institute for Nonprofit Organizations, University of Georgia School of Social Work. He has done extensive research and consulting on strengthening board effectiveness and is the author of many books, including Improving Board Effectiveness (1997). DAVID C. HESTER, Ph.D., is professor of Christian education at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Along with Dr. Holland, he was the recipient of a Lilly Endowment grant to study and evaluate board development programs at seminaries throughout the United States.

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Table of Contents



Stewards of Hope: The Work of Trustees (M. Warford).

The Duties and Responsibilities of Boards of Religious Organizations (T. Holland).

The Religious Mission of the Board (W. Sachs).

Practicing Governance in the Light of Faith (D. Hester).


Developing a More Effective Board (T. Holland).

Beyond Hierarchies: Transforming Power and Leadership (T. Savage).

Boundary Spanning: Building Bridges Between an Organization and Its Environment (C. Klein).

The Merger Challenge: Building a Cohesive Culture (D. Nygren, et al.).

The Board's Role in Shaping Strategy (R. Chait).

Providing Meaningful Information for Governance (L. Butler).

Conclusion: Turning Toward the Future.


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