Separating Visioning and Management
By: Tom Bandy
Whatever your organizational model might be, it is crucial to separate the visionary and management functions. Most churches (especially small churches) fail to do so, even though their polities might designate “elders” and “stewards”, or “deacons” and “trustees” and so on. As soon as the separation becomes blurred, everyone becomes a manager and vision is either forgotten or left to the clergy.

Visionary boards never do management. They never look at budgets, read reports, or approve tactics. Instead, they model spiritual life, track the pace and character of community change, look far down the road, and open themselves to Biblical visions.

Meanwhile, management boards never shape policy. They never alter DNA, change mission statements, propose public policy, or make long term decisions. Instead, they create budgets, set executive limitations for teams, coordinate programs, and generally raise the standard of quality.

Pastors primarily relate to visionary boards. If pastors have to become involved in the day to day management of a church, it is a sign that the visioning function is non-existent and that the management team cannot really be trusted in its function. If pastors pay more attention to leadership development rather than program development, they will deploy the core staff and raise up the trusted volunteers who will manage the church far more effectively.