A Permission Giving Model
The church will be structured around the mission statement, “connecting people to Jesus Christ” and the principle of permission giving. Permission giving is defined by the principle that “if someone wants to do something that is in line with our missions statement, we commit to helping them succeed in their endeavor.”
A permission giving church relies on consensus as much as possible and on voting as little as possible. Consensus is defined as: “not necessarily complete agreement, but a prayerful meeting of the minds, a general agreement with the majority opinion.” Consensus is not 51-49, it is not 60-40. It may be represented by 70-30, surely by 80-20, but in any case the core issue is praying to discern God's will for us as we seek to fulfill the mission. Consensus asks everyone to support the decision or to go and pray for guidance if they do not. It leaves room for and respects differences of opinion. Consensus supports the mission while keeping those in prayer who may not agree. We have to trust that God wants us to know his plan and that He will reveal it to us. Our goal would be that through prayer, we move beyond consensus to commitment. That those that disagree be praying for guidance to shed personal feelings for the benefit of the whole and the mission.
The following groups would exist and operate as standing committees or teams in a permission giving structure:
The Dream Team/visioning group [church council]
The Leadership Team
The Staff Parish Relations Committee
The Board of Trustees
The Nominations Committee [spiritual gifts team]
The stewardship team [finance team]
The ministry of the church will be identified and divided into three groups or teams:
Inviting or Welcoming ministries
Forming, nurturing caring or growing ministries
Under these groups, any of the following may develop and act out our mission as they are called to do so.
Inviting or Welcoming ministries
Parking Lot Attendants
Forming, Nurturing or Growing Ministries
Other Small Groups
Sunday School, etc.
Various branches of what we now call missions support groups for those seeking to go into the ministry groups in which people can learn about their spiritual gifts, etc.
How the Above Groups Would Function:
The Dream Team [church council] ~ The dream team would meet monthly to dream about and gather consensus on the ministries of and future ministries of the church. Attendance at the meeting is open to anyone who believes in the mission of the church, whether they are a member or not. The group would be facilitated by a team leader [church council chair] who would be selected annually by the nominating committee and approved at the all church conference. The meetings would begin with a 10-minute teaching session focused on our mission. Then the group would break up into five sections where staff and laity can dream together about ministries that they would like to see in the following areas:
building and grounds
business & administration
After 45 minutes, the large group would reconvene and each group would bring to the front the ministries that they reached consensus on. Each item that the dream team as a whole reaches consensus on will be acted on in an appropriate manner. If it is a simple matter, no more permission is needed than that of the dream team. If a matter involves staff changes, major building issues or is in some manner of a more complicated nature, it will be referred to the leadership team who will work to implement it in conjunction with the SPRC, Trustees and the other ministry groups in the church. All actions of the dream team would be recorded by a secretary and the minutes made available to all members of the church.
The Leadership Team ~ The leadership team would meet weekly to mentor staff and leaders, and to enable, encourage and facilitate the ministry of the church as shaped by the dream team. The leadership team would be made up of:
director of inviting ministries*
director of nurturing ministries*
director of sending ministries*
an at large member of the dream team elected quarterly [could be lay or paid staff, eventually would be paid staff]
Staff-Parish Relations ~ The SPRC would continue to work as it has in the past. It will work with the pastor or business administrator in the hiring, mentoring and firing of staff. They would meet monthly, quarterly or as needed.
The Board of Trustees ~ The Board of Trustees would continue to work much as it has in the past, except they will have a good deal more help. Small issues related to grounds keeping, maintenance etc. would be handled through the dream team and the leadership team's facilities manager. Trustees will meet to set priorities and work on the large ticket items related to buildings and grounds. They could meet monthly, quarterly or as needed.
The Nominations Committee ~ The Nominations Committee will work on the basis of spiritual giftedness to fill the few actual appointed positions in the church. Each appointed leader must be able to attend meetings, be sold out to the mission, and sign a leadership covenant.
The Stewardship Team/Budgeting team [finance committee] ~ The stewardship team would work during the year to help educate the congregation so that they can have opportunities to grow in their commitments of time, talents and treasure. There will be an annual budget, compiled by a budget team that would work with the business administrator. Each ministry group will be asked to submit specific budget requests to help them fulfill the mission. Budget requests will be lined out on a monthly basis so that the cash flow impact to the budget is as regular and predictable as possible. The budget will be approved by the dream team. After approval, ministry areas would be free to spend amounts in their budget during the year for the items in their budget as long as there is enough money in the general fund. If there is not sufficient money in the general fund, then we will pray and dream together about finding the money to fulfill the mission.
What about financial requests that are not in the budget? Extra items, or new items from new ministries may be approved by the dream team. The church or staff will not be responsible for providing volunteers or funds for new ministries. Their responsibility will be to mentor members to hear God's call and to help them succeed in their new ministry. Those with ideas for new ministries should feel the call, find others who share the call, and prayerfully discern how to provide for the needs of their ministry.
What about accountability? The mission will hold us accountable. In a permission giving church, we select leaders who are committed to the mission, and we trust them to act in ways that will connect people to Jesus Christ. Any staff person, even the pastor who is not on board with the mission is expendable. The dream team will find consensus on the vision, the leadership team will help implement the vision, and the staff will mentor the members to carry out the mission.
Monthly financial reports will be available at all dream team meetings or through the church office. Minutes of the dream team and the leadership team will be distributed with the church newsletter.
Other officers required by the book of discipline:
lay member to annual conference
lay leader is the same person as church council chair
finance chair becomes the stewardship chair
Woods Chapel is a Permission Giving Church
Woods Chapel United Methodist Church
In this section . . .
Click here to view/print a 3 page .pdf document with details of Ministry Audit Recommendations.
If I am honest with you about my shortcomings, maybe you will believe me when I tell you about my strengths.
One Pastor's Thoughts . . .