How Divine Redeemer Lutheran Church and School is Governed

You may have noticed that Divine Redeemer does not have a Church Council or numerous boards and committees composed of elected members.  We have only a Board of Directors, which uses ”Policy Based Governance”.  In A Balcony Perspective by Richard Broholm and Douglas Wysockey-Johnson “The board (of directors) is a reflective body by virtue of its structure and distance from the daily action. This gives the board members an overview perspective as compared to staff that can be found in a more active role.” The board having this distance from the daily routines and having that overview or balcony perspective provides a unique place where they can proffer wise council to our staff. 

Some years ago, our church decided to operate with  “Policy Based Governance.”  When the congregation adopted this governance model, all boards and committees were disbanded, in favor of a Board of Directors and an Executive Director (Pastor Schubert.)

A fine balance.

Simply put, Policy Based Governance is much like an “invisible fence” you have for your pet.  Depending on where you bury the wire, your pet can roam the entire property, or just a small section of your yard.  If your pet exceeds the limitations of his area, he becomes aware of it through his collar.  Soon enough, your pet stays in the designated area that you have set for him.

The Board of Directors at Divine Redeemer is a POLICY setting body.  In other words, the Board is not involved in the day-to-day operational decisions and actions.  Rather they set policy and executive limitations.

The daily OPERATIONAL side of our parish is in the hands of the Executive Director (Pastor Flick.)  Of course, he is assisted by a variety of staff members who have oversight over a number of areas (school, communications, music, finances, maintenance, office functions, ministry areas, etc.) but yet are in a “direct reporting capacity” to Pastor Flick.

In Policy Based Governance the Board of Directors does not get involved in “hands on” operational decisions, but rather only “sets the fence,” or the “executive limitations” that the Executive Director cannot exceed.  

With this type of church governance model, operational decisions and the daily running of the parish can be more effective, timely, and efficient.  The Board sets policies.  The rest is left up to the Executive Director and his staff.

The Board of Directors, elected by the Voters Assembly, certainly must carefully monitor the Office of the Executive Director and the established strategic plan and all the Board’s desired outcomes.  But the Board does not specifically dictate exactly how to reach the determined ends and goals.

What does this mean for you as a member?  If you have a question or concern regarding the operations of Divine Redeemer, please speak directly with Pastor Schubert.  If necessary, he will direct you to the appropriate staff member.  

If your question is in regard to defined policies, the Board of Directors (which always speaks in one voice) would be the group to address.  

Our official governance documents are the Constitution, By-Laws, and the Board of Directors’ Policy Manual.  If you would like to have a copy of any of these documents, please contact the church office, Pastor Flick, or find them under links on the Board of Directors Main Page.