FAITH UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

updated on 09/19/17

VISION FOR FAITH UCC

A church that loves like Jesus loved. Churches are often divided across lines of conservative vs. liberal, gay vs. straight, young vs. old and church vs. unchurched. Our vision is to unite generations of people under the single purpose of loving like Jesus loved.

MISSION PRINCIPLES

(Defining what difference this church will make for whom and to what extent)

MP1.0 Comprehensive Mission Statement

Faith United Church of Christ exists so that the unchurched and dechurched people of our community (a 5 mile radius from the location of the church) on the Southside of Indianapolis will grow in maturity as disciples of Jesus Christ.

MP1.1 Component: Membership

The highest priority of members at Faith United Church of Christ shall be to lead people to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and welcome them into the Body of Christ whether they be unchurched or dechurched in background.

MP1.2 Component: Maturity

A significant and supporting priority of members at Faith United Church of Christ shall be helping people to become mature in the Christian faith by actively engaging in the Intentional Relationships - Growing Faithfulness - Servant Leadership discipleship process so that they are transformed and mobilized.

MP1.2.1 Detail: Definition of Disciple

A maturing disciple at Faith United Church of Christ increase in these areas:

 

  • Intentional Relationships: deliberate and consistent action will be taken to nurture relationships with God, insiders and outsiders.

 

  • Growing Faithfulness: spiritual growth will be pursued through active participation in prayer, study, ministry and fellowship.
  • Servant Leadership: prioritizing time and resources for the purpose of achieving Christ’s mission through the ministry of the local church.

 

DEFINITION OF TERMS

“Unchurched” - never been in church or have not been since childhood

“Dechurched” - no regular engagement for six months or no spiritual growth for 12 months

“Member” - committed to our mission, priority has moved from being served to serving.

“Maturity” - connects small things to big picture, proactive, trusting, repents & forgives.

 

BOUNDARY PRINCIPLES

(Defining the limits of acceptable means that the senior pastor is hereby authorized to use in achieving the Mission Principles)

 

BP1.0 Comprehensive Boundary Statement

The senior pastor shall not cause or allow any practice, activity, decision, or organizational circumstance that is unlawful, imprudent, unethical, or unbiblical.

BP1.1 Component: Biblical, Theological and Moral Integrity

With regard to the teaching, leadership, and membership of the church, the senior pastor shall not fail to uphold high standards of biblical teaching and morality as guided by the UCC Statement of Faith and will ensure that the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of Christ are upheld.

BP1.2 Component: Financial Planning and Budgeting

Financial planning for any calendar year or the remaining part of any fiscal year shall not deviate materially from the Board’s Mission Principles nor risk financial jeopardy. The senior pastor shall not fail to create an annual budget for the church and shall not fail to maintain a 2-year financial plan for the church.

BP1.3 Component: Financial Condition and Activities

With respect to the actual, ongoing financial conditions and activities, the senior pastor shall not allow the development of fiscal jeopardy or a material deviation of actual expenditures from board priorities established in the Mission Principles.

BP1.3.1 Subcomponent: Financial Reporting

The senior pastor shall not fail to inform the board of significant financial developments in the church.

BP1.3.2 Subcomponent: Major Financial Events

The pastor shall not fail to inform and receive consent from the board when approving irregular expenditures that exceed $2,000 or that otherwise may bring the church into fiscal jeopardy. Any expenditure over $2,000.00 shall not occur without acquiring multiple competitive bids.

BP1.4 Component: Asset Protection

The senior pastor shall not allow the assets of the church to be unprotected, inadequately maintained, or unnecessarily risked. The senior pastor shall not fail to inform the board of significant issues regarding the maintenance and protection of the assets of the church.

BP1.4.1 Subcomponent: Contractual Obligations or Liabilities

In order to provide the necessary specialized expertise in these matters, the senior pastor shall not fail to consult appropriate resources outside of the church staff for review, suggestions, and negotiation for any contractual obligations, loans or mortgages that would exceed a 1 year term, or a total lifecycle cost of $10,000.

BP1.5 Component: Treatment of Constituents, Staff and Minors

With respect to interactions with constituents or potential constituents, the senior pastor shall not cause or allow conditions, procedures, or decisions that are unsafe, undignified, lack integrity, are immoral, unnecessarily intrusive, or that fail to provide confidentiality or privacy. Constituents include all persons, staff, and minors that may come into contact with the church.

BP1.6 Component: Compensation and Benefits

With respect to employment, compensation, and benefits to employees, consultants, contract workers, and volunteers, the senior pastor shall not cause or allow jeopardy to the fiscal integrity or public image of the church.

BP1.6.1 Subcomponent: Pay Rate Increases

The senior pastor shall not fail to include, and identify as such, increases to salary/pay or benefits in the annual budget (see BP1.2).  

The pastor shall not grant more than a 5% pay rate increase to any compensated employee without the prior approval of the board.

Outside of the annual budget approval (see BP1.2), increases to employee-related expenses of more than $10,000 shall not occur without the prior approval of the board.

BP1.6.2 Subcomponent: Fair Market Value

The senior pastor shall not grossly exceed the fair market value for compensation of any staff position.

BP1.6.3 Subcomponent: Approval of Pastor Salary

The compensation (salary and benefits) of the senior pastor and any appointed pastors shall not be adjusted without approval of the board.

BP1.7 Component: Communication and Support to the Board

The senior pastor shall not permit the board to be uninformed or unsupported in its work.

BP1.8 Component: Interim Support in Event of a Pastoral Change

In order to provide for continued leadership and a smooth transition in the event of a pastoral change, the senior pastor shall not fail to familiarize the following personnel with issues facing and processes involving the board and senior pastor: any Associate Pastors, Director of Music, Administrative Assistant. The senior pastor shall not fail to provide sufficient time for these activities prior to the change.

ACCOUNTABILITY PRINCIPLES

(Defining for the chairperson the standards to uphold for enforcing the integrity and fulfillment of the board’s process.)

 

AP1.0 Comprehensive Accountability Statement

The responsibility of the board is to act on Christ’s behalf with integrity to see that Faith United Church of Christ, through the leadership of its senior pastor, (1) fulfills its Mission Principles, and (2) respects its Boundary Principles.

AP1.1 Component: The Board’s Accountability to Christ

The board shall maintain an active connection with the Lord Jesus Christ as the “moral ownership” of the church.

AP1.1.1 Detail: Devotion to Prayer and the Word of God

Under the teaching and guidance of the senior pastor, the board will continually seek the wisdom and leading of Christ as the Lord of the Church. To this end, significant attention will be given to prayer and study of Scripture as a group, especially regarding issues for consideration by the board.

AP1.1.2 Detail: Responsiveness to God’s Church

The board will respect and respond to the appointed senior pastor as the proper authority vested in the local congregation and the broader church movement of which it is a part.

AP1.1.3 Detail: Awareness of God’s Mission Field

The board will collect input and feedback to better understand the needs of people in the community both inside and outside the congregation. Every few years the board will arrange a full assessment of the church’s ministries.

AP1.2 Component: Disciplining the Process of the Board

The board shall conduct itself with discipline and integrity with regard to its own process of governance.

AP1.2.1 Detail: Board Style

The board will govern with an emphasis on (1) outward vision rather than internal preoccupation, (2) encouragement of diversity of viewpoints, (3) strategic leadership rather than administrative detail, (4) clear distinction of board and staff roles, (5) collective rather than individual decisions, (6) future rather than past or present, and (7) proactivity rather than reactivity.

AP1.2.2 Detail: Board Job Description

The job of the board consists of (1) connecting with Christ in order to govern on his behalf, (2) defining the Guiding Principles in order to establish the mission and boundaries for the senior pastor, and (3) monitoring the senior pastor’s performance in order to ensure the mission is being fulfilled and the boundaries are being respected.

AP1.2.3 Detail: Board Member Code of Conduct

  1. Members of the board must exhibit loyalty to Christ and the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) and agree to serve the outsider first and those on the inside second. This loyalty supersedes any personal or group interest in which a board member may be involved. A member must disclose any conflict of interest regarding any issue before the board and withdraw from any decision-making affected by it.
  2. Members of the board must honor the principles and decisions of the board acting as a whole. They may not foster dissent in the congregation or attempt to exercise individual authority over the staff or the organization except as explicitly stated in the guiding principles.
  3. Members of the board must respect the confidentiality of sensitive board issues and must avoid facilitating gossip or other “triangulation” against the practice of direct, biblical resolution.

AP1.2.4 Detail Responsibility of the Chairperson for Integrity of Process

The chairperson enforces the integrity and fulfillment of the board’s process including the monitoring of the senior pastor’s performance. The chairperson is authorized to use any reasonable interpretation of the Accountability Principles as he or she acts to ensure the integrity of the board’s process.

AP1.2.5 Detail: Responsibility of the Senior Pastor for Visionary Leadership

The senior pastor has the responsibility, authority, and accountability to serve as the primary leader of the church at every level: congregation, board, and staff. With respect to the board, the senior pastor will envision the board on all actions except for monitoring of the senior pastor’s performance. If a question of process arises with regard to any of these documents:

  • Faith UCC Constitution
  • Faith UCC Bylaws
  • Faith UCC Guiding Principles

...the senior pastor will defer to the judgment of the board.

AP1.2.6 Detail: Use of Board Committees

Temporary board committees, if used, will be assigned so as to reinforce the wholeness of the board’s job and never to interfere with the delegation from the board to the senior pastor or with the work of the staff.

AP1.2.7 Detail: Cost of Governance

The board will invest as needed and is prudent in its own governance capacity through training, outside expertise, research mechanisms, and meeting costs.

AP1.3 Component: Monitoring the Performance of the Senior Pastor

The Board’s sole official connection to the operating organization of the church, its achievement, and conduct shall be through the Senior Pastor.

AP1.3.1 Detail: Unity of Control

Only decisions of the board as a whole are binding on the senior pastor.

AP1.3.2 Detail: Accountability of the Senior Pastor

The senior pastor is the board’s only link to operational achievement and conduct, so that all authority and accountability of the staff, as far as the board is concerned, is considered the authority and accountability of the senior pastor.

AP1.3.3 Detail: Instruction to the Senior Pastor

The board will instruct the senior pastor through written principles that prescribe the mission to be achieved and establish the boundaries to be avoided, allowing the senior pastor to use any reasonable interpretation of these principles, without knowingly violating the intent of the principles.

AP1.3.4 Detail Principle: Performance of the Senior Pastor

The board will conduct systematic and objective monitoring of the senior pastor’s performance solely against accomplishment of the Mission Principles and compliance with the Boundary Principles.

  1. The senior pastor will be required to write measurable goals that correspond to each of the board’s Mission Principles on an annual basis. At least one of these goals for each Mission Principle must project growth in the number of people who benefit or participate.
  2. Each year the board shall review the results achieved by the senior pastor on each of the Mission Principles as the basis of reward for positive results or corrective action for unacceptable results. These results include both those achieved with reference to annual goals and those achieved in addition to annual goals.
  3. The senior pastor will be required to report to the board on compliance with the Boundary Principles at each annual performance review and to affirm or give evidence of compliance upon request by the board at any time.