One Board Model


Every church needs a church structure, but too often with time we find our church mission loses focus as the committee and leadership structure seem to become the reason for our being.

Many United Methodist churches are going to a streamlined form of congregational governance which is more effective use of our time and resources today. Annual Conferences everywhere are encouraging this development as they see the advantages of lean, more strategic church leadership.

Our need is to have efficient, accountable church leadership while getting more people involved in mission and ministry instead of committees.


The One Board Model

The 2016 Book of Discipline in paragraph 247.2 allows for a local church to adapt its decision making structure:

“The charge conference, the district superintendent, and the pastor, when a pastor has been appointed (see ¶ 205.4), shall organize and administer the pastoral charge and churches according to the policies and plans herein set forth. When the membership size, program scope, mission resources, or other circumstances so require, the charge conference may, in consultation with and upon the approval of the district superintendent, modify the organizational plans, provided that the provisions of ¶ 243 are observed.”

North Georgia churches are encouraged to develop a church management structure that best serves the mission and ministry of the congregation in accordance with the Book of Discipline and in conversation with the people of the church and your District Superintendent. Many of our churches have been in this process and are seeing the rewards of a streamlined structure. Find some helpful resources below as your church considers this opportunity. For more information guidance, please contact the Center for Congregational Excellence.


Downloadable Resources

The following list was published by the Arkansas Annual Conference and is used with permission.

Simplified, Accountable Leadership Workbook  (New 5.1.18)  
This 30 page workbook will take your team through every step of discussing and creating a new leadership structure in your church.  This 10-step book contains diagrams of administrative structures, a sample agenda, a questions for your board to use for discussion along the journey. This workbook is based primarily upon the work of Kay Kotan (author of the simplified structure book Mission Possible) and also uses information found in Dan Hotchkiss’s excellent Governance and Ministry). 

General Information 
This quick summary guides church leaders as they consider shifting from the standard United Methodist Church’s structure that include an Administrative Board, Council on Ministries, Finance Committee, Board of Trustees, and S/PPRC, to a new “Leadership Council” or “Single Board” alternative structure comprised of anywhere from 9-15 members.  Different roles and guidelines are explained.

Step by Step: Moving Toward Simplified Structure  
A short seven-step list for congregational leaders contemplating changing to simplified, accountable leadership structure. This single-page list is perfect to introduce the topic of transition.

Simplified Structure FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) T
his short list of FAQs answers common questions that United Methodist leaders have about the simplified or “single board” administrative structure.   You may also scroll down to see the list online.

Sample Agenda (annotated) for your Board (Updated 11.16.17)

Create an Leadership Council agenda based on the L3 (Loving, Learning, and Leading) model used throughout the Arkansas Conference. This sample agenda is built primarily upon the work of Kay Kotan (author of the simplified structure book Mission Possible) and also uses information found in Dan Hotchkiss’s excellent Governance and Ministry). The sample agenda also provides a suggested list of items to include in a board’s “Leadership Packet.”

Six Training Videos from Kay Kotan  (Updated 1.31.18) 

Kay Kotan, a layperson and the Director of Congregational Development from the Susquehanna (Pennsylvania) Annual Conference has created an 25 minute overview video and six training videos that you can stream online or download for viewing during meetings.  Before you move toward the model, it is suggested that you forward the overview video to all your current board members.

Staff/Pastor Parish Committee (S/PPRC) Annual Timeline  
This timeline shares expectations for the appointment / assessment cycle and suggested topics of discussion for a full year of monthly Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee meetings. Whether your simplified structure single-board serves as the congregation’s S/PPRC or you decide to keep a separate S/PPRC, your board will need to consider due dates and the workload of the S/PPRC as you design your yearly schedule and content of meetings. 

Video: Kay Kotan Addresses Simplified Structure 
Kay Kotan of the of Susquehanna Annual Conference speaks about the simplified structure.

North Georgia UMCs with One Board or Simplified Structure

Many North Georgia United Methodist Churches have embraced the One Board Model. Find insight from some of those churches below.

BLOG  |  Untangle Your Committees By Rev. Dalton Rushing

GUIDING PRINCIPLES  | Hartwell First UMC One Board 

EMAIL | In the email below Rev. Dave Benson shares about his church's process in moving to a One Board Model

From: Dave Benson
To: Clergy Friend Considering One Board Model

I am guessing by the very fact of you exploring this model that you are familiar with the many advantages of going to this structure.

We have been in the process of preparing to roll this out since our Charge Conference last year, although honestly the majority of the work started this summer.

1. It began with a group of about 10 church leaders attending a Kay Katan workshop at Decatur First, we bought multiple copies of the book Mission Possible and have lent them to a few church members not present at that session to read.

2. Then, at last year's Charge Conference an ad hoc exploratory team was nominated and approved with the commission to bring back to this year's Charge Conference a plan and model. All ad hoc members were given a copy of Mission Possible.

3. As the ad hoc team began meeting, the full team met with Quincy (who had introduced at Peachtree City) and Dalton Rushing (who had introduced at North Decatur and Decatur) to hear their experiences, how they did it, and ask questions. At the request of the team, I also talked with Stephen Usry by phone and took notes on Sugarloaf UMC's experience. Since Steve did not start the model at Sugarloaf it was good to hear how it was for a new pastor coming into to that mode.

4. One of our staff members is the project manager for this process. She presented the plan to the Church Administrative Council for information only. No vote.

5. We also met with all the current leaders and presented the model and answered questions.

7. Two of our team members, one a lawyer, took on the process of developing or adapting all of the documents and policies for Conyers First.

6. We had two Town Hall style meetings, one on a Sunday afternoon and a weeknight where all members will be invited to hear the plan and ask questions.

7. It will be the recommendation to the Charge Conference this year that we adopt the model. However, because it is a Cluster Conference we are not voting on it there.

8. Before the end of the year, we will call a Church Conference (as opposed to Charge Conference) will have a meeting where our DS will preside for the sole purpose of voting on the simplified accountable board model. We do not expect any problems.

9. One of our core principles through this process has been total transparency. We were very intentional of taking our time and erring on the side of over communicating. 

10. From our experience we have discovered no churches in North Georgia are doing the model described in Mission Possible and taught by Kay Kotan in her workshops where all members of the Board do everything. Instead churches have created a hybrid where some are specifically SPRC, some finance, trustees, etc. We intend to do what we are calling the Kay Katan model where everyone does everything.

Finally, Kay is very clear that it is important to be a Simplified ACCOUNTABLE model. It has to be both those things are it will be a disaster. 

Best of luck,


More Resources

  • BOOK  


Mission Possible: A Simple Structure for      Missional Effectiveness By Kay Kotan



  • SAMPLE DOCUMENTS (Douglasville First shared their documents for your use.)
  2. DFUMC Guiding Principles
  3. DFUMC Leadership Board Member Job Description
  4. DFUMC Leadership Board Nomination Process
  5. DFUMC Leadership Board Questionnaire
  6. DFUMC Transition Provisions