Stahlke, Governance Matters


Les Stahlke with Jennifer Loughlin, Governance Matters: Balancing Client and Staff Fulfillment in Faith-based Not-for-Profit Organizations., 2003.

Companion volume: Stahlke, Church Governance Matters 

Referenced in: Policy Governance Models for Church Leadership Summary

This is similar to the Policy Governance Model as originated by John and Miriam Carver and applied to churches by Dan Hotchkiss in Governance and Ministry and Aubrey Malphurs in Leading Leaders. The essential difference is that in the Carver Model, the governing board makes policy decisions somewhat unilaterally and then works toward compliance. Stahlke proposes a Relationship Model that places greater emphasis on affirmation of persons all levels of the congregation, shared decision-making, and mutual accountability. Stahlke’s website lays out the “Ten Principles of Governance, Leadership and Management in the Relationship Model” which reveal a few differences with the Carver Model. For example:

  • Principle #3: Decision-making proceeds from shared values, vision and mission, not unilaterally from the Board or the Senior Pastor. Decisions are made as close as possible to where they are implemented.
  • Principle #4: Circles of authority and responsibility are defined clearly and are maintained equal in size by placing limits on authority or by negotiating expectations of responsibility.

These features are not inherently negated in Carver’s formal expressions, but may often play out practically in a way that unintentionally minimizes shared decision-making, distributed authority, and mutual accountability. To the extent this is true, the material by Stahlke may be a helpful corrective. According to his website, Stahlke specializes in guarding against the “Seven Deadly Sins” of organizations: sloppy leadership and management, abusive leadership and management, vague strategic direction, unclear roles and responsibilities, unclear expectations, square pages in round holes, and forgiveness confused with accountability.

Many faith-based non-profits and churches have adopted this model. It is recommended by the National Association of Church Business Administration. Stalkhe has also written a church-based version, Church Governance Matters. 

From the Publisher

Finally! One model for governance, leadership and management built on a foundation of biblical values and common sense. This book puts the pieces together with clarity and conviction.

Governance Matters is an extensive 368 pages of practical application built on a solid conceptual framework. It covers everything you need to know to build a solid governing board. The book even includes a complete governance manual and a model strategic plan.

About the Author

Les Stahlke is President/CEO of Inc.

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***For additional information on this resource, including reviews, click the bookstore links. Check the reference at page top or the links below for resource guides on related topics.***


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