Church Council Meeting
Congregational polity means that the congregation is self-governed, in simple secular terms. In spiritual terms, we say the church is governed by the Holy Spirit, as interpreted by the congregation.
The Congregation meets twice each year; in May there is an Annual Planning Meeting, and in November there is an Annual Budget Meeting. On occasion, the church calls a special meeting to do something particularly important, like call a minister, or something else really expensive.
The Pastor is called to lead worship, preach and teach, provide pastoral care and spiritual leadership. S/he provides administrative leadership and supervises staff in accordance with church bylaws. What the pastor doesn’t do is run the church. The pastor supports the lay leadership but doesn’t make a budget or count the money or write checks or mow the lawn. The Pastor pastors, the members together set priorities for the ministries of the whole church, and provide avenues to help members serve each other, and our community, and the world beyond our doors. It’s all about the mission: To know and share God’s love within us.
A key role in church operations is that of the Office Administrator. This individual reports to the Pastor directly and supports the Pastor by performing administrative duties such as typing, record keeping and bookkeeping. This individual also has a dotted line reporting relationship to the Church Treasurer who provides guidance on financial matters.
At the Annual Leadership Meeting in May, the congregation elects leaders to carry out specific ministries on behalf of the whole congregation. The congregation elects four officers to lead the congregation. Those officers include:
- The Moderator This person leads the Church Council meetings and helps to set priorities each year.
- The Assistant Moderator This person attends all Council meetings and works together with the Moderator on key initiatives. The Assistant Moderator typically steps in to assume the role of Moderator for the following year.
- The Treasurer This person works with the Office Administrator to provide guidance on financial matters, and is responsible for financial reporting to the Council and to the congregation. This individual also prepares the annual budget with input from the standing committees.
- The Clerk This individual keeps records of key events for members such as births, deaths, marriages and changes in membership. The clerk also takes minutes at the Council meetings and maintains the minutes for all committees.
These four officers also comprise the Executive Committee. This committee approves compensation and benefits for all church employees.
Most other tasks are divided between four departments (or standing committees).
- Christian Education (charged with the educational ministries of the congregation, for all ages)
- Christian Ministry (charged with ministries of Membership, Mission, Worship, Fellowship)
- Trustees (charged with care of the buildings, grounds, and property of the church)
- Stewardship (charged with oversight of the fundraising, and promotion of the habit of generosity, the annual stewardship campaign, time & talents)
Each of these four departments or standing committees has six members, elected at the Annual Leadership Meeting of the Congregation. Each department or committee may also appoint sub committees as needed to get their jobs done.
General direction and coordination of these four departments is managed by the Church Council, which is made up of the officers noted above, one representative from each department, plus three at-large members elected at the Annual Leadership Meeting of the Congregation. The Council has eleven members in all.
There are Committees, some established by the By-laws (Memorial, Pastor/Parish Relations, Nominating) and others created and appointed by the Council or by the standing committees as needed (Music, Arts, Echternacht Scholarship Fund.)
This church is also affiliated with the First Congregational United Church of Christ Foundation. The Foundation is a Minnesota non-profit corporation. It is affiliated with the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Brainerd but it is a separate legal entity from the Church. Its purpose is to accept, manage, or use funds or property received from any donor desiring to make a charitable contribution for the advancement of the religious purpose and activity of the local congregation. Its activities are governed by a separate, six person Board.