Building Effective Boards for Religious Organizations: A Handbook for Trustees, Presidents and Church Leaders
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More About This Title Building Effective Boards for Religious Organizations: A Handbook for Trustees, Presidents and Church Leaders


Through their admirable energy, dedication, and leadership, religious board members sustain our world's most invaluable organizations. This in-depth handbook offers essential insights from respected veterans of religious and nonprofit work on governing an organization with a religious mission. Drawing on years of research, consulting, and hands-on religious nonprofit work, the authors show how board members can clearly define their roles and mission, transform hierarchical structures into models of collaborative leadership, and organize for greater impact.

From congregations and seminaries to soup kitchens, hospital chains, and social service agencies, Building Effective Boards for Religious Organizations examines both the nature and nurture of religious boards. Interfaith in scope and brimming with real-life examples, it skillfully demonstrates how a religious board can escape common problems, and how understanding the full depth of the organization's mission can help it best fulfill its intended purpose.


THOMAS P. HOLLAND, Ph.D., is a professor and director of the Institute for Nonprofit Organizations, University of Georgia School of Social Work. He has done extensive research and consulting on strengthening board effectiveness and is the author of many books, including Improving Board Effectiveness (1997). DAVID C. HESTER, Ph.D., is professor of Christian education at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Along with Dr. Holland, he was the recipient of a Lilly Endowment grant to study and evaluate board development programs at seminaries throughout the United States.




Stewards of Hope: The Work of Trustees (M. Warford).

The Duties and Responsibilities of Boards of Religious Organizations (T. Holland).

The Religious Mission of the Board (W. Sachs).

Practicing Governance in the Light of Faith (D. Hester).


Developing a More Effective Board (T. Holland).

Beyond Hierarchies: Transforming Power and Leadership (T. Savage).

Boundary Spanning: Building Bridges Between an Organization and Its Environment (C. Klein).

The Merger Challenge: Building a Cohesive Culture (D. Nygren, et al.).

The Board's Role in Shaping Strategy (R. Chait).

Providing Meaningful Information for Governance (L. Butler).

Conclusion: Turning Toward the Future.



"This book is truly masterful. It matches our situation so well it is uncanny. The book will act as the sailor's basic navigation tools for nonprofit managers and trustees. It is very learning-community oriented and has high value for everyone." --William Andersen, executive director, The Episcopal Church Foundation

"Should be on the desk in every religious organization. Holland and Hester guide the reader through governance basics, from purpose to planning, with faithful attention to the special role of shared leadership." --Pat Murrell, professor, University of Memphis

"This book is an excellent resource for boards of religious organizations. Each essay contains at least one model on which to reflect or a tool with which to strengthen a board." --Margaret M. Healy, president, Rosemont College

"If you want to improve the governance of religious organizations, read this book. The assembled experts provide a roadmap for how a board can add value to the organization it serves." --Eugene R. Smoley, Jr., senior fellow, The Cheswick Center

"This ought to be required reading for any member of a religious board and those who serve with them." --John M. Mulder, president, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

"A rare opportunity to encounter the experience of the most respected leaders in the governance of theological education. Presidents should not miss it." --Ansley Coe Throckmorton, president, Bangor Theological Seminary