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Built On The Rock Leader’s Pack

What makes a church healthy?

How can our lay leaders be equipped as spiritual lay leaders?

How can we re-structure our church to be a healthy congregation?

Where can we get sample:

  • Constitution & Bylaws?

  • Policy Manuals for Elders?

  • Policy Manuals for Church Council?

  • Policy Manuals for School Board?


25 years in the making, this new Church Leader resource includes all of the above and more! Nearly 400 pages of study material and sample documents.


Learn more about the different components. Click on each one for more detail.

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The entire contents of the Leader’s Pack binder are provided on a flash drive for you to print as many copies as you need for your congregation.


This includes all the sample documents for a three-board and a two-board model. This facilitates adapting the sample constitution and bylaws and policy manuals to your church.

Built on the Rock: The Healthy Congregation

 by Ted Kober

What makes a church healthy?

  • Family Systems Theory? 

  • What successful businesses use? 

  • Characteristics of healthy organizations?


Based on the Scriptures, two research projects, and 25 years experience working with conflicted churches, Kober posits what makes a church healthy is how well its people, especially her leaders, are grounded in God’s Word.


Jesus compared two men who built houses: one on the rock, the other on sand. When the storms came, only one house remained (Matthew 7:24-27).


Learn how you can strengthen the spiritual health of

your church. Build it on Christ, the Rock, the Living Word.

See what one church says about the Built on the Rock Leader's Pack

Pre-Course Study

Built on the Rock Leader’s Pack utilizes questions from the book for pre-course study to prepare your leaders for learning more.

Precourse Study

Spiritual Leadership


Healthy churches depend on a spiritually healthy leadership.

The “Spiritual Leadership” section equips lay leaders in five areas:

1. Congregational Leadership from a Spiritual Perspective

  • Answers questions such as:

    • What do the Scriptures teach?

    • How would this apply in our Board’s Work?

2. Meaningful and Effective Board Meetings

  • How can we prepare for meaningful and effective board meetings?

  • What should board member reports include and not include?

  • How should confidential information be handled in our reports?


3. Caring for Our Pastors, Other Church Workers, and Their Families

  • What do the Scriptures teach?

  • How can lay leaders serve their called leaders and their families?

  • Who provides pastoral care for our pastors and their families?

  • How can I make a “pastoral call” on my pastor or principal and their families?

  • How can we provide accountability for our called workers?


4. Caring for Congregational Members

  • How can I make a call on any member?

  • What outline would I use for a 20-minute visit to a member?

  • How should our board members pray for people in our congregation or school?


5. Leading a Devotion

  • What should I include in a brief devotion during a member visit?

  • What resources are available to help me prepare?

Lay Leadership Retreat


While the Leader’s Pack includes the basic information, Ambassadors of Reconciliation can lead a lay leader’s retreat for all your lay leaders, engaging them in an interactive workshop.


All of the above material is covered. Interactive learning convinces lay leaders of the need to be in Bible study, equips leaders to care for called workers and make calls on members, and gives them practice in preparing and leading a devotion for a visit.


Learn more about Lay Leadership Training! 

Diverse group of men in a small group.
Spiritual Leadership

Structuring the Healthy Congregation


This section of the Leader’s Pack provides ideas for structuring the healthy church.

It begins by looking to Scripture for general guidance, then continues by reviewing two forms of governance used among Lutheran churches.


After considering the pros and cons of both structures, a new hybrid model is described.

1. Scriptural Guidance

  • What does the Bible teach about governance among God’s people?

  • What guidance can be learned from the Old Testament?

  • What does the New Testament offer regarding leadership and roles in the church?

  • What were underlying causes of conflict among God’s people throughout the Bible, and how do those apply today?


2. Congregational Governing Documents

  • What documents govern what we do in the church?

  • How does the pastor’s call document define responsibilities for the pastor as well as for the congregation?


3. Incorporation and Board Types

  • Why incorporate?

  • What are different board types?


4. Principles of Policy Governance – Corporate Model

  • How does one distinguish governance from management?

  • When is policy governance a great fit, and when is it not a great fit?

  • What are a governing board’s job description and major roles?

  • What are four main policy areas of a governing board?

5. Administrative Board Model for Congregation-Governed Churches

  • What is the history for this model, so often used in LCMS churches?

  • What are emerging challenges for the Administrative Board Model?


6. Policy Governance in Lutheran Congregations: Pros and Cons

  • What are the benefits?

  • What are the weaknesses?

  • What are unique difficulties for this model in Lutheran congregations?

7. A Hybrid: Three-Board Model

  • How can we maximize benefits and overcome weaknesses of other models?

  • What does a hybrid model look like?

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the boards and key staff in the hybrid model?

  • What are the pros and cons of this model?


8. Equipping the Saints for Lifestyles of Reconciliation

  • Why establish a reconciliation ministry in our church or school?

  • What is a reconciler, and what are his/her roles?

  • How can our reconcilers be trained and resourced?


Leader's Pack included for FREE with Structuring the Healthy Congregation


What does the Hybrid Model look like?

The Congregation serves as the overriding governing authority, subject to Jesus Christ, the Church’s head (e.g., Colossians 1:18). All actively worshipping confirmed members (of legal age) are authorized to vote in congregational meetings. The Congregation calls the Senior Pastor to serve as its spiritual leader. However, the Board of Elders supervises the Senior Pastor on behalf of the congregation and delegates administrative functions of spiritual functions to him.

Board of Elders serves as the lay spiritual leadership of the congregation:

  • Elected by the congregation for specific term; may serve unlimited number of terms.

  • Supervises on behalf of the congregation and delegates to key staff person (called): Senior Pastor.

  • Authorized to assist the pastor(s) in the oversight of the doctrine, life, and spiritual well- being of the congregation and school.

  • Authorized to assist the pastor(s) in reviewing the spiritual work of the congregation and school, testing against the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.

  • Authorized to assist the pastor(s) in responsibilities of worship and providing pastoral care.

  • Responsible for providing spiritual care of the pastor(s) and his (their) family(ies).

  • Responsible for evaluating and monitoring the performance of the Senior Pastor.

  • May serve as the call committee (at least partially) for filling pastoral vacancies and all commission ministers serving on the church staff.

  • Does not use a corporate model of policy governance, but adopts policies together with the Senior Pastor.

Click In Each Box To Learn More

Church Council (may also be called Board of Trustees) serves as the governing board for social ministries and management of operations including fiscal, property, and legal areas:

  • Elected by the congregation for specific term; serve limited number of consecutive terms.

  • Supervises and delegates to key staff person (non-called; employed or volunteer): Church

    Administrator (may also be called Executive Director, Business Manager, etc.).

    • In smaller churches, this may be a part-time position, either paid or volunteer, or the responsibilities may be divided up and served by members of the Church Council or other designated persons or committees.

  • The board is authorized to employ or terminate Church Administrator.

  • Church Administrator is only hired with the approval of the Senior Pastor.

  • Senior Pastor serves as a non-voting member.

  • Chairpersons of Board of Elders and School Board serve as voting members.

  • Uses policy governance to govern its specific assigned areas.

School Board (if the church operates a day care ministry, pre-school, Christian primary or secondary school) serves as the governing board for all school ministries:

  • Elected by the congregation for specific term; serve limited number of consecutive terms.

  • Supervises and delegates to key staff person (usually called; some contracted): Principal

    (or Director, Administrator, or Headmaster).

  • Uses policy governance to govern its specific assigned areas.

  • May serve as the call committee (at least partially) for filling vacancies in the office of principal or teachers.

  • Assist the Principal in preparing lists of candidates for calling or contracting teachers.

School Board delegates to the Principal the management of all areas under school administrative leadership, including supervising staff, planning the budget, and directing the school ministries. Examples of areas under the Principal’s direction:

  • Supervise school faculty and staff, including annual performance evaluations.

  • Hire (and terminate) all contracted staff.

  • Plan and manage a balanced budget.

  • Select curricula for the school (the board sets policies, but the Principal selects).

  • Develop and implement a school policy manual (school handbook).

  • Determine the school calendar and events.

Church Council delegates to the Church Administrator the management of operations for all areas under administrative leadership, including supervising staff, planning the budget, and directing the social ministry and mission-supporting functions of the congregation. Examples of areas under the Church Administrator’s direction:

  • Fiscal management including accounting, overall budgeting, and management of financial assets including memorial gifts, endowments, and foundations.

  • Property management including maintenance, building programs, income property management, etc.

  • Risk management including all insurance contracts for the church and school.

  • Human resource management including establishing employee policies and compensation policies (does not include setting salaries or making hiring decisions that are delegated to others), employment procedures, performance evaluation policies, and procedures, etc.

  • Legal management including contracts, liability concerns, proactive planning, etc.

  • Social ministries such as food and clothes pantries, assistance for the poor, other human care needs, etc.

  • Managing church cemeteries.

Board of Elders delegates to the Senior Pastor the administration of all areas under spiritual leadership, including supervising staff, planning the budget, and directing the ministry functions to fulfill the spiritual mission of the congregation. Examples of areas under the Senior Pastor’s direction:

  • Preaching.

  • Teaching of Bible class, Sunday School, confirmation, and VBS.

  • Worship (including implementing policies for weddings and funerals).

  • Spiritual teaching and worship in the school ministries.

  • Evangelism, local missions, and global missions.

  • Spiritual teaching and monitoring of spiritual health including worship attendance, communion attendance, Bible study attendance, Baptisms, stewardship (giving of time, talents, and treasures), and membership.

  • Biblical conflict reconciliation.

  • Pastoral counseling.

  • Pastoral visits.

  • Spiritual issues that arise in administrative functions (e.g., how social ministries interact with evangelism, how contracts should include Christian conciliation clauses, etc.).

Senior Pastor is called to serve under the congregation to provide spiritual leadership in all areas. However, the Board of Elders supervises the Senior Pastor on behalf of the congregation and delegates administrative functions of spiritual functions to him.

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The Congregation further limits its own actions and delegates all other governance and management functions to its main governing boards:


  • Board of Elders

  • Church Council

  • School Board


Boards govern primarily through policy and monitoring of key staff, delegating most management functions to staff:


  • Board of Elders to the Senior Pastor (called by congregation)

  • Council to the Church Administrator (appointed/contracted; may be volunteer or paid)

  • School Board to the Principal or School Administrator or Director (may be called or contracted)


Structuring the Healthy Congregation Seminar and Consultation Services

Sound like a lot to digest?


Invite one of the reconciler consultants from Ambassadors of Reconciliation to present this section live as a seminar. The presentation includes the next section, “Preparing for Change in Structure.” Our consultant can answer your questions, give examples, and provide consultation for the congregation while it drafts its new governing documents.


Consultation in adapting new structure is critical… Many of the components of the hybrid model are flexible and can be modified to fit different needs. Our consultants can provide the experience and guidance you need to adapt the sample documents for your specific situation.


Learn more about AoR’s presentation and consulting on structure:

Preparing for Change in Structure

Changing structure requires planning. Adopting a new governance model requires changes to a congregation’s constitution and bylaws and development of new policy manuals. Prior to actually writing new documents, prepare your congregation through teaching and approval of the concepts.


This section includes:

business, people, teamwork and planning

1. Preparing for Change

  • How can we anticipate challenges and conflict?

  • How can our leaders prepare the church for significant change in structure?

  • How can we adopt a plan for change?


2. Drafting the Constitution and Bylaws

  • What process can we use to begin drafting new governing documents?

  • With whom should we meet as we prepare these documents?

  • How can we provide opportunities for feedback throughout the drafting process?


3. Implementing the Change

  • How can we develop a transition plan?

  • How can we plan for orientating people to the new structure?


4. Sample Forms

  • Motion for Process on Revising Structure

  • Proposed Organizational Structure Concept

  • Motion for Approval of Concept

  • Motion for Amending Constitution

  • Motion for Amending Bylaws

  • Motion for Transition to New Constitution and Bylaws

Leader's Pack included for FREE with Structuring the Healthy Congregation

Preparing for Change

Sample Constitution and Bylaws

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Leader's Pack included for FREE with Structuring the Healthy Congregation

View Sample Documents for Two Board Model
View Sample Documents for Three Board Model
Sample Constitution

The Leader's Pack binder includes a printed copy of the sample constitution and bylaws for the three-board model (for a church with a

school, pre-school, or daycare ministry).

The flash drive includes samples for both a three-board model and a two-board model.


The Sample Constitution and Bylaws have been reviewed by an attorney and an LCMS District President. However, each church should seek input from a local attorney and district leaders when adapting these sample documents.

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Sample Policy Manuals

The Leader’s Pack includes printed copies of policy manuals for the Board of Elders, the Church Council, and the School Board (40 to 50 pages each).


The flash drive includes all three policy manuals as well as adapted manuals for the two-board model.


Special sections in the Board of Elders Policy Manuals feature policies for making elder calls, processes for church discipline, and other spiritual leadership issues.


Each of the policy manuals specify spiritual qualifications (as given in Scripture) for anyone serving as an elected lay leader. They also include a detailed conflict of interest policy.

Hand arranging wood block concept of Pol
Sample Policy

Custom Flash Drive

Leader's Pack includes a custom flash drive containing ALL of the documents printed in the manual. License is granted to the purchaser to make as many copies of these documents, or customize the documents as needed!

Flash Drive
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