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Structuring the Healthy Congregation

Seminar and Consultation

At a Glance

The objective of this interactive seminar and consultation is that you and other church leaders will be equipped and guided to modify your current church structure to enhance and support your congregation’s spiritual health.


This seminar not only reviews concepts for a new structure, but it includes sample motions for change, constitution and bylaws and policy manuals to implement change.

"Our Pastors, school principal and all the leaders in our church, and their families (who we very often overlook) need our ongoing support in so many ways. I personally will continually look for ways to care for these people."

Elder at recent Spiritual Lay Leadership Training event

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

Who Should Attend?

A change in structure affects everyone in the congregation. Professional church workers and lay leaders will benefit directly by learning how to structure the healthy congregation. But every active adult member should attend in order to understand what is being considered by the leadership. Broad support provides opportunity for change. Lack of understanding and fears of the unknown will hamper efforts to modify your structure.


The experienced reconciliation consultants from Ambassadors of Reconciliation will answer your questions, give examples, and provide encouragement and consultation for the congregation while it drafts its new governing documents.


Consultation for 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 provide the experience and guidance you need to adapt the sample documents for your specific situation.

"Since sponsoring the Lay Leader Training, I feel more cared for than any other time in my 20 year ministry. My lay leaders now regularly seek me out and pray for my family and I. It has made a huge difference for my wife and me."

A Pastor Whose Church Sponsored Spiritual Lay Leadership Training

Seminar Outline

Each seminar is presented by a Christian Reconciler™ who is experienced in assisting people in their conflicts through coaching, mediation, and arbitration. Our instructors’ stories of real people inspire and demonstrate how the principles presented are not theoretical but realistic and practical. The Lay Leadership Training seminar covers the following topics:

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?


Each person attending the seminar receives a study guide for note taking during the seminar and personal review, and everyone receives an easy-to-use handout on “Proclaiming God's Forgiveness.” A small group Bible study version is available for purchase at the seminar for follow-up and sharing with others. We offer a selection of resources at our seminar book table for Bible studies and other teaching materials, personal coaching, and further study.

Seminar Outline

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?


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.

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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)

What is included with the consultation?


The consultant from Ambassadors of Reconciliation will provide several hours of consultation after the seminar to guide your leaders in making the desired changes.


Our consultation services also include the Built on the Rock: The Healthy Congregation Leader’s Pack. In addition to the teaching content, you will receive sample documents you need for implementing the changes discussed, including:


  • Motions for approving the concept and amending the constitution and bylaws.

  • Constitution and Bylaws (for a two-board and a three-board model).

  • Policy manuals for Board of Elders, Church Council, and School Board.


Learn more about this comprehensive resource here.

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"The congregational leaders at our church have transformed the way they conduct business. Every board has adopted the practice of beginning with Bible study and ending with meaningful prayer. The overall environment of the congregation has improved!

A Pastor Whose Church Sponsored Spiritual Lay Leadership Training

Sponsor This Event & Engage Your Consultant

The cost to sponsor this event if $2,950 teaching fee, plus $5.95/person materials fee, plus travel expenses for an instructor. Instructor travel time charged at half of AoR's hourly rate. Add the Leader’s Pack and 4 hours of consultation services for an additional $550.*  Contact Us today to schedule your seminar and begin your journey for Structuring the Healthy Congregation.


SPECIAL:  To maximize the benefits of implementing the healthy changes prescribed by Built on the Rock: The Healthy Congregation, combine this with Spiritual Leadership Training


The two seminars can be presented during the same weekend, or you can schedule two separate events with study time between each one. Contact Us today to schedule your event.

* When you add the Built on the Rock: The Healthy Congregation Leader’s Pack, the congregation saves the $5.95/person materials fee by printing copies of the manual for its participants.

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Visit our Training Calendar to find this event near you.

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