The local church needs a structure that can effectively organize resources and activities around a core mission and subsequent outcomes. The more simple and scalable the better. Our structure focuses on two areas; ministry structure and circle (organizational) structure.
A “Ministry” is a recurrent act of service with a descriptive name and one or more of the following:
(a) a “Purpose”, which is a capacity, potential, or goal that the Ministry will pursue or express on behalf of the Local Church.
(b) one or more “Domains”, which are things the Ministry may exclusively control and regulate as its property, on behalf of the Local Church.
(c) one or more “Accountabilities”, which are ongoing activities of the Local Church that the Ministry will enact.
Circle (Organizational) Structure
Circle Basics: A “Circle” is a Ministry that may further break itself down by defining its own contained Ministries to achieve its Purpose, control its Domains, and enact its Accountabilities. The Ministries a Circle defines are its “Defined Ministries”.
Circle Deacon: Each Circle has a “Deacon Ministry”. The person filling the Deacon Ministry, while acting in that capacity, is referred to as the Circle’s “Deacon”.
A Deacon’s Parallel Functions: A Circle’s Deacon inherits the Purpose and any Accountabilities on the Circle itself, and controls any Domains defined on the Circle, just as if the Circle were only a Ministry and the Deacon filled that Ministry. However, this only applies to the extent that those Accountabilities and Domains have not been placed upon a Ministry within the Circle, or otherwise delegated.
Defining Priorities & Strategies: A Circle’s Deacon may define relative priorities for the Circle.
In addition, the Deacon may define a more general “Strategy” for the Circle, or multiple Strategies, which are heuristics that guide the Circle’s Ministries in self-identifying priorities on an ongoing basis.
Ministry Assignment: The Deacon of a Circle may assign people to fill Defined Ministries in the Circle, unless that authority has been limited or delegated.
Sub-Circles: A Circle may expand its Defined Ministries into full Circles, via its Governance Process. When it does, the new Circle becomes its “Sub-Circle”, while it becomes the “Super-Circle” of that new Sub-Circle.
Modifying Sub-Circles: A Circle may modify the Purpose, Domain, or Accountabilities on a Sub-Circle.
A Circle may also move its own Defined Ministries or Policies into a Sub-Circle, or move any from within the Sub-Circle into itself.
Any of these modifications may only be done via the Governance Process of the Circle.
Beyond these allowed changes, a Circle may not modify any Defined Ministries or Policies held within a Sub-Circle.
Removing Sub-Circles: Through its Governance Process, a Circle may remove a Sub-Circle. This can be done by removing the Sub-Circle and everything within entirely, or by selectively retaining certain elements of the Sub-Circle within the Circle. A Sub-Circle may also be removed by collapsing it from a Circle back into just a Ministry.
Deacon to Sub-Circle: A Circle’s Deacon may assign someone to fill the Deacon Ministry for each Sub-Circle, using the same rules that apply when the Deacon assigns into any other Defined Ministry of the Circle.
Anchor Circle: Upon adopting these Best Practices, the Ratifiers must establish an initial Circle to express the “Mission” (overall Purpose) of the Local Church. This “Anchor Circle” becomes the broadest Circle in the Local Church, and automatically controls all Domains that the Local Church itself controls.
The Board of the Anchor Circle: In keeping with the obligations of a CRA registered charity the Anchor Circle will form a Board in lieu of a Deacon. The Board will consist of Deacon(s), Elder(s), and Members at Large as defined in our Constitution.
Board Elected Ministries include trustees, a secretary, and a Chairman as defined in our Constitution.
Acting Without a Deacon: All decisions that normally require Deacon authority become valid outputs of the Circle’s Governance Process. Any Ministry within the Circle may thus exercise Deacon authority by proposing a decision as a Governance change for the Circle, using the process and rules in Article III of our Best Practices.
Local Church’s Mission: The Anchor Circle is automatically accountable for discovering and expressing the Mission (overall Purpose) of the Local Church. The Mission of the Local Church describes the essence of their embodiment of Jesus Christ in the world.
The Anchor Circle’s Board inherits this Accountability by default, and may capture and update the Mission to express this Accountability via the Circle’s Governance Process.
Updating the Anchor Circle: The Board of the Anchor Circle has the authority via the Circle’s Governance Process to name the Circle, clarify its Domains, and add or modify its Accountabilities.
Core Ministries of the Anchor Circle: A detailed description of each core Ministry’s purpose, domain(s), and accountabilities can be found in Appendix A of our Best Practices.
Member(s): Membership is a Defined Ministry resourcing and actualizing the Mission of the Local Church.
Elder(s): Eldership is a Defined Ministry protecting and facilitating the Mission of the Local Church while caring for the partners of the Local Church and maintaining scriptural oversight.
Treasurer: A Treasurer is a Defined Ministry administering or managing the financial assets and liabilities of the Local Church.
Vocation(s): A Vocation is a Defined Ministry contracted to an individual whose livelihood is supplemented or supported by the Local Church.
Circle (Organizational) Structure Diagram: