Mentor United Methodist Church

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Simplified Accountability Structure


Our church, Mentor UMC, is currently in the process of investigating and considering a change in the structure of our administrative committees.

Specifically, we are researching if a change from a four committee structure (an average of 6-12 people on each committee) of Finance, Trustees, Staff-Parish Relations, and Administrative Council to a nine-member Simplified Accountable Structure (SAS), is right for our church.

Two main teams have been formed around this consideration: a Prayer Team and a Discernment Team.

What is SAS?

Simplified Accountability Structure is a nine-member Leadership Board that combines the Finance Committee, Trustees, Staff-Parish Committee, and Administrative Council into one leadership group.

According to the authors of Mission Possible: A Simple Structure for Missional Effectiveness, Expanded Third Edition by Kay Kotan & Blake Bradford, the primary purposes and benefits of simplified, accountable leadership are:

  • Removes bottlenecks in the decision-making process (i.e. time, energy, resources, multiple committees/layers, silos, disjointed focus and priorities, etc.)
  • Systems, procedures, and policies in place that are flexible and adaptable
  • More people released and available for ministry
  • Leadership Board responsible for church’s faithfulness to The Great Commission (making disciples)
  • Leadership Board aligns church resources to the mission and vision
  • Guiding Principles in place for efficiency and permission-giving within healthy boundaries
  • Leaders are held accountable at all levels
  • Leadership Board is responsible for focusing on the areas of stewardship, strategic alignment, generative future-focus, and accountable leadership
  • Missional focus, priority, and alignment are non-negotiables.

  • Why a Discernment Team?

    The purpose of the Discernment Team is “to explore the information and communication with the local congregation regarding the [SAS] model, and ultimately the discernment of the congregation and its leaders if this is the right model in the right season for the church.” (Mission Possible: A Simple Structure for Missional Effectiveness, Expanded Third Edition by Kay Kotan & Blake Bradford, 2021)

    The MUMC Discernment Team started meeting at the end of June 2022 to explore and discuss if moving to a SAS model is right for MUMC.

    Members of the Discernment Team include:

    Richard Elwell

    Michael Fournier

    Jill Kilpeck

    Beverly Lee

    Lara Proegler

    Pastor Sondra Snode

    What is the Discernment Team for?

    This team is meant to explore the possibility of moving to a SAS model. They will decide if this new system is appropriate, efficient, and beneficial to the church..

    Team Goals

    To evaluate the option of changing the administrative structure of MUMC to a nine-member Simplified Accountability Structure, and make a recommendation based on that evaluation process.

    As a team, we also want to have this process be as transparent as possible to the entire church body, which is why we are adding this page to our church website and why we will be updating and adding questions and answers to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section below as they come in to us.


    Q: Why are we considering this restructuring? What is wrong with how the administration is currently set up?

    A: SAS is simply a new way of focusing the church on our mission. By consolidating administrative committees into a single governing team, disciples can focus on using their spiritual gifts and passions for ministry to contribute to the vitality of the congregation. One group oversees goal-setting, providing resources, and holding ministries accountable. All other groups (Ministry Teams) are empowered and equipped to focus on fruitful and effective ministries. SAS makes it possible for a church to better focus on leadership equipping, missional alignment, and goals that will strengthen its witness for Christ.

    Q: If the SAS Board is responsible for all the administrative duties of the church, how are they held accountable?

    A: Per our United Methodist Discipline, currently we are accountable to the church’s Annual Charge Conference. All members of SAS are elected by the church’s Annual Charge Conference, and held accountable by the goal setting, budget, and vision adopted. The yearly reporting structure provides accountability to the congregation.

    Q: Is SAS in line with the Book of Discipline?

    A: Yes, it is found in Paragraph 247.2. “The church, with approval of the district superintendent, is provided the opportunity to restructure in order to be more missionally focused.” Many UM Churches have adopted SAS, and are working within the model.

    Q: Will there be any committees with an SAS?

    A: Committees become teams that work together for the mission. The SAS Leadership Board provides the administrative oversight and organization to the church. Ministry Teams empower and equip people, and manage events and ministry opportunities.
    Q: How would committees form and move forward with their mission of interest?

    A: A structure will be created to provide guidance. The process will include: creating and developing a plan for the ministry; speaking with a pastor or Leadership Board member to share how the ministry aligns with the church’s mission and what resources are needed. If the interest area is affirmed, then it can proceed. These interests could include short-term projects or events or be more long-term, on-going ministries.

    Q: How many members are on the SAS Board?

    A: Nine.

    Q: How are the members of the SAS Board selected?

    A: They are nominated by the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development, then elected at the church’s Annual Charge Conference. Ministry Teams are created by inviting people to serve in an area of need, interest; to serve as part of a short-term event or an on-going ministry.

    Q: How long to SAS Board members serve?

    A: Members serve three-year terms. (The initial Board will be created with an alternating term-limit schedule so as to help with transition.)

    Q: How will the all-new SAS Board be trained in all the areas they need to be familiar with?

    A: The East Ohio Conference will provide training to the newly formed board. This includes a Retreat, as well as on-going coaching. There are also numerous churches and pastors who are familiar with SAS who can serve as resources.

    Q: How will new board members be trained when they start a new term (after the board has been established and roles need to be filled again)?

    A: An on-boarding process will be established.

    Your comments and questions are welcome!

    The Discernment Team welcomes and invites all comments and questions related to this decision, from all members of our congregation. The team is working hard to make sure whatever decision is made is right for our church.

    YOUR voice is part of our church, so please contact the team with questions or comments about this considered change and we will discuss them in our meetings and post the answers in the FAQ section above, making the information we have openly available to everyone.

    For those who may be interested in learning more about SAS, here is a link to the book the Discernment Team is using to guide our decision making process: