How is the Association Governed?

STF-USA utilizes a congregational [1] model of governance, which is an ecclesiastical model that has proven to be advantageous for the development of a faith community. In the congregational model, the power and authority of oversight is vested in the congregation, the members of the association, those that are actively involved with the work of the organization. The strength of the congregational model is that it generally prevents a centralization of power by allowing the congregation to determine who governs and the direction of the organization. This often produces a greater sense of “belonging,” because members feel that they have control over the ministry matters that directly affect them. Congregationalism has seen tremendous success because it promotes each church as independent and autonomously manages its own affairs. This is a concept we are strongly promoting in regards to the way churches connect to us.

The Board

A central Board, consisting of 3 to 12 members, oversees the affairs of the Association. Each Affiliated Church member, through the use of a delegate, makes up the Voting Constituency, who is responsibility to select the Board members. In addition to the seats filled by vote, the Board of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International fills two seats. Each elected board member serves a three-year term, and about one third of the board seats are elected turned over each year. Board members are limited to three consecutive terms.

Board responsibility and authority

The Board is charged with the legal responsibility and authority to oversee the affairs of the Association. As such it may from time to time create the various committees, taskforces, offices, and positions it deems necessary to conduct the affairs and functions of the Association. No board member has the right or authority to direct or control the actions of the association members.

Board Member Qualifications

The members of the Association place the highest level of organizational trust and confidence in those who serve on the board. In essence, those who serve in this capacity represent Christ, as well as all the members of STF-USA. Board membership by its very nature carries an organizational endorsement of the individual, and also a responsibility to live in manner worthy of this trust. As such, every person seeking to serve on the board must qualify in the areas of personal character, competency in ministry, commitment to the Christ (as well as the ministry of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International), consistency in performance, and cohesion (connectedness to others and this ministry).

Every Board member is required to meet the following minimum requirements:

1. Doctrine:
Demonstrated an understanding of and a commitment to the Association’s doctrinal positions, statement of beliefs, mission, vision, and values.

2. Practice:
Lifestyle commensurate with the requirements for overseers and deacons according to 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9.

3. Service:
Has demonstrated a commitment to serving God’s people and operates in a ministry that is recognized by the community of believers.

4. Competency:
Gifting, expertise, and abilities matching the spiritual and/or functional needs of the ministry.

5. Contribution and support:
Faithful contributor to Spirit & Truth Fellowship for a three (3) year period prior to election.

6. Not a novice:
Age 30 or older: 5 years active involvement in the community.

Association Administration

An Executive Director serves to oversee the daily administrative affairs of the Association. He or she does so by conducting the general management of the Association to insure the needs of the members are being addressed, and the activities of the Association are being properly conducted. Some of the work the Executive Director specifically does to serve the needs of the members is promoting the Associations various activities, assist the work in the local areas, aid in coordinating the work between the local churches, and helps to plant new churches The Executive Director works for the benefit of all the Association membership and reports directly to the Board.

Some of the administrative tasks that the Executive Director performs are:

  • Ensure the proper filing and legal compliance for the maintenance of the Association’s “not-for-profit” status.
  • Stewardship of the Association assets by overseeing the proper handling and reporting on all finances, equipment, and facilities.
  • Facilitate communication to all Association members
  • Coordinate Association events and programs
  • Oversight of the Association websites
  • Maintenance of the Association records including the review and processing of Membership Applications

Voting Constituency

Each Affiliated Church is permitted one delegate who will be able to vote in the annual filling of any vacant board seats, or any other governmental matters subject to vote.

Annual Meetings

The Association intends to hold an Annual meeting each year during which time the general governmental needs of the Association are handled. Additionally, this is a time when the members can meet and share information and ideas through workshops, teachings, praise and worship, and general fellowship with each other. It is intended that, as the Association grows, the location of the Annual Meeting can be moved to various areas throughout the United States.

Endnote

[1] The congregational model has deep roots throughout Christian history, including the Pilgrims, Puritans, Massachusetts Bay Colony, various Arminians, and even Unitarians. One of the most successful congregational models today is the Willow Creek Association with over 9,000 independent member churches. There are many other Christian denominations that utilize this form of governance, such as the Assemblies of God and the Christian and Missionary Alliance.