Members for Church Accountability Inc.

2006 March Newsletter

EMAIL Newsletter

Note to MCA members March 3, 2006

In an effort to keep you in touch with activities within the MCA organization, we are planning to send out periodic email communications. We need to have your current email address, so if this one is bounced, we may send you a note by "snail mail" to request your preferred email. Please feel free to respond to mail delivery issues to this email, but be sure to include MCA in the subject line, or it might be mistaken for "junk mail." Discussion of interest to the MCA organization should be sent to:

Over the next several months we would like to engage the entire MCA membership in developing a plan for church reorganization and function that, if implemented, would solve some of the major problems that beset our church.

To set a background for what might be a workable church organizational structure, we are including the abstract of the PhD dissertation by Dr. Rowland Hsu, a retired CPA and active SDA lay leader.

His dissertation is entitled Governance practices of the Seventh-day Adventists: Compared with governance standards and practices of corporate and other denominational counterparts.

The full dissertation is available from UMI Dissertation Services, 300 North Zeeb Road, PO Box 1306, Ann Arbor Michigan 48106-1346. 800-521-0600, 734-761-4700. UMI Number 9806517

The following is the abstract from that dissertation:

This dissertation is a study of the Executive Committee (same as board of directors) of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Specifically, it compares governance practices of the Adventist Church with governance standards advocated by experts and governance practices of corporate and 10 other Protestant denominational counterparts in America. Five comparisons were made in each of the following areas: (a) the structure and functions of the board, (b) membership of the board, and (c) meetings of the board.

The followings are general findings. Compared with an average board size of fewer than 20 for corporate and fewer than 30 for nonā€‘profit organizations, the Adventist board has 343 members. The average size of the other 10 denominational boards is approximately 60. While the corporate and other denominational boards have 75 and 79 percent independent directors, only 13 percent of the Adventist's board members are non-employees. There is no separation of functions between the board and the administration. The Executive Committee does little in setting goals, establishing performance standards, conducting long-range planning, selecting, monitoring, evaluating, and, if necessary, replacing of management.
Adventist's board members are not required to be free from conflicts of interest. Nomination for board membership is not based on professional qualifications, nor is there any term limit. The Adventist has the longest interval between denomination-wide conventions
, meeting once every five years comparing with an average of 2.5 years for the other 10 denominations.

The agendas for board meetings cover mostly operational issues, and materials distributed reach 400 to 500 pages in volume in recent years. These materials are distributed to the directors on the same day and often a few minutes before the same issues are voted. Serious discussions and challenging questions rarely occur.

The findings show that the Adventist governance practices are materially different from governance standards found in research literature as well as governance practices of the corporate and other denominational counterparts. Since other research has shown that major deviations from governance standards may cause organizational and financial difficulties, a list of recommendations has been proposed that
can help the Adventist Church to avoid these adversities.

We urge you to participate in this project which could have a profoundly beneficial effect on our church. Please send us your ideas at: