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The Six Whys of SAS

Paper cut-outs of people in a circle

The Simplified Accountable Structure (SAS) model of church governance can refocus us on the church’s main task, and here are six reasons why.

Pastor, East Lansing: University UMC and Certified SAS Consultant

Simplified Accountable Structure (SAS) is a new model of church governance, permitted by paragraph 247.2 of The Book of Discipline (2016). Many churches have moved to this model. While no model is perfect, there are some compelling reasons to consider going to this new structure.

Find Your Why

Best-selling author and organizational leadership speaker Simon Sinek popularized the phrase “find your why.” In his TED talk, Sinek points out that knowing our why can unlock an organization’s potential and purpose.

Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing

Over the years, our complex, multi-layered church administrative structures have hampered us from accomplishing our main mission and basic purpose. With a permission-giving culture, fewer meetings, and more leaders involved in direct ministry, SAS has the potential to refocus us on the church’s main task. This task is making disciples of Jesus Christ, equipping and launching leaders, and accomplishing God’s mission and purpose in the world.

Six Whys of SAS

While most of us are eager to have fewer meetings, there are many more reasons to consider this model. Here are six reasons why I believe in the properly implemented SAS model.

    1. Efficiency: Our current church governance structure was created in 1968. All the meetings and permissions required to accomplish things often leave leaders exhausted and frustrated. With fewer meetings and steps for approval, there is more time and energy spent in direct ministry. Not to mention that it is simply more efficient.
    2. Alignment: The SAS model aligns the resources of people, funds, facilities, and programs to accomplish the mission. With annual smart goals based on the identified vision and mission of the church, ministry leaders have what is needed to accomplish the goals, and transformative ministries are accomplished.
    3. Missional Focus: The SAS model invites us to move from self-focus and institutional survival mode toward incarnational ministry in our lives, neighborhoods, communities, and the larger world. It is life-changing for congregations and leaders to ask ourselves, “What is God’s vision for our church this coming year?” and then live into accomplishing that vision.
    4. Accountability: When “everyone is in charge,” no one is actually held responsible. The SAS model includes leaders holding themselves and one another accountable for missional fruitfulness. Good accountability is life-giving, more efficient, and helps keep us focused on the true task at hand.
    5. Flexibility: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned the importance of adaptability and flexibility. This is a critical ongoing need, and the SAS model invites trying new things to meet the needs of changing landscapes.
    6. Leadership Development: This is the why I am most excited about! When properly implemented, the SAS model intentionally focuses on leadership development, ongoing equipping, and launching leaders. It is exciting to see people discover their God-given gifts, learn about best leadership practices, and then launch into ministries they are passionate about serving. This is what it means to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Many churches tell me that they want younger generations to serve in ministry. The SAS model is especially attractive to those younger generations (Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z) because their time and energy are spent doing the ministry rather than just attending meetings. This is yet another compelling reason to consider moving to this model.

Want to learn more? If you and your church are interested in exploring SAS, please email Rev. Ron Brooks, Michigan Conference Coordinator for SAS, at [email protected] or call or text him at 269-779-6131.

Last Updated on April 17, 2024

The Michigan Conference