Governance Matters Book Review & Testimonial

Board Governance Model Testimony

I was introduced to your book, Governance Matters, in 2011 by Dr. Jason Ferenczi, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on “Governance in International Theological Education” under my direction at Columbia International University. While there is no dearth of professional literature on organizational governance, Dr. Ferenczi noted that your book is unique in its approach to the topic from a distinctively Christian perspective.

Since 2004, I have been involved in the ministry of Global Associates for Transformational Education (GATE, see: In my role as a senior associate of GATE, I have recommended The Relationship Model to theological faculties in the Philippines, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Togo, and Ecuador. Last July, I also used Governance Matters as a textbook for a Doctor of Education course at Columbia International University on “Leadership and Governance in Higher Education.” Students enrolled in the course are engaged in ministries in Sri Lanka, Chad, Sr. Vincent, Korea, and China, as well as in the United States. They reported your book was the key text (among five) in shaping their thinking about governance and administration in Christian higher education. Thank you for your work and for sharing your thinking on governance theory from a Christian perspective.

Robert W. Ferris, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Columbia International University
Columbia, SC U.S.A.

Testimony Governance Model: Walnut Grove Lutheran Church

Board Governance Model Testimony

In November 2011, a Transforming for Missions consultation team identified governance issues as the greatest challenge that our congregation faces as we seek to more fully engage with the mission of Jesus Christ to seek and to save the lost.  This finding was consistent with the experience of our leadership group because we recognized that governance was an issue and, over the preceding couple of years, we had tried modifying our existing governance structure to try to resolve it, but without success. After the consultation report was adopted by the congregation, a Governance Committee was struck and charged with the task of developing a new governance model.  After looking at various models and noting their strengths, weaknesses and applicability to our congregation, the Governance Committee chose the Relationship Model as the best governance model for our congregation.  With coaching and resources from Les Stahlke, the Governance Committee developed drafts of a Governance Manual for our leadership group and a revised Constitution and Bylaws for the congregation.  In the spring of 2013, our leadership group adopted the Relationship Model as our governance model and the congregation approved the revised Constitution and Bylaws.  Our new Governing Board has read Church Governance Matters by Les Stahlke and we are presently transitioning to the new model. Read more

Testimonials from Botswana

I just returned from another trip to Botswana, where I’m training board members for five umbrella organizations that count over 200 Non-Governmental Organizations among their members. World University Services of Canada (WUSC) assisting NGOs in Botswana since 1980 is sponsoring these two-day workshops.

The reception was overwhelmingly positive at first two Governance Workshops.  The evaluation survey invited Board members to rate the overal experience (5) Superior, (4) Excellent, (3) Good, (2) Fair, (1) Poor.  Of the twenty Board members who attended the two workshops 17 rated the overall experience (5) Superior and 3 rated it (4) Excellent.  Needless to say we had a good time at both workshops.

Here are the comments participants made of the overall experience:

“Les is master of his craft! Very inspirational and thought provoking assault of the senses by pearls of truth”

“Super great! It gave the paricipants the opportunity to be born again in governance and management.”

“Good for NCONGO and will turn the board into a model for other boards.”

“World Class. All relevant and practical.”

“I had an amazing experience. All the topics discussed really opened up my mind as a board member.”

“I enjoyed it; it was a fresh way of presenting governance issues.”

“The workshop was a breath of fresh air.”

If you would like to arrange an introductory workshop for the Relationship Model™ anywhere in the world, let us know and we’ll be there!

Les Stahlke