Organization and Policies
We propose that The Eos Network shall be a network of local communities governed by a common constitution. Our main focus will be on small group ministry. The various types of programs that we will offer, mostly in a small group format, are described in the section of this web site on our ministry programs. We propose that each community have one ministry leader and several helpers for each type of ministry that it sponsors. These ministry leaders will be appointed and supervised by a pastor, who will be selected by the community membership. The pastor will oversee all of the community's activities. He or she will also manage the community's finances and serve as the community's liaison with regional and national levels of administration.
We propose that each community have an elected Local Board of Directors that will evaluate the performance of the pastor and coordinate such functions as fundraising and public relations. There will also be Local Standing Committees that deal with various administrative and coordinating tasks. A National Congress, comprised of delegates elected by local communities, will coordinate resources for local chapters and administer the policies of The Eos Network on the national level. It will meet every year during our National Convention. This National Congress will be planned by a National Executive Board. Several National Standing Committees will coordinate various administrative functions on the national level. The specific functions and duties of each of these entities discussed in greater detail in section B.
1. Key Leadership Values
Some of the core values of our leadership ethic are clear and open communication, collaborative leadership, careful organization and preparation, and respect for legitimate authority. Leaders are expected to embody these values in all aspects of their conduct as official representatives of The Eos Network. All of these values will enable us to make the most of our precious time and resources as we promote the spiritual development of our members and serve our society.
Generally speaking, our governing policies will be pragmatic and constantly evaluated. At least in the early stages of our existence, our governing structures and policies will be continually adapted to the needs of our members and the healthy functioning of The Eos Network as a whole.
We propose that our institutions combine clear structures of authority as well as a commitment to creative cooperation. At this early stage of our development as a national organization, we propose that a substantial degree of centralization is needed. The National Board will thus closely monitor all aspects of the operation of each chapter, helping chapters to develop a core group of leaders, a sound structure of administration, and a broad spectrum of effective and powerful ministry programs.
As local communities mature, however, we expect that they will oversee their own programs with only minimal oversight from the National Board. At this point, the National Board will serve more as an "idea clearinghouse" that will help chapters to share and refine ideas for programs that work well for them.
Once again, at all stages of organizational development, we favor a collaborative leadership style that places a premium on openness and good communication between all levels of administration. For old and new communities alike, the National Office will build collaborative and supervisory relationships with local groups through periodic leadership conferences.
Approval of Programs
As stated above, we wish for local communities to govern their affairs with as much autonomy as possible. However, it seems appropriate to supervise new communities more closely until they get their ministry programs and leadership teams in place. We thus propose that the format and content of all programs sponsored during the probationary period of new local communities be submitted to and approved by the National Office.
We also propose that all programs sponsored in established communities be reviewed in a collaborative spirit by the appropriate ministry leaders within those communities. Such a process will allow these leaders to make sure that all programs reflect the main tenets and values of The Eos Network. It also enables ministry leaders to share their wisdom and experience with the coordinators of specific activities.
While these policies may seem authoritarian and cumbersome to some, we believe that they are necessary, especially in the early stages of our development as an organization. It is important to remember that we are trying to articulate a set of doctrines, values, and policies that we believe to be most authentic and realistic. We are trying to identify main tenets that are most conducive to the spiritual growth of our members and the welfare of society at large. For the sake of the integrity of our mission, it is thus important to ensure, in an open and collegial manner, that the doctrines, norms, and policies of The Eos Network will be clearly expressed in all programs sponsored by local communities. Dissent from our official tenets is welcome in the appropriate time and place (see the next section). In our day to day programs, though, we propose that we should respect the difficult process of discernment whereby we will identify and refine our views, values, and policies.
If a concern is raised that the content of a program is not consistent with our doctrines, norms, and/or policies, the ministry leader responsible for the program will be asked to discuss the program with the Local Committee for Doctrine, Norms, and Policy (see description below in Section B). If this committee determines that some aspect of the program is at variance with an official policy or view, it may ask the ministry leader to change the contents of the program so that they better reflect our main tenets.
Due Process for Dissenting Views
We propose that if any member of an Eos Community wishes to formally challenge a doctrine, norm, or policy of The Eos Network, he or she may voice their concern to The National Committee on Doctrine, Norms, and Policy (see description below in section B). The member will then then be invited to present the dissenting view to the National Congress at the next National Convention (see below). The delegates will discuss the issue and vote on whether or not it should be officially debated by the local communities as a possible change in the Eos Constitution. If two-thirds of the delegates vote in favor of a period of discussion, the issue will be tabled for at least one year but no more than three years, during which time official and open discussions on the issue in question will be held in each local community.
Possible amendments to the doctrine or policy in question will then be considered at the next National Convention (or the one after if the discussion period is two years, etc.). We propose that a two-thirds vote of delegates present be required for any changes in the doctrines, norms, or policies of The Eos Network.
This process seems like a reasonable way to ensure that we are constantly open to evaluating our beliefs and policies. It is hoped that it will encourage continuous and collegial dialogue about our views and values, while at the same time ensuring clarity and consistency in our basic tenets.
1. Local Ministry Leaders and Volunteer Helpers
We propose that Local Ministry Leaders be appointed by pastors and charged with the supervision of all programs related to their area of ministry. We propose that the following areas of ministry should have a ministry leader: common worship, small group ministry, support groups, vocation groups, life transition groups, service groups, and recreational activities. It would be preferable to have separate leaders for ministry programs directed at specific populations such as youth, young adults, and the elderly. Volunteer helpers are encouraged to assist ministry leaders. Ministry leaders will by responsible for supervising these volunteers and reviewing all programs coordinated by them.
Leaders should focus on the activities in their own community but also monitor programs that are sponsored by other Eos chapters and by local communities in other faith traditions. We will encourage chapter leaders to learn from each other and from leaders in other traditions so that they may constantly review and refine their programs.
The Local Board of Directors will be elected by the general membership of each local community according to the procedures described in the by-laws of this organization. This Board will evaluate the performance of the pastor and approve the appointment of all ministry leaders. It will manage communities' physical facilities and coordinate functions such as fundraising and public relations. It will also complete an Annual Report that will be submitted to the National Executive Board. We propose that members of The Local Board of Directors be elected by members of local Eos communities according to the procedures described in the by-laws of this organization. It is the policy of The Eos Network that no one be excluded from membership or any leadership position on the basis of their race, gender, or sexual preference. However, leaders may be sanctioned and/or removed if their behavior is judged by their community to be inappropriate for a leader of The Eos Network.
4. Local Standing Committees
We propose that each Local Standing Committee address some aspect of the community’s needs. These committees will be local counterparts of National Standing Committees, which are described below. They will plan recruitment efforts, clarify doctrines and norms, facilitate community organization, and engage in interfaith relations with other religious groups.
The members of Local Standing Committees will be elected
by community members from a list of candidates who are members in good standing.
Each committee will have at least five but no more than eleven members. We
propose that members serve three-year terms that will be staggered in order to
maintain continuity in the membership of the committee. The following is a
proposed list of Local Standing Communities:
c. The Committee for Interfaith Relations
A National Convention will be held each year. We propose that each local community elect and send one official delegate for every 2000 members, with a minimum of one delegate per community. These delegates will form a Congress that will review all official business proposed to by the National Committees or by individual delegates themselves. In order to encourage the careful formation of a consensus on all issues, any decisions made on the national level of The Eos Network must be approved by at least two-thirds of the delegates at the National Convention.
6. National Executive Board
We propose that members of the National Board be elected to four-year terms by the National Congress. This Board will contain at least five but no more than eleven members. Its responsibilities will be 1) to organize the annual National Convention, 2) to monitor the development of local communities by reviewing communities' Annual Reports, and 3) to oversee the activities of the various National Standing Committees.
7. National Standing Committees and Institutes
We propose that the members of the National Standing Committees be elected by convention delegates from a list of candidates who are members in good standing. Each committee may have at least five but no more than eleven members. We propose that each member serve a three-year term. The following is a list of the standing national committees:
a. The National Committee for Formation and Initiation
b. The National Committee for Recruitment
c. The National Committee for Facilities and Real Estate
d. The National Committee for Expansion
e. The National Committee for Interfaith Relations
f. The National Committee for Doctrine, Norms, and Policy
g. The Center
for Civic Education and Political Action
Through its web site, educational materials, and
conferences, this Center will provide a variety of resources for persons or
groups to use as they participate in the political life of their society. Again,
a full description of these programs may be reviewed in the Appendix to this