Date of Graduation
Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA)
A questionnaire was mailed to board officers of churches in the Episcopal Diocese of California asking about retreats, teamwork, and change. The central hypothesis was that officers whose vestries (boards) had gone on retreats in the prior year would report higher teamwork satisfaction and more organizational changes in that year than officers whose vestries had not gone on retreats. If supported, this might point to teamwork as a possible mechanism by which retreats promote change.
Most vestries from which responses were received (86.32%) held vestry retreats within the year before the responses, and most of these were held away from the site of their own church and with no outside facilitator.
Regarding organizational change, officers whose vestries had gone on retreats in the past year reported significantly greater numbers of changes (p<.OS) in 24 church management topic areas listed in the questionnaire than did officers who indicated their vestries had not gone on retreats. (Whether reported changes were regarded as positive was considered separately from their occurrence, and for several management areas significantly more positiveness was reported by officers whose vestries did not go on retreats.) Responses about whether retreats contributed to change varied widely but the means for the 24 church management areas ranged around the middle of a five-point Likert scale, i.e. "to some extent." Thus, the findings lend support to the theory that retreats promote change. This is important because how organizations can iv negotiate the current rapidly changing societal environment is an issue of central importance to nonprofit and other organizations today.
Regarding teamwork, reported satisfaction with vestry teamwork compared to the prior year did not show significant associations with the number of church management areas in which change was reported, or with reports of change in individual church management areas. Also, teamwork satisfaction reports did not differ significantly between officers whose vestries had gone on retreats and officers whose vestries had not. Thus, the findings do not lend support to the theory that improved teamwork is a mechanism by which retreats promote change. A preliminary discussion of church management topic areas addressed in retreats that might serve as intervening mechanisms promoting change focuses on clarity of mission statement, short-range planning, long range planning, and definitional questions.
Taylor-Skarica, Catherine, "Vestry Retreats and Organizational Change in the Episcopal Diocese of California" (1998). Master's Theses. 1138.