Fourth: National Leader Development Pool
The National Leader Development Pool emerged as an attempt to deal with the problem. It is not perfect. I do not particularly like it. But I don’t have a better idea. Consequently, I believe we will struggle to find ways to at least avoid dis-proportionate representation.
Ways to do this might include requiring that boards rotate the origin of their board members so that, over time, all partners get represented. Partners might be invited to group themselves as common interest groups to make nominations to the pool, and requiring that those common interest groups be represented on every board. We may also specify that no board may have two members from the same partner. An additional compensation is to radically limit the authority of those boards—even more so than now. The prospect of boards saying and doing things contrary or offensive to partners who feel disenfranchised by the process is fraught with danger for the body. The irony here is that boards which have been seeking greater independence and freedom may actually find themselves ending up with less freedom to speak and act than they have now!
However, regardless of the means we use or the language we wrap around it, we cannot escape the fact that someone else is choosing who will “represent” me. That might work in a high trust environment, but we do not have that luxury. We cannot underestimate the reaction against this. It will be a major “sell job” for those who have experienced oppression, exclusion, dismissal or alienation by the system (which seems to include almost everyone in American Baptist life today).