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WP_002955Over the recent two decades, management boards of not-for-profit community organisations have been adopting the Carver model of governance and administration.

The core principle of this model of management is to set boundaries within which the organisation and its personnel may operate. Rather than prescribing in detail what must be done to achieve set goals and objectives, the system adopts a “negative” discourse of directives that nevertheless opens the way for creative imagination and fluidity.

For example; “thou shalt not” spend more than $x on this project without recourse to the board, but you have complete freedom to use that budget line as you see fit towards its intended purpose.

Or “thou shalt not” hire more people than what our budget line allows, but within that ratio you have complete liberty to hire as you see fit for the organisation’s purpose.

This saved boards from hours of tedious micro-management and feed them for more creative work. Boundaries are necessary for freedom to find fuller expression.

The Decalogue or the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) are in the same category. They are couched in “thou shalt not” terms and set boundaries that allow freedom to find fuller expression. They are often misrepresented as a scowling schoolmarm scrutinising one’s untamed soul for misdemeanours deserving punishment.

Rather they define the scope within community life together wherein freedom, and ultimately, love, can freely express itself.