Whenever church boards are discussed, a joke comes to mind. At the end of a worship service, the pastor announced that there would be a board meeting. When they gathered, there was a visitor in the meeting room. Of course, they asked the person why the person had come to the board meeting. The individual replied, “If anyone was more board in service than me, I want to meet them.”
Through observation and discussions with others, there seems to be a shared perspective about church boards as a necessary evil. Admittedly, boards can seem to bog things down. However, the wisdom we gain from Scripture teaches us that a plurality of minds, hearts, and hand are better than a single set (Pro. 11:14, 27:9, 17; Ecc. 4:9; 1 Cor. 12:14; Eph. 4:11; 1 Pet. 4:10).
Why have a board at all?
The simple answer is that the corporate form of governance is highly advantageous in this world, and its requires boards. Nonprofits and for-profits benefit from legal protections. Since we are a part of this world, we can sanctify things from it to do the Lord’s work. Including board governance models. If they are done as unto the Lord, boards can create a great deal of opportunity for productive discussion and fairness. Fairness is the purpose of parliamentary procedure and approaches like Roberts Rules of Order. Boards provide necessary checks and balances, cultivate a shared sense of purpose, and produce better decision-making process which results in more healthy organizations.
What is the purpose of a church board?
One of the problems with any type of board is they can micromanage many aspects of the church. Or, they can allow problems to perpetuate because of a lack of moral courage among the members. However, boards can serve a very important purpose, even in a church. They are responsible for the spiritual, moral, and social maturity of the church membership. This means they are concerned with the building and properties upkeep and development. Church boards also oversee Church’s finances. Finally, they can protect and strengthen the Church’s relationship with the Pastor.
Who I am on the church board?
Each person on the church board is a trustee. A trustee is one who has been given a something to hold in trust. If you have a title other than a trustee, you are called an “ex officio” member (such as pastor as chairman, youth leaders, treasurers, and so forth). Trustees are otherwise known a fiduciaries or stewards. Biblical Stewards are accountable to God, self, others, and creation. As a board member, you are holding the church’s care in trust by God and the congregation.
How do we improve our church board?
This is the million dollar question, isn’t it? The simple answer is board machinery. The complicated answer is board chemistry. Board machinery topics range from meeting time and place to the organizational structure of the board. Board chemistry deals with the individuals that make up the board, their personalities, experiences, and abilities. Each of these areas, machinery and chemistry, can positively or negatively impact board governance. Consideration and activity to strengthen any of the domains could make the desired improvements on a church board.
However, it is also important to reflect on the topics that dominate the board’s agenda. Church board can quickly become trapped in a maintenance mentality. Talking about finances, failing buildings and structures probably won’t excite anyone’s passion. Those are important issues, but if the majority of time is spent on these matters, that board is more than likely to experience a high turnover rate. Board agendas and discussions should be built around the mission and vision of the Church. Keeping focus on the main thing with increase the impact and efficiency of any board.