However frustrated we may become with boards, it’s pretty clear from Scripture that God intended that churches be led by teams of godly leaders which we usually end up referring to as “boards.”
The following are six evenings when boards are at their best.
Boards are at their best when desperate, heartfelt prayer leads to a Spirit-given unity. There is something good about a really big, nasty, daunting church problem: it leads us to pray. We claim the James chapter one promise that God will give wisdom to those who are willing to follow it, we push aside the doughnuts, and we pray.
God loves it when arrogant men like me get on their faces before Him and ask for His guidance. He comes through time after time. We are often unprepared to hear brilliant heaven-sent solutions from our most unlikely board members, but God loves to surprise us with this.
Boards are at their best when the members trust each other well enough to speak the truth in love to each other. “Speaking the truth in love” is not just a cute little phrase from Ephesians four; it’s an absolute necessity. The body of Christ can’t work if the communication system functions poorly.
Patrick Lencioni in his classic, The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team, teaches that for a team to really work, we must speak the truth to each other. To speak the truth we must trust each other. To trust each other we must really get to know each other.
Boards are at their best when Scripture is studied by hungry and teachable hearts. Some of my favorite board meetings involved hours of Scripture study together, looking for God’s mind on an important, relevant subject. After sessions like these, board members go home deeply satisfied and feeling that their group is truly functioning as God intended.
Boards are at their best when articles, books and blogs are discussed by open-minded, eager learners. Larry Osborne’s Sticky Teams wisely counsels us to not do this on the same night that related decisions are being made: the pastor’s teaching will be perceived as lobbying and it will be resisted.
Do this in separate sessions in which no decisions are being made. Do it in a home, not a board room. Do it over food. Relax, laugh, argue, have a good time. Closed- minded would-be leaders need not apply.
Boards are at their best when pastors are reviewed with honesty and grace. I didn’t enjoy them at the time, but looking back, some of the best board meetings I’ve attended were the ones in which board members who loved me dared to tell me my short-comings. Most church boards simply don’t do this and the results can be catastrophic.
Boards are at their best when they are listening to parishioners with humility. I’ve never been crazy about allowing everybody and their brother to come in and complain to the board. But there are times when we need to let the unhappy person come and we need to sit and listen quietly and take it on the chin.
We don’t know everything. We don’t think of everything. We overlook things, just like the Apostles in Acts chapter six. The Apostles could have rebuked everybody for their murmuring and turned a deaf ear to their complaints. Fortunately for the lost of Jerusalem, they didn’t.