“What’s the definition of a board?” “Dead wood.”
What’s the other definition of a board? “A group of highly competent individuals who get together once a month and act like idiots.”
“Three board members die and find themselves in heaven.” “Really?”
“Three board members walk into a bar…” Let’s just skip this one.
The bottom line is that leading even a small church takes more wisdom, objectivity, Bible knowledge and experience than any of us have as individuals, so God ordained that churches should be led by teams of godly leaders whom we usually end up referring to as “boards.”
Pastors who are planting churches and haven’t yet established a board often end up using their spouses as de facto board members. Pillow talk becomes church talk. This doesn’t work well for anybody.
So in a previous post I wrote about six evenings when boards are at their best. Here’s the review. Boards are at their best when:
- Desperate, heartfelt prayer leads to a Spirit-given unity,
- The members trust each other well enough to speak the truth in love to each other,
- Scripture is studied by hungry and teachable hearts,
- Articles, books and blogs are discussed by open-minded eager learners,
- The ministries of Pastors are reviewed with honesty and grace,
- Parishioners are listened to with humility.
Here are three more evenings when boards are at their best:
- Boards are at their best when they are following the leadership of a God-led pastor. I believe in the team leadership of churches. I also believe in the need for individuals to lead leadership teams.
Somebody has to take the point position. Somebody has to be the initiator. Somebody has to stay up all night worrying about the church.
In Scripture, we often see God using individuals to lead groups. That’s because it just the “nature of things.” Groups don’t lead; groups are led. Board members who want to be “the man” should become pastors.
- Boards are at their best when they are conducting loving church discipline or redeploying an out-of-place Christian worker. It goes without saying that church discipline has a bad name. Since it’s not a term found in Scripture, we really don’t have to use it anyway.
What Scripture demands is that church leaders love their people enough to confront their destructive or self-destructive behaviors. I recently heard about a pastor who was reportedly “too loving to rebuke anybody.” Nonsense. A failure to reprove, rebuke and exhort is a failure to love.
I’m happy to say that I’ve seen boards do this important work really, really well. A whole room full of mature Christians pleading with a straying member to return to the Lord is a powerful and beautiful thing, whether the individual repents or not.
Similarly, everyone wins when a failing church staff member or volunteer is redeployed within the church or even sent out to get a fresh start elsewhere. It’s not loving or gracious to let the individual continue to flounder.
- Boards are at their best when they are deeply engaged in strategic planning. Here’s the caveat: because of the level of concentration involved, strategic planning tasks are probably best conducted on retreats and not during rushed, evening meetings.
With that said, what could be more meaningful or important than the hard work and passionate prayer that goes into the hammering out of a mission or vision statement, core values, guiding principles, target group or ministry strategy?
Boards can be wonderful when – by God’s grace – they’re at their best.