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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

21 Feb '13

church boards and failure of courage

Posted by T.J. Addington in church boards, courage, unhealthy boards
Church boards are notorious for an inability to make key decisions when they need to and then to stick to their decision when a few loud voices are raised.

The inability of boards to make timely decisions is endemic. Issues are hashed over numerous times, re sawing the sawdust because boards find it hard to make decisions and act. Not only is this a great waste of leadership time, it is in the end a failure of courage - to lead.

Take a staff issue, for instance, where there is a known problem that has lasted for years. The senior pastor knows there is a problem and the board knows there is a problem - but nothing happens.

The board spends endless hours talking, revisiting the issue meeting after meeting but there isn't the courage to make a decision because several board members are afraid of the fallout. The longer they debate, the more damage the staff member does. Finally under pressure, the board acts. But, soon they feel under pressure from a few in the congregation who don't understand or agree with their decision and they start to cave.

If one is going to serve on a church board it is necessary to have the ability to make decisions that will further the mission of the church and fulfill the call of God on the congregation. News-flash: not everyone in the congregation will be happy with that. Comfort, status quo and resistance to change are higher values for some than fulfilling Christ's mission for the church.

Sensitivity and process are important in the execution of key decisions. But he responsibility of leaders is to take the congregation in directions that God would be pleased with and that means making directional decisions that some will not eagerly sign on for.

A lack of courage to make timely decisions and to stick to those decisions in the face of criticism - which will come, sentences the church to mediocrity. If you serve on a church board, don't get caught with a failure of courage. Make timely decisions that are best for the ministry, expect that not everyone will be pleased, and don't cave. Board members who cannot do that need to move over and allow someone who is willing to lead - to lead.