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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.

03 May '10

Church Board Development

Posted by T.J. Addington in church boards
One of the key ongoing commitments of a good governance board is that of improving its work. In fact, most non-profit boards actually have a board development committee whose mandate it is to help the board grow, develop, become more knowledgeable board members and perform at a higher level.


Church boards ought to take a page from that playbook. While they often evaluate the senior pastor (which is good) they rarely evaluate themselves (which is bad). Governance or leadership is serious business and its quality determines the quality of the ministry of the church. Yet few church boards have a plan for ongoing development.


There are any number of areas where church boards can improve their effectiveness: Here are a number to consider.


1. Are we clear as to what our job is? Are we here to keep tabs on the pastor? Are we hear to guard the status quo? Are we here to move the ministry of the church down the field in line with a core ministry philosophy? Do we know why we are here and do all of our board members abide by the same premise?


2. Do we have efficient and effective meetings? Does each meeting have a clear agenda? Do we stay on task and avoid rabbit trails? Are we dealing with the truly big ministry rocks rather than the pebbles that someone else could be dealing with? Is the board chair given the authority to plan and lead effective meetings?


3. Do we have healthy relationships on the board and do we practice biblical conflict resolution? Are we able to have robust discussion at board meetings without personal attacks or hidden agendas. Do board members keep conversations from the board room confidential? Do we have a means of dealing with rogue board members who have their own agendas and keep the board from moving forward?


4. Do we have an efficient decision making progress or are we constantly rehashing decisions that have already been made? Are we easily intimidated by loud voices in the congregation who may disagree with decisions of the board. Do all board members support decisions made?


5. Do we spend quality time in prayer and biblical reflection around critical issues of ministry or are we so focused on day to day issues that we never get there. Is the spiritual temperature of the board high or low? What evidence is there to support our conclusion?


6. Do we have a really good plan for choosing the very best people for our board or are we at the whim of a process that leaves our board open to unqualified and uncooperative members who drive their own agendas. How do we guard our gate of leadership? How could we do it better?


Board development can change the effectiveness of church boards and change the experience that individuals have in serving on it. If you do not do board development on an ongoing basis, I would urge you to seriously consider it.