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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.

15 Jan '15

When board members don't get their way

Posted by T.J. Addington
One of the reasons that I believe humility is so important for those serving on a church board (and other ministry boards) is that we must be willing to allow the board to make decisions and then set aside our personal preferences and accept that decision. It is the way boards are supposed to operate but unfortunately there are often board members who refuse to give up their pet issues or put issues to rest that the board has decided. It causes frustration for other board members and can often lead to dysfunction on the board.

There are some individuals who cannot give up their issues no matter how often the board decides differently. The issues just keep coming up and the board member just keeps pushing. Such an individual does not belong on the board because they do not have the humility or flexibility to allow the board to make corporate decisions - decide issues - and move on. It is what boards do.

What drives such frustrating behavior? It can be a lack of humility. It can be a personal agenda. It can be that they are just inflexible individuals and they elevate their preferences to the only solution even when the majority disagrees. I often get push-back when I suggest one must guard the gate to church leadership. Some believe that all that matters is that someone loves Jesus. That is just foolishness! When individuals do not allow the board to operate as it should they hurt the board, the leadership and the church. I often tell congregations that they get what they deserve when they don't guard the gate.

Boards need to learn how to clarify expectations of board behavior and they need to learn how to police renegade board members. If you have someone who will not let an issue go in the face of board action, ask them to step off. They simply don't understand how boards work.

See also
Rethinking leadership selection in the church

Eight dysfunctions of church governance boards

Dumb things church boards do

Board members and their intellectual capacity

All of T.J. Addington's books including his latest, Deep Influence,  are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 per book discount on orders of ten or more.