025 - 6 Characteristics of Church Board Members - Leaders.Church


025 – 6 Characteristics of Church Board Members

What’s in this Episode?

Just imagine what it would be like to have visionary, forward-thinking, smart, and savvy church board members sitting alone in the church board table with you, coming alongside you to help support and advance the mission that God has for the church. Well, you’ve come to the right spot today, because in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about six characteristics of church board members. And when you have these individuals on your board, this is going to help you advance the mission that God has given your church.

Read the Transcript

Jonathan Hardy 0:32
Several years ago, I was a part of starting Summit Park Church here in Kansas City. Many of you are aware of that already. And my good friend Scott Obremski and I were sitting down together one day, and we were trying to talk through who’s going to be a part of the board of the church. And so it’s a brand new church. And as every church plant has to do, at some point, you’ve got to get that board established. And so we’re sitting there and thinking through, kind of rattling off people of who we might think would be good potential board members and one of the things I think is important in those moments, whether it’s a brand new board that you’re starting, or if you’re looking to add new board members to the church is to figure out what are the key things that you want in a board member? What are those characteristics you’re looking for? And so that’s why today we want to talk about six characteristics of church board members, because this is so important for us is to make sure that we get the right people on the bus and not have people that shouldn’t be board members. And so, Dick, why don’t you give us a little more insight into this?

Dick Hardy 1:37
Well, you know, we think that when you’re looking at board members, I’ve been doing this a year or two, you can tell with the gray hair here, so he’ll catch up with me eventually. And it’s important to talk about what are characteristics of these men or women that you’re going to have walking alongside you, because they’re going to carry water for you. They’re going to be protecting. And we just talked about in the previous episode, how we develop a philosophy of ministry. Well, these are going to be the people they’re going to be with you as a leader in developing that philosophy of ministry that helps move the church forward.

Characteristic #1: Deeply Spiritual

Dick Hardy 2:15
So, the very first thing that I think you want to be looking for in a board member, and this may seem to almost go without saying, but I’m gonna say they need to be deeply spiritual person. They need to have demonstrated a depth of commitment doesn’t mean that they have arrived. None of us have arrived. They haven’t arrived. But you want a board member that’s deeply spiritual. I’ve seen too many boards, where they have very competent people on the board. They’re strong businessmen, they know their stuff in their career field, but they were very shallow spiritually. You cannot have that sitting around a board table. It’s absolutely first and foremost, you have to have a spiritual person.

Jonathan Hardy 3:01
That’s right.

Characteristic #2: Involved

Dick Hardy 3:02
Secondly, you want a person that’s involved. I talk about, in the Church Board Track of training in the Church University, the courses that we offer, of this church out in Colorado, I visited one time. And so we’re doing a Saturday morning, get acquainted. I’m consulting the church and we go around the restaurant, after breakfast, seeing, what does everybody on the board do? Happened to be all guys. And so they say, “okay, well, what do you do?” “Well, I’m on the board.” “What do you do?” Well, in other words, I’m talking about what do you do in ministry. “Well I’m on the board,” “I’m on the board,” or “guys, I’m on the sound booth,” “I’m on the board.” He was the only guy that was in sound ministry. Everybody else viewed their ministry as being on the board. Wrong. Board members, potential board members, have to be involved in something. They’re in kids ministry, they’re in youth, they’re in security, they’re in worship, whatever, because you want them to have a vested interest in what’s happening to the church. So number one, they need to be deeply spiritual. Number two, they need to be involved. Third, Jonathan.

Characteristic #3: Smart

Jonathan Hardy 4:13
Number three, they need to be smart.

Dick Hardy 4:15

Jonathan Hardy 4:15
Yeah, I know that sounds kind of unspiritual to say, “oh, we want smart people.”

Dick Hardy 4:20
Well flesh that out though! That’s good.

Jonathan Hardy 4:20
Well, you do. You want people that have wisdom, that they’ve got good insight, and that their experience positions them in a way where they’re able to bring things to the table for you. So, whether it’s their giftings, could be their giftings, could be their experience. Just that they’ve got that confidence and that knowledge to be able to help you. You don’t want someone who, you know, isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. I mean, yeah, you know, you want people who are going to come alongside the pastor and sharpen the pastor and challenge and push so that the ministry can be the best possible it can be.

Dick Hardy 4:58
Exactly. So that is good.

Characteristic #4: Accountable

Jonathan Hardy 5:00
So that’s the third one. Then the fourth one is you want people that are accountable. That they’re willing to be held to a high standard, and that they’re fine with that accountability. And that there’s a mutual accountability with each other as board members and with the pastor, because that’s so important if people aren’t willing, if they don’t have that, that sense of willingness to be accountable, that humble spirit, all that that’s associated with that, then those aren’t the type of people you want on the board.

Dick Hardy 5:31
And I would suggest that I’m seeing this more and more that the pastors and churches call board members to higher standards than other people in the church. And that’s all part of the accountability. And if a board member is unwilling to do that, then they probably aren’t going to qualify to be a board member because you need that accountability.

Characteristic #5: Teachable

Jonathan Hardy 5:52
Yep. Another thing kind of on the heels of that, really, the fifth characteristic we want to talk about is that they’re teachable. That they’re willing to learn. And you know, you don’t want a bunch of “know it alls” on the board. You want people who are willing to learn. Hopefully, the pastor is also willing to learn, because none of us have arrived, no one has arrived. We all have it. We’re all on the journey together. We’re imperfect people we’re trying to grow. And lead at the best, as best as possible. And as board members, we need board members who are teachable. And that’s just one of those things. It’s like there it’s in their DNA. Either they’re teachable, or they’re not. And if they’re not teachable, then you’re probably headed toward conflict and some rough roads potentially at different times.

Dick Hardy 6:38
Well, you know, it just makes me think Jonathan, you and I just had lunch with a guy here a week or so ago. And he talked about how he’s in a major corporation. And he talked about characteristics of people that are going to last in his company, and being teachable is one of those major ones. And if they’re not teachable, they’re not going to last and that’ll be the same thing with your board member. If they’re not teachable, you’re gonna see conflict popping up all over the place.

Characteristic #6: Cheerleader

Dick Hardy 7:04
The final piece we want to throw in here and this again, doesn’t sound very spiritual, you want a cheerleader. Now, by cheerleader, I mean, they lift you, they lift the vision, they are with you, they are figuratively or literally saying, “amen” in your sermons. They are walking the journey with you. They’re willing to do those things that we talked about above in terms of accountability and teachability, and so on and so on. But they’re a cheerleader for you. It doesn’t mean they’re a “yes man”, but it does mean that they’re going to go in the trenches with you and cheer you on. Too many pastors are out there on their own. They are isolated. You don’t need to be isolated. So you need to look for board members who will cheer with you, for you, and for the church as you go forward.

Jonathan Hardy 7:56
Yeah, that’s good. Should we do a quick recap?

Dick Hardy 7:58
Let’s do a quick recap.


Jonathan Hardy 7:59
Alright, let’s do a quick recap of the six characteristics. So first, you have spiritual. Second, you want them involved. Third, you want them to be smart. Fourth, accountable. Fifth, teachable, and sixth, a cheerleader. Now one of the things I want to mention too if you want to learn more about church boards is to check out episodes 18 and 19. In those two episodes, we talked about the seven essential purposes of a church board. And that’s also a very very good thing for you to look at as it relates to what their roles and responsibilities are and how the church board functions in the overall life of the church.

Dick Hardy 8:33
And it will help the board members themselves get it. You’ll see lights go on like, “oh, I get it.” Why or how we’re supposed to do what we’re doing.

Jonathan Hardy 8:42
Yeah, absolutely. Well, hey, I want to mention, as well, do not forget to check out the Kids Ministry Track inside of our Church University online courses online education for pastors. This is a way for you to dive in and help your kids ministry be the best possible. So it’s great for kids pastors, it’s great for people who are the kids ministry leaders at the church, even if they’re volunteers. It’s a 44 video course it’s on sale now. We launched it this week and you want to make sure to check that out. And then also, I’d encourage you to subscribe to this podcast, whether you’re listening on whatever podcast platform you’re listening, or if you’re watching this on YouTube, please subscribe. We want to be able to continue to get the word out to other people. And we’d also love to have you rate and review this podcast because this helps us get the feedback from you. So we know what’s working, what’s helping, and as well it helps other people so that we can continue to spread the word and give more church tips to other people as well. Any other thoughts?

Dick Hardy 9:40
We’ve got a link here in your notes to to sign up for the Church Boardsmanship PDF. That’ll be a very helpful piece for you to use with your board. Now this is more responsibilities as we’re talking here today about the traits that we have for board members. But once board members get in the loop, I would have encourage you to pick up the Church Boardsmanship PDF. That’s it.

Jonathan Hardy 10:03
All right. Well, hey, we’ll look forward to seeing you next time. Take care.

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