Top 3 Responsibilities of Every Church Board - Leaders.Church



Top 3 Responsibilities of Every Church Board

Board members I’ve known over the years are wonderful men and women who desire nothing more than to serve their pastor and their church. They love Jesus and give of themselves to serve.

Because I’ve been around the block a day or two, gray hair to prove it, I’ve observed way too frequently that these good board members often don’t really know what they are supposed to do in that service to the church.

They sometimes think they know, but all too often are left to their own devices to figure out exactly what their role is in serving the pastor and the church.

Along these lines, here are some other helpful blogs you might find of interest for the pastor and church board member:

Church Government: Democracy or Theocracy
Church Board Members: Disagreeing without Drawing Blood?
10 Steps to Navigating Change with Your Church Board
How to Set the Pastor’s Salary

We’ve covered a lot of territory in these blogs specific to helping church boards and their individual members know how to best function for their pastor and for the church.

Here’s the deal. You know, if you’re a board member, there are a bunch of things you do as a board member. Some are really big. Most are pretty routine and come fairly naturally for you.

But, I would argue there are three responsibilities of church boards that make all the others pale in comparison.

Ready to find out what they are?

Responsibility #1 – Find and secure the ministry service of the church’s pastor.

The very first thing any church board does is what I call “pre-pastor” coming to the church. If a church board does this one wrong, they pay for it forever.

However, when they do it right, they and the church will watch God do amazing things. The sky will be the limit when a church board is diligent about seeking the mind of the Lord in the selection of their next new leader, the lead pastor.

When a church board is embarking on the selection of the lead pastor, they really need to take their time. Finding the mind of the Lord on this selection is not for the faint of heart.

Remember church board member, your church is not really yours; it is the Lord’s. Everything rises and falls on the church board members understanding their responsibility to be on their faces before God, calling out to Him for guidance in this selection.

Be diligent in conversation, in prayer, in seeking counsel from outside services and friends of the church.

This selection is going to set the course for your church for years to come. It’s true in government with the leaders we select. It’s true in marriage with the spouse you choose. And it’s true, true, and true again, in your selection of your pastor.

Hence, it is the number one responsibility any board carries in serving the Lord and the church.

Responsibility #2 – Pray for the pastor, the church and fellow board members.

You can be the best, smartest, greatest with money, and an all-around good guy/gal… but if you don’t pray, you really need not be on the board at all.

In fact, when I do coaching with pastors and boards, I make praying a prerequisite for board service.

A church board member needs to spend at least 10 minutes each day praying for your pastor, the church and fellow board members. If you can’t, then I would resign from the board.

I’m serious. This is too important to just give it a cursory fly over prayer.

Praying is central to what we do as a church.

This is not a local corporate or non-profit board. This is the Church of the living God and as a leader, your second responsibility after acquiring the services of your pastor is to pray.

(NOTE: Want to know the proper roles and responsibilities for Church Boards? Click here)

Guidelines for church boards & pastors

I strongly encourage you to create a type of prayer listing of all the church board members and your pastor. Then list and encourage the pastor and board members to pray scripture over each other.

I recommend starting with prayers Paul prayed over the various churches; Ephesians 1:16-19, Ephesians 3:14-19, Philippians 1:3, 9-11, Colossians 1:9-12 and 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 are a great place to start.

In short, if these prayers were good enough for the Apostle Paul, they’re probably good enough for church board members, as well.

Church board members who pray are a pastor’s dream. Those who don’t can be a nightmare.

Pray, my friend, pray.

Responsibility #3 – Protect the mission of the church.

After a church board has done their due diligence in selecting their pastor and after they have prayed, prayed, prayed… the third highest priority responsibility is to protect the mission of the church.

You don’t have to look very far to see individual churches, or some denominations or fellowships, that started out full-on for God and then lost their way. They had great missions, but something happened.

What was it and how did this happen?

I would argue, that at its core, the leadership of the church did not take time to focus on mission. They took it for granted and ultimately did not protect the mission of the church.

In these kinds of situations, the pastor and church board frequently fall prey to mission drift.

What is mission drift?

Mission drift is when an organization takes its eye off the ball of why it even exists in the first place.

Churches and ministries almost always start with a very clear mission that points in one way or another to pointing people to a personal relationship with Jesus. This is a noble and high calling, and they stick to it.

But then as time, sometime years go by, the mission begins to soften. No one intentionally says, “Hey, that mission we started with… probably don’t need to do that anymore.”

That’s where the word “drift” comes into play. Over time, the church drifts from its original mission. It is the church board’s role to not let that happen.

Any student of contemporary culture certainly understands that culture shifts all around the church. And sometimes the church allows itself to conform to the culture shift. Can’t let that happen.

One of the things for a pastor and church board to not get confused on is being relevant to the culture. Being relevant does not require the church to shift or drift on mission. Don’t confuse relevance with mission drift.

Here is what the church board needs to guard against. When the church begins to believe pieces of its original mission need to change, this begins mission drift.

Sometimes a new generation comes into leadership, without the understanding or appreciation of original mission, and suggests tweaking the mission a little here and a little there. This begins mission drift.

Mission drift does not happen overnight. It happens over a long period of time. The board’s long-term responsibility, along with the pastor, is to prevent mission drift.

(NOTE: Want to know the proper roles and responsibilities for Church Boards? Click here)

Guidelines for church boards & pastors

The pastor and the church board are the guardians of the mission of the church.

How do you guard mission?

The pastor and church board work together in assuring that everything the church does either aligns with mission or certainly does not run contrary to mission.

The board should not get down in the minutia of strategy – that is the pastor and staff’s responsibility – however, pastors and staff need to always know the church board is intent on protecting mission and not allowing the church to drift off course.

Church boards should never try to micromanage the pastor, even while protecting mission. However, when/if a board member has a question about how something ties to mission, they ask it. And the pastor needs to have the answer.

The pastor and church board work together to advance the church and its mission.

The pastor and church board work together to advance the church and its mission. Click To Tweet

I can tell you that if a church has drifted from its original mission, you can most certainly point to a church board that was asleep at the switch and did not protect its mission.

My challenge to every board member reading this blog. “You cannot allow this to happen at your church. Protect the mission of your great church.”

What do you take away from these top three responsibilities of a church board?

First, you now know, that above all else, your board’s number one responsibility is to pray, seek out and secure the ministry services of the exact person God has selected for your church.

And to state again, when you do this correctly, you’ll set the stage for the growth you and the Lord want for the church. Do it wrong and you’ll have the definition of Major Headache.

Second, your head has always told you of the need to pray. But now I hope you are abundantly clear that without prayer, your church is going nowhere fast. You need to pray for your pastor, the church and your fellow board members.

Fervent, intentional prayer has to be front and center in a very serious way. I don’t care how talented you, the board and the pastor are, you will come nowhere near what the Lord has in store for the church without prayer.

I heard one pastor say, “You can either pour yourself out in calling on God for his help and He will help you… or you can do it on your own and all bets are off.”

Truer words have not been spoken.

Finally, your third responsibility is to protect the mission of the church.

Let me give you this final thought for consideration…

If you pray, pray, pray and don’t protect this mission, things will go sideways.

And if you’re all about protecting the mission but don’t pray, then what do you expect?

Find that right pastor for your church, then pray and protect mission.

Do these three things, and you can sit back and watch God do amazing things with your church – His church. I pray with you to this end.

Along these lines, here are some other helpful blogs you might find of interest for the pastor and church board member:

Church Government: Democracy or Theocracy
Church Board Members: Disagreeing without Drawing Blood?
10 Steps to Navigating Change with Your Church Board
How to Set the Pastor’s Salary

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