Questions about church boards you would like explored.

This is a discussion forum to address questions, issues, challenges you would like explored on this web site.  Enter your question in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

6 Responses to Questions about church boards you would like explored.

  1. Missy Graman says:

    Can a Board member apply for a paid position within the church? I am concerned that the staff, especially the lead pastor, could be put in an awkward position. I suppose the elder to could resign or take a leave of absence from the board will the “application” is pending. The board member would not want the lead pastor to feel pressure in anyway. But if the board member is turned down from the job, I don’t think they would want the other elders to know they even applied let along got turned down. But maybe that is the inevitable “price” to be paid.

    • Thanks, Missy, for your question.
      I would suggest there are several elements related to your question and so there will be multiple responses.
      1.I would suggest that any church member, regardless of current role, should be encouraged to apply for a staff position. This should not be regarded as a prejudicial action, but rather an exploration of God’s direction.
      2. Transparency normally is a good approach to take. This assumes that trust exists and that others will be acting with integrity as well.
      3. Unless your church has a policy that requires board members to resign if they apply for a staff position, then there is no obligation for you to do so, despite what some might feel or say.
      4. If the decision of the lead pastor is not to hire you for the position, then I would presume he/she would give you good reasons for the decision. This would require grace on your part to receive and an openness to understand this as God’s direction at this time. Again in my view such a decision should not prejudice your relationship with the lead pastor or with members of the board.

      However, I do not know your situation or the nature of the relationships. So you will need to take these comments and apply them wisely in your situation.
      Larry Perkins

  2. George Hege says:

    I am doing some research on Nonprofit Board Assessment tools that would be useful for local churches. This search led me to your site and I purchased your book primarily to review the sample assessment forms. Are you familiar with the Organizational Capacity Assessment Tool developed by The Marguerite Casey Foundation? The tool is available at no cost at The format of this tool seems useful for local churches. It is self scoring, provides a visual summary, and encourages choosing 4 areas to focus on in the future. The matrix grid, though time consuming to read, could be a good teaching experience. Do you know if anyone has developed a version of this tool specifically directed at local churches? If not, what do you think of the idea? I am presently a Phd student at Capital Seminary and Graduate School and also serve as the founding pastor of Muhlenberg Area Community Church.

  3. Derek says:

    I have read this blog for over a year since becoming chair at our church. THANKS SO MUCH! We just elected a new chair-in-waiting and I recommended to him. Please keep it rolling!!

    – Role of board (in governance model) of setting staff compensation in the mid-size church (5 pastors). Seems conflict-of-interest to entrust staff comp to SP.
    – Role of board (in governance model) of additional pastoral hires. Since these are the MOST important investment in the church. How can board ensure great hires while also supporting SP in his role.
    – Top 10 articles for new chairs.
    – I’d love your take on Effective Staffing in Vital Churches and how it relates to governance model.
    – Succession planning (SP) for boards.

  4. Loren says:

    From the perspective of a church board chairman, here is a question I would like explored: “Is is possible for today’s ‘church board’ and ‘multi-pastoral staff’ structures to line up with the New Testament description and example of leadership by elders in the local church?”
    The various New Testament passages that address or describe elders or that describe the qualifications of elders and overseers seem to point to the same group of men – referred to most commonly as elders. Whether one reads Paul’s or Peter’s or James’ letters or Luke’s description of the early Church there seems to be a common understanding that under the Headship of Christ the local church is led, fed, taught, served and “directed” by a body of elders. In today’s world where churches become government approved societies with boards and directors reporting back to the government and where boards are required to be distinct from “pastoral” staff, is there any way for local churches to establish a model of ‘governance’ that more closely resembles what we see in the New Testament?

    • Thank you for your question, Loren. The issue raised is complex, but I would offer the following perspectives:

      1. It is possible to consider the “church board” a ministry team comprising spiritually mature people, i.e. elders, whose primary responsibility is to ensure that the church’s mission is being accomplished. To the extent that this mission is carried forward by leading, feeding, teaching, serving and directing, this continues to be the primary work of the elders/board. The board cannot divest itself of this fundamental responsibility.
      2. One might ask how a church board leads, feeds, teaches, etc. the congregation through its work as a board? By the decisions it takes for the advance of the mission and the care of the congregation, the board leads. In communicating its reasons for making such decisions to the congregation, the board teaches. When the board develops a policy that guides some aspect of the spiritual life of the congregation, it must present that to the congregation and explain what it means and why it is important. This is a teaching function. As the board ensures good policies, good leadership, good facilities, sufficient resources, and ongoing accountability, it serves the congregation and honours the trust given to it.
      3. Usually several of the pastoral staff also serve as part of the elders/church board. Senior and associate pastors often fill this role. If they respect the spiritual leadership the board is mandated to provide for the church, then these teaching elders will be seeking the guidance of the elders group as to what should be preached and how the spiritual health of the church might be nurtured through this teaching ministry. They should be seen as teaching on behalf of the elders, not as singular, autonomous agents.
      4. It is entirely appropriate for an elder to exercise leadership responsibility in the church as part of an elder’s spiritual oversight. However, in doing so I think it is important for that elder to view that ministry as accountable to the lead pastor, not the elders group directly. I am sure most pastors would be delighted if an elder volunteered to help in visitation, in discipleship, in mentoring emerging leaders.
      5. Carrying forward the vision of the church is a significant responsibility that the elders/board must engage. It requires this group to be thinking “forward” and actively considering how the church will address emerging challenges and increase its kingdom impact. As it engages such discussions, the board is doing spiritual work, keeping the church oriented to the Great Commission.
      6. Practically speaking the elders will find an annual retreat a rewarding opportunity to involve themselves deeply in the spiritual oversight of the congregation.

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