Posts Tagged ‘church board meetings’

My wife and I currently run a preschool in our home.  She deals directly with the kids, while I manage the finances and keep the place clean, among other duties.

Whenever I have to sweep the kitchen floor again, or vacuum the carpets, or do umpteen loads of laundry, I tell my wife, “I’d rather be doing this than attending another board meeting.”

And we both nod our heads and laugh.

When you’re a pastor, it’s usually required that you attend regular meetings of the church’s governing board … whatever they’re called.

But since board meetings are more about institutional maintenance than personal ministry, and since they can involve difficult and even painful decisions, and since such meetings can lead to arguments and politicking, the longer a pastor’s tenure in a particular church, the less interesting … or essential … board meetings can seem.

And if several board members begin to attack the pastor in those meetings … especially if those attacks are undeserved … attending those meetings can become unbearable.

As I recounted in my book Church Coup, the last board meeting I attended as a veteran pastor happened more than six years ago.

That final meeting was so traumatic that I relived it on a daily basis for many months … and began my book Church Coup by recounting it in detail.

There are many things that I’d rather do than attend another church board meeting.  Here’s a sample:

*I would rather listen to Oprah babble on about her weight loss for a couple of hours.

*I would rather read the latest edition of Tax Instructions from the IRS.

*I would rather endure a root canal … even though the last one I had done required four hours of work over two days.

*I would rather attend a Celine Dion concert.  (I was once offered two free tickets to one of her shows, and I instinctively declined.)

*I would rather watch 50 commercials starring Flo from a certain nameless insurance company … one after the other.

*I would rather listen to Joel Osteen preach for more than a minute … and that’s stretching it.

*I would rather reassemble a document that I had run through the shredder.

*I would rather watch 7 reruns of the old Full House TV show … a show my kids used to watch … even though I never laughed even once.

*I would rather root for the Seattle Seahawks for an entire game … and for me, that would be pure torture.

*I would rather wait in a two hour security line at the airport.

*I would rather spend a day trading insults with the Dowager Countess of Grantham from Downton Abbey.

*I would rather spend an hour chasing our two chickens around the back yard.

*I would rather drive to Los Angeles (a distance of 100 miles) during rush hour.

*I would rather wear a suit and tie … something I last did when my son got married four-and-a-half years ago.

*I would rather endure two straight weeks of 100-degree+ temperatures.  (But please, God, don’t take that statement too seriously.)

*I would rather go camping … and I haven’t been since I was a youth pastor.

*I would rather stay in a Motel 6 with its paper-thin walls.

*I would rather drive through Oklahoma … easily the most boring of all the states on a cross-country road trip.

*I would rather use a Blackberry again.

Why do I feel this way?

Several weeks before my final board meeting years ago, my wife and I took a mission trip to Moldova, in Eastern Europe.  I led seminars two straight days for pastors on church conflict.  After that, we spent time in Wales, the Lake District, and Scotland.

We took a lot of great photos on our trip, but they’re hard to look at sometimes, because while we were overseas, the church board was plotting against me.

So not only was my last two-hour meeting with the board excruciating, but that meeting tainted all that came before it and afterward.

I once heard a prominent pastor describe the meetings of his elders.  They met in a home … they ate dinner together … they shared their lives … they prayed for each other … the pastor shared a report … and then he was permitted to go home while the rest of the board conducted business.

That pastor’s board was so loyal to him and so competent that he could trust them to make good decisions even when he wasn’t present.

I once heard a megachurch pastor tell about a time when he met with the church board.  After a brief time, he got up to leave.  One of the board members asked him, “Where are you going?”  The pastor replied, “I am going to take my daughter roller skating.”  The pastor was asked, “Isn’t this more important?”  The pastor replied, “Nothing is more important than taking my daughter roller skating.”  And he left.

For some reason, I could never do that.  I felt that I had to attend every board meeting … from beginning to end … not just because I felt the board needed my input, but because I wanted them to see me working and making decisions about the ministry.

And when I finally missed some meetings … because I was overseas … what did they do?

I’ve got to go.  I have to put down mats for the kids so they can take naps.  I also put sheets on their mats and oversee the kids for an hour while my wife takes a break.

I’d still rather do that than attend a board meeting anytime in the future.

Thank you, Lord, for knowing when and how to deliver your servants.











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