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Posts Tagged ‘church board spiritual health’

Sometimes when I’m reading, I run across a comment that makes me stop and think long and hard.

That’s how I felt when I ran across this statement from Neil Anderson and Charles Mylander in their book Extreme Church Makeover:

“If I had to determine the spiritual health of a church on only one issue, I would find out if the governing board of the church consisted of people coming together to persuade each other of their own independent will or spiritually mature children of God coming together to collectively discern the will of God.”

In a nutshell, the authors are asking:

Are the members of the governing board first asking God about church direction, or are they first asking each other?

I’ve worked with boards that run the gamut on this question.  Here’s what I’ve noticed:

First, a spiritually mature board takes time to listen to God’s Word.

The church I pastored in the 90s did this at every meeting.  The chairman would choose a passage … some of them a bit on the long side … and he’d read it to us.  We’d discuss it afterward.

This simple act was a way of saying: “This board … and this church … are under the authority of the Word of God.  Before we do anything else … and before we talk among ourselves … we want to hear what God is saying to us.”

But I’ve also sat on boards where the Bible wasn’t read, or if it was, it was done hurriedly.  It’s like saying, “Let’s give God a nod but get right to the good stuff … our ideas.”

It seems to me that if a board is serious about Scripture, it will gravitate in the direction of fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission.

And its members will listen to what the Spirit is saying to their church.

Second, a spiritually mature board takes time to pray unhurriedly.

This may seem like a given, but I’ve sat in board meetings where we barely prayed at all.  I distinctly remember one meeting where neither the chairman nor anybody else prayed to open the meeting.

That meeting didn’t go well … and no wonder.  We didn’t invite God’s presence or direction into our time.

But I’ve been in many meetings where all the board members prayed before starting the meeting … everybody prayed at the conclusion of the meeting … and we’d stop and pray anytime we got stuck on an issue.

I’ve heard excuses for not doing this like “we can pray as individuals at home” or “we have such a packed agenda that we need to start immediately.”

But if the board is truly composed of a church’s most spiritual people, wouldn’t they want to ask God for His intervention in church life?

Didn’t Jesus tell His disciples, “Apart from me, you can do nothing?”

And that’s what happens when a board doesn’t take time to pray: nothing.

Third, a spiritually mature board values transparency concerning each person’s spiritual progress.

This can be done in conjunction with Scripture reading and prayer, but it’s essential … because only a board that’s growing spiritually can lead a church that’s growing spiritually and numerically.

As the Book of Malachi clearly specifies, as the leaders go, so go God’s people.

It seems to me there are three levels of sharing that go on between spiritual leaders:

Level One: how I’m doing at work

Level Two: how I’m doing with my family

Level Three: how I’m doing emotionally, morally, and spiritually

Most boards feel free to discuss Level One, especially if board members attend their meeting right after work.

Some board members will discuss certain family issues … especially the need for healing if a family member is physically ill.

But few if any board members will discuss their spiritual, moral, or emotional lives with each other … and yet Level Three represents the greatest opportunity for spiritual growth.

I once worked with a board where we had monthly meetings to discuss church issues … and weekly meetings to discuss our own spiritual growth.  The longer we met together, the more transparent we became with each other … and the more bonded we ended up becoming.

So when we came to do “board business,” decisions came quickly because we knew each other so well.

Finally, a spiritually mature board sets aside personal agendas and seeks God’s agenda for their church.

I once worked with a board member who had a dream: he wanted to see a worship center on the front lawn of our church’s property.

Our church at the time didn’t have a proper worship center, having met in a fellowship hall and a small gymnasium in the past.

This man was so influential that several of the buildings were named after members of his family!

But as God got ahold of his heart, he gave up his dream and chose to follow the Lord’s dream for that church instead.

And to do that, he pledged to follow the leadership of his pastor.

A prominent pastor once told me that several members of his governing board would meet in a restaurant before the official board meeting … and that was the real meeting.

Then they came to the official meeting and imposed their wills on everybody else.

That’s the exact opposite of what Anderson and Mylander are saying.

They believe that if board members say, “Our will be done,” that church is headed for disaster.

But if board members say, “Your will be done, Lord,” that church has a far greater chance to succeed.

In your church, do you think your board members are saying:

“Our will be done?”

or

“Lord, your will be done?”

Why don’t you take the time to find out?

Because the answer to those questions may well determine your church’s future … as well as your own spiritual growth.

Check out our website at www.restoringkingdombuilders.org  You’ll find Jim’s story, recommended resources on conflict, and a forum where you can ask questions about conflict situations in your church.

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