Posts Tagged ‘church board’

Once upon a time, when I was a pastor, I enjoyed board meetings.

Sometimes we ate a meal together before the meeting officially began.

Sometimes we read from Scripture and spent time praying for each other.

Sometimes we talked into the night … even past midnight on occasion.

For the most part, those were good times.

I needed those leaders.  I needed their encouragement … perspective … counsel … and prayers.

In my last article, I discussed what pastors need from church boards … but what do boards need from their pastors?

Governing boards need their pastor to be a godly man … a competent leader they can follow … and an example of righteous living.

But more than anything, a church board needs a pastor who is authentic:

*about his walk with God.

*about staff problems.

*about future plans and challenges.

*about his personal and family life.

*about issues relevant to the ministry overall.

Many years ago, when I was a youth pastor, I rode with a group of men to a mountain retreat.  One man asked me, “How is the youth group going?”  He seemed genuinely interested.

When I shared some concerns I had – especially about needing more adult leaders – he said, “Jim, that’s the first I’ve heard about some of your needs.  We can’t help you if you don’t tell us.”

I never forgot that conversation.

I knew what was going on … the students knew … their parents sort of knew … but the rest of the church – including board members – didn’t know because I hadn’t told them.

My silence wasn’t intentional … I just didn’t want to bother anybody.

So when I became a pastor, I started bringing a written report of my activities and plans to every board meeting.  If I wanted the board’s support and protection, they had to know what was happening in my life and ministry.  If my report was only verbal, some might forget by the time they got home.  But since my report was in writing, they had a document they could refer to whenever they needed it.

The board also needed to know how I was doing personally – including my physical and emotional well-being – because my personal life affected me vocationally.

But this was always tricky for me.

Early in my pastoral career, I told the board one night about all the stress I was feeling personally and professionally.

Nobody said anything.  They just stared at me.  I could read their minds: “We’re stressed, too.  So?”

So I began to pull back and reveal less of myself during board meetings.  I learned – rightly or wrongly – that for some board members, you’re their pastor, not necessarily their friend.

But if a pastor can’t share his personal concerns with the board, he needs to share them with some group in the church … or funny things might happen.

I once heard about a pastor who told his board that he was having marital troubles … after which the pastor went silent for months.

A while later, the pastor showed up with a new wife.

He was summarily removed from his position.

I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that says, “The pastor should tell the board as little as possible.”  If they’re going to work well together, the pastor should tell the board as much as they want to know.

There’s another word for that: accountability.

What do you think church board members want most from their pastor?

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