Serving on a Church Board
Biblically speaking, not everyone is qualified to serve on a church board. The Biblical books of Acts and I Timothy lay out the necessary qualifications for service. Maintaining the Christian lifestyle required by the Scriptures is becoming increasingly difficult in light of an increasingly unchurched culture. However, the power of Jesus is more than enough to enable the Christian's personal discipline.
The responsibilities of a church board member may differ from church to church, but there are many points in common. Board members are advisors to the pastor, giving counsel in both Spiritual and mundane matters. Board members examine applications for membership and assist in administering church discipline. Many pastors assign specific areas of responsibility to each board member. Board members are usually expected to serve as the nominating committee for the selection of a pastor.
Board members are also legally involved in the business side of church operations. Accurate minutes must reflect board decisions, and board members may be required to sign legal documents and assist with acquiring and selling property.
My time as a church board member, 1 1/2 years, included a major construction/insurance matter, a pastoral change, and a minor discipline issue.
The construction project involved a retaining wall that held up our lower parking lot. A severe rain event caused the wall to wash out, dumping water and dirt into a neighbor's yard. The insurance company took over a year to evaluate the damage and issue a payout. In the meantime, the board had to strive to maintain a good relationship with our church neighbor. I'm pleased to say that the board acted with grace when dealing with both the insurance company and our neighbor.
About 8 months into my service, our pastor announced to us, in a meeting, that he had been searching for a new church and was relocating within two months. In hindsight, we would have liked to hear about his plans a month or two earlier, giving us more time to prepare for the change. Anyway, we immediately contacted our district office. Our district superintendent came and gave us all the information and direction we could have wanted. We were five months without a pastor. During that time the church operations were completely up to the board. We also had meetings almost every week to keep ourselves on track and evaluate resumes. During our pastoral vacancy, about a third of our church body left. Many people are uncomfortable without a pastor, even for a few months. We were advised that the attrition rate we saw was typical of a pastoral change. God eventually brought us the man the church needed.
The minor discipline issue occurred during our pastoral vacancy. A member of our music ministry team was thinking of leaving the church, which he eventually did. During his internal struggle he lashed out, in the form of a letter, at our worship leader. She was understandably hurt and confused. She properly brought the issue to the board's attention. We wrote a letter of response to him, then met with him and resolved the situation. He personally apologized, and within a few weeks had left us. It was an ugly and unnecessary incident.
With all of that, and other issues along the way, my time of service was rewarding and instructive. I learned valuable lessons of leadership and conflict management. Prasie God that he was with us through it all.