Do you or your members find being on church board a boring experience? Or perhaps, as a leader, you have found church board to be a bottleneck of bureaucracy?
If the pastor, or any one leader, is leading a church board and is (by design or default) the primary decision-maker and evaluator of all the ministries of the church, then the church becomes too pastor-dependent. In other cases, perhaps without strong central leadership, some churches develop many ministries that fragment the limited time and resources of too few members. Just because the church manual has a “slot” for a certain ministry, does not mean every church everywhere HAS to do that ministry. Church members become busy, but the overall mission of the church is not coordinated. My philosophy is that I would rather do less, but do it very well.
Since I entered ministry, I have found the week to week and month to month challenges of administration and leadership to be an on-the-job learning experience! And while praying for the Holy Spirit, living true to Christ’s example, and even preaching powerful, Biblical sermons is vital, it is not enough to sustain the growth of the Kingdom of God in our churches. Take for example Jesus’ comment about wine and wineskins. New wine requires new wineskins. Fresh spirituality and empowerment needs functional and effective church structures to keep alive.
One of my churches is currently brainstorming a new way to organize itself for more fruitfulness. We have simply defined our mission around three core priorities: love God (worship), love each other (fellowship), and serve our community (outreach). We want everything we do to be held to at least one of these core purposes. And furthermore, being a smaller church with busy families, we realize there is only energy and talent to do one or two major things in each of these areas.
Our idea is to form three ministry leadership teams around each of these three areas. We will shorten our board meeting time, and then allow each of these ministry leadership teams to meet simultaneously. We did not want to have three different teams meeting at all different times, because then communication, consistency, and burnout (for church-workaholics) will become a problem. This way, instead of one board under one person’s leadership trying to do everything, we make room for people to discover a specific area of passion and work together on a team for that area. There are no extra layers of administration required, just a different structure that decentralizes ministry planning and evaluation. As pastor, I work closely with the leaders and co-leaders of each ministry leadership team, but even I can’t be on all of them!
We hope this strategy will unleash the team-work model of local church leadership that the early church experienced (Ephesians 4). What do you think?