T.J.Addington, High Impact Church Boards. Oakdale, MN: Sandbox Resources, 2007. 217 pages.
T.J.Addington is a Senior Vice-President with the Evangelical Free Church of America. For over fifteen years he has consulted with many churches and Christian, non-profit organizations, seeking to help them develop effective boards and improve related organizational issues. He writes in response to boards who are “looking for help to lead better and to ensure that their ministries are more effective” (1). He believes that in many cases church leadership has “allowed accidental rather than deeply intentional ministry to characterize our leadership….our structures have made leadership a chore rather than a joy” (1). From his experience he knows that many church leaders long to develop and experience “empowered leadership structures and cultures in their congregations” (2). He offers effective, biblically consistent tools that enable churches to “maximize ministry impact” (3).
Within his book he focuses upon three key issues that he believes are critical to enable church leadership to make an impact:
1. “health of church leaders and clarity in what God has called them to do;”
2. “a commitment to deeply intentional ministry on an annual basis….a simple, workable paradigm for moving your congregation intentionally in the direction to which God is calling you;”
3. friendly leadership structures “and an empowered church culture that allows leaders to lead and participants to minister” (3).
When these three areas are attended to well, Addington believes it generates “the High Impact Revolution” in church life. The book’s three sections consider healthy leaders (four chapters), intentional leaders (five chapters) and empowered leaders (four chapters).
An initial test (4-5) enables the reader to evaluate how well his or her church board may be functioning as a high impact leadership group.
All of this is driven by Addington’s belief that the primary business of an effective board is requiring identifiable “return on mission” (7). His book attempts to help boards function with specific focus on their church’s ROM.
Addington provides a very helpful resource that enables church board members to discern their role more clearly, embrace processes that enable the church to fulfill its mission, and, in short, to be effective as boards. If a board is looking for a book they can read and study together to enhance their ability to serve, then this deserves a serious look. Although I will engage several of Addington’s ideas and offer some alternative perspectives, I want to affirm that he offers a valued resource.