Yes, it’s time! For too long church board chairs have laboured without much help or many resources. Struggling valiantly chairs work diligently, but often feel overwhelmed by complexity, adversarial relationships, uncertain expectations, and the lack of a road map. Yet, you do this work because you believe in the mission of Christ’s church.
Recent developments in non-profit governance continue to influence how church board’s understand their role, particularly within larger church settings. Whether it is the Carver “Policy Governance” model, or another paradigm, the chair’s role also is being re-conceived and re-positioned within church leadership structures. In this website I seek to provide a forum for introducing, evaluating, and biblically situating such developments and also providing some resources so that you as a church board chair can find your bearings in all of these matters.
I have initiated this website to provide a forum where church board chairs can ask questions, share experiences and ideas, and locate helpful resources. Personally I serve as a church board chair and also as a seminary president interact daily with board issues. Together with other colleagues I developed a series of workshops called “Best Practices for Church Boards” in which more than 60 church boards have participated.
The role of a church board chair has considerable potential to develop a healthy church and support its good operation. In many cases fine people are appointed to this role, but have little formal or informal preparation to fulfill the responsibilities well. In a recent, unofficial survey I did among church board chairs, half of them indicated that they had no description of their responsibilities! In most cases the focus was on chairing a meeting, drafting an agenda, and making sure the minutes were in good order. But if the role of a church board is to ensure that a church’s mission is being fulfilled, then the chair’s role carries much more responsibility. It is a spiritual leadership role that wields significance influence for good or ill.
Many churches have two aspects to their organization. They are spiritual communities, seeking to nurture the spiritual formation of their people and share their faith in positive ways within their neighbourhoods. But as well, many churches are constituted as non-profit charitable agencies. Both of these realities entail certain significant responsibilities which, if ignored, threaten the very existence of that church.
So I have decided it is time for church board chairs to have a place to help one another excel as they fulfill this part of their calling in Christ. I invite you to ask your questions, share your wisdom, suggest resources. This is your place to define good chairmanship for the church. From time to time I will post a blog, add a resource, and throw out a question or case that invites your participation.
Let me know what issues you as church board chair might be wrestling with. Perhaps someone will have a good solution.
Larry Perkins, Ph.D.