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Board or Bored?

BOARD OR BORED?

By: Jeffrey D. Wilson

A pastor asked me the other day what one question should be asked of a search committee to determine if the congregation has a
propensity toward evangelism. Since the question had never been asked of me just that way, I took some time to think about it.
Later in the week I called the pastor back with my response.

“Ask for a personality profile of the official board. Is the board excited about growth or bored with the idea, offering only lip
service to the notion of evangelism?” was my answer. Too often a search committee or a small group in a congregation reflects a
particular interest – in this case a commitment to church growth. But that same interest may not be reflected by the official
governing body. Then, the pastor has troubles. He/she goes into a situation expecting one thing and finds something else.
Conflicting interests usually do not breed a powerful evangelism effort.

How does someone evaluate a congregational board? What should be looked for? What should be worked on or avoided? All of these questions are important. I will try to answer them with my list of “seven and seven.”

Profile Of An Excited Church Board

1. Interested in long-term growth. They realize that growth is always essential to the life and health of the congregation. They
keep a focus on evangelism every year, not just during a numbers crisis.

2. Clear vision of tomorrow. They know where they want to go and plan strategies for how to get there.

3. Proactive. They look for the obstacles that they can turn into opportunities. Ready for what might be, they aren’t caught off
guard very often.

4. Willing to ask the tough questions and search out the answers. They know life isn’t easy, but they also know God does provide the guidance we need to fulfill our call to be God’s people.

5. Willing to take some risk. They recognize that everything carries a cost and that for every success there are at least five
failures, but they keep on trying.

6. Biblically informed and socially aware. They can handle the tension between our faith and our culture, because they have a
genuine knowledge of both.

7. Pushy… making it happen. They look for and demand results from the pastor as well as from the congregation. Accountability
and ownership are critical factors in their evaluation process.

Profile Of A Bored Board

1. Evangelism is just another program area. They do not focus on the relationship of evangelism to every other activity in the congregation. Evangelism moves on and off the priority list.

2. Content with today. They re-dream yesterday’s dreams and are happy with not doing less, rather than determined to do more. They talk more of their history than their future.

3. Reactive. They are too busy putting out fires they should have doused as a single flame or avoided altogether. They always seem
to be a step or two behind.

4. Passive. They deal only with the issue laid before them. Taking the initiative or dealing with the heavy issues is not their
style.

5. Fear of risking adversity. They avoid conflict at all costs. One of the first costs is usually growth. A fear of failure that produces lack of action often results in momentary stagnation followed by decline.

6. Action is based solely on what “feels good.” Without a genuine understanding of Scripture and a solid grasp of cultural/social
trends, they make uninformed decisions that often have to be re-made.

7. Complacent. They are satisfied with the status quo. They demand or expect little of the pastor, and therefore less become
acceptable.

(The above material appeared in the June 1992 issue of New Ideas in Evangelism and Church Vitality.)

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