Boards, whether church boards or ministry boards are like any other team that constantly needs to be growing, learning and evaluating its own effectiveness. Too often, we think that because we were put on a board that we have arrived and are among the learned. The truth is that most church and ministry boards are deeply in need of learning better practices and raising the bar on what they do.
But few boards in my experience have an ongoing commitment to growth or a plan for development. I also find board members who are resistant to growth. They are, after all, board members. Ironically, learning boards get more done, get better work done and help the ministries they oversee go to new levels because they themselves have taken a humble learning posture rather than a proud oversight posture.
What are some of the areas that boards need development in?
· Group process
· Decision making
· Conflict resolution
· Understanding differences in gifting and therefore perspective
· Efficient meetings
· Helping the organization get to clarity
· Developing new board members
· Ministry evaluation
· Understanding what is board work and what is not
· Role definition between staff and boards
· What a good board member looks like
· How to evaluate itself
Here are some suggestions for board development. Read several books a year together and set aside some time at one monthly board meeting to dialogue about what you read. Pay attention to blogs on boards such as you will find on this site and others. Periodically bring in someone who knows boards and can do some board training. Pay attention to ministries that resource boards. The bottom line is to be intentional about growing and learning as a board so that you continue to help your ministry develop. Humble, learning boards are the best boards.
Developing as a board is not ancillary work but a primary role of all healthy boards.