Church boards (and other boards) often forget what good governance looks like. Not because they don't care but because in the press of ministry life they forget.
A simple way to evaluate your board work is to have everyone on the board assign a number from 1 to 10 for each of the statements below. Ten signifies we do this well and consistently and one signifies we do it poorly or inconsistently. Average out the scores for each statement and have a board conversation around it.
1. We have an outward vision rather than internal preoccupation
Churches with an outward vision do so because their boards are more occupied with thinking how to impact the community and world rather than spending the majority of their time discussing what happens inside the church.
2. We encourage a diversity of viewpoints
Healthy boards do not do "group think" but encourage each member to think for themselves, share their thoughts and through the diversity of viewpoints come to better decisions.
3. We do strategic leadership more than administrative details
Boards are not designed to spend their time on administrative details that others can do. They are designed to provide strategic leadership to the organization and grapple with the BIG rocks.
4. We have a clear distinction between the board and lead pastor roles
A lack of clarity between the responsibilities of a church board and that of a lead pastor creates either confusion or conflict. Clear distinctions between board and lead pastor roles fosters healthy relationships between the two and smoother leadership.
5. We make collective rather than individual decisions
Healthy boards make collective rather than individual decisions. They also have an understanding that once the decision is made each member will be supportive of the decision. No individual can force their will on the board or choose not to support its decisions.
6. We are more future focused than we are present or past focused
The best boards have a clear focus on the future rather than on the past or present. While they may need to deal with current crisis or some administrative details, their primary focus is on the future and how they can help the organization to meet the needs of the future.
7. We are committed to being proactive in our leadership rather than reactive
The vast majority of church boards live in the reactive world - dealing with crisis or day to day issues. The best boards are proactive in their leadership by setting appropriate policy and thinking about the future rather than doing reactive leadership that is focused on the present and second guessing the decisions of others.
Church board self assessment. 15 Questions