What to Expect When Elected to a Church Board
I have sat on several different church boards, and each time, I was shocked by the things I experienced. Not that I discovered any mischief or improprieties, but to see the business side of the church is akin to exposing the man behind the curtain.
So to help others prepare, I have written a list of six things you may expect if elected to a church board.
Be prepared to see the church at its weakest.
The average-sized protestant church in the US is somewhere around 70 people, and it is not always easy to support a building, utilities and staff in that size church. What you may find is that church finances just don't stretch very far. Many churches have to “rob Peter to pay Paul.” You may be dismayed when you learn that nearly the entire job of the church boards is to worry about money or the lack thereof.
Be prepared for politics.
When serving on a church board, you can expect to see members of the board at their worst. Some folks sit on church boards forever, and, as a result, they develop a sense of ownership of the church. Because of this, new board members with new ideas are often shot down and their ideas never stand a chance of approval.
Board members who have served many terms win easy approval for their proposals, sometime even when the ideas are not worthy. The best way to implement new ideas is to first get one of the senior members on your side.
Yes, it is all political.
Be prepared for bickering and hurt feelings.
I wish I could say this is rare, but I have seen board members who I had previously considered loving and kind act petty and childish in board meeting. I have seen board members ready to terminate our pastor's services on Monday night, yet act like nothing is wrong on Wednesday night.
I hope your church is different than some I have seen in the past, but you have been forewarned.
Be prepared to be accountable.
Church boards members are expected to tithe a full 10%. You are expected to be generous with your giving and with your time. You should be at every service of possible. You will be held to a higher standard.
Be prepared for the cold-hearted.
That may seem extreme but I have seen churches with ample funds turn their back to individuals or charities who seem very deserving. To me it sometimes seemed cold-hearted. To them, they were simply actions as good stewards.
Be prepared to pray.
There are two ways to make it through your term on a church board: be prayed up and continue to spend much time in prayer, or become cold and cynical. I prefer the former.
Everyone's experience serving on a church board is unique. We know all churches are different, but we want you to be prepared for the worst. Next week, a differing viewpoint of church board membership.