Getting Past the Clearing House

The third layer of approval process for weary proposals and leaders

You have been asked to put together a team to launch a new ministry. The idea has been on the agenda for some time and there is even money set aside in the budget for this new initiative.  Everyone you talk to about the idea is  enthusiastic and wants to be part of the project.  As the time to launch approaches you get a call from the board chair suggesting that you postpone the launch until the Board has had a chance to review and approve this new

[bq_left]When boards take the position that they have to be the clearing house for everything the church does, they in fact become the bottle neck to growth.[/bq_left]

“Hold on a minute”, you respond, “It was at the boards suggestion we began this process, and besides they approved the money needed in the budget.  The next Board meeting isn’t for another month what am I going to tell the volunteers who are ready to go now?”

If you have been in ministry any length of time it’s likely you have had this kind of experience – everything is ready to go, but your hands are tied because the board has to have final approval.

When boards take the position that they have to be the clearing house for everything the church does, they in fact become the bottle neck to growth. This need for final approval is driven by fear. Fear that if allowed to run unshackled, the pastor and/or lay leaders will create mayhem in the church. This approach, at best, reveals a lack of understanding of the role of governance, and at its worst becomes a road block to the physical and spiritual growth of a church.

Best Practice Governance, on the other hand, understands that the key to a healthy church lies in establishing parameters for ministry through policy and then inviting leaders to flex their creative muscles so to speak, unhindered by an arduous approval process.

In this model,  the board’s role becomes one of overseeing, ensuring the ministry continues to run on the rails of policy and vision, and not the gate keeper for every new initiative in the church. When the board operates in this fashion leaders are empowered, and empowered leaders make for a healthy church.

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1 Comment

  1. I really enjoyed the blog this week Dave. That used to happen to me more often than I’d like to remember when I worked too. The difference was, I didn’t have free volunteers, they were highly paid employees and consultants. I sometimes just used to go ahead without approval. Why? It was sometimes easier to ask for forgiveness after the fact than get approval for the second and third time up front.


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