You have just been elected to the board of your church and the question is, “What does that mean?” My guess is, if your church is like most churches, there is little by way of preparation provided for new board members. What there is a lot of is confusion around what exactly is expected of you. And because of this confusion, I can almost guarantee that you will be approached by a number of congregants with requests to get the board to do everything from buying new towel dispensers, to making sure the worship team sings more hymns, to disciplining the pastor for something he said from the pulpit.
So how does a board bring clarity to this minefield of expectations? It starts with a few simple principles:
- Remember whatever the organization, as a board, you are first and foremost about mission.
- A board that does not own the mission/purpose of the enterprise is missing the key element of governance.
- Always have S.M.A.R.T ENDS in mind and move most of the MEANS to leadership and expect them to tend those (within empowering limits you set). Defining the ENDS is the most critical board function.
- Establish the key result areas and monitor outcomes.
Inattention to results is the primary cause of organizational failure, which is ultimately the board’s responsibility.