Church Board Meetings – Ministry Models

colorful 3D men standing together in circleJoin us Wednesday May 3, 2017 at 1pm Central Time as we discuss Church Board Meetings on our Ministry Models Teleconference. Call 515-604-9000; Access Code 540330.

What if your Church Board Meeting was your favorite meeting each month? What if you could hardly wait till the leaders of your local church gathered to share what God has been doing the last month and to pray and plan together for the next month?

The Book of Acts describes the gatherings of the early church leaders in these way:

  • “they were all with one accord in one place” Acts 2:1.
  • “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” Acts 2:4.
  • with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people” Acts 2:46-47.
  • “they went to their own companions and reported all” Acts 4:23.
  • “they raised their voice to God with one accord” Acts 4:24.
  • “grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” Acts 4:29.
  • “when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31.
  • “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” Acts 5:41.

How can our Church Board Meetings better reflect the leadership gatherings in the early church? Here are 3 Ministry Models that can move us in that direction. They are effective for church school, organizational and institutional meetings as well. Remember that a good MODEL can Make Our Difficulties Easy & Light.

  1. Love and pray for each Church Board member and their family. Pray for some specific blessing for each one in the days leading up to the meeting. If board members are not succeeding in their personal walk with Jesus, their relationships including family, and the ministry and mission Jesus has called them to, then you will have a hard time accomplishing the great commission where God has placed you. But if you are praying for their success and victories in these areas you will see breakthroughs in their lives and the lives they influence.
  2. Simplify the agenda. My first church board meetings as a young pastor I had no clue what to expect or how to lead. In the years since I have simplified the church board agenda in advance to include five sections.
    • Vision, Bible Study & prayer. This section sets the tone for the entire meeting. We usually do one of the following during this time.
      • Short Devotional reminding us of our mission, message, etc. This can be given by any of the church leaders.
      • Bible Study. Read a chapter around the circle with each person reading a verse then share verses that spoke to our hearts.
      • Prayer time. Short prayers by several people.
      • Watch and apply a Transforming Your Church video clip.
    • Huddles. Through the years I encouraged my Elders to mentor other Church Board Members but it rarely happened until I added a 15-minute agenda item to the Church Board called “Huddles.” During this time all board members get into their designated huddle with their Elder/mentor. In these groups of 3-7 leaders they share with each other what is going well in their life and ministry, how they have seen God at work during the past month, what challenges they face and how they are trying to address those. The huddle is a place of fun, fellowship, collective help, encouragement and prayer. It is a place where basic discipleship and small group life is modeled for the rest of the church family.
    • Reports. After huddles the Church Board goes back to the larger circle. Now it is time for reports. This can be one of the most exciting times of the meeting.
      • Soul Winning Report (5-7 minutes) – Stories and stats about what the Lord has done to move His work forward in the areas of new baptisms, new groups started, new churches being planted.
      • Ministry Reports (2 minutes each) – By any who have something fresh to add. Once again the emphasis is on short stories (or stats) or new groups that have started that are being mentored by a Church Board Member.
      • Clerks Report (5-7 minutes) includes the following plus vote…
        • Minutes of previous meeting. (Usually sent to Church Board Members a week in a advance along with notice of the meeting).
        • Church Calendar. We quickly review the calendar for the next two months. We use a Google Calendar that is online.
        • Membership Changes if any (Baptisms, Professions of Faith, Transfers, Deaths, Dropped membership). Anything voted in this area goes as a recommendation to a Church Business Meeting.
      • Treasurers Report (5-7 minutes). We briefly review if financial stewardship is strong enough to support our ministry and mission expenses or if we need to adjust something. Note – If finances dominate your Church Board conversations read and apply the principles in these articles on Shifting Your Focus to Increase Tithe and Offerings and “Our Church is Financially Broke.”
    • Recommendations. 
      • This is a time when church leaders can make specific recommendations for their area of ministry that impact the larger church. The Head Deacon might make a recommendation that relates to the building. The Sabbath School Superintendent might make a recommendation for new Sabbath School teachers or assistants. A board member might make a recommendation for a major purchase from the area of the budget they oversee. Any board member might make a recommendation that a study group be set up to strengthen the hospitality ministry of the church. No recommendation should take longer than 3-5 minutes. After brief discussion a vote can be taken or the item can be referred to the next Church Board meeting if there is a need for prayer and reflection before voting.
      • This section of the Church Board meeting (Recommendations) is where some churches derail. There may be a few Church Board members that think the board meeting is a place to bring problems and dump them on the group. This results in long discussions, frustration and few answers. What’s the solution? If anyone brings a problem to the Church Board they should be asked immediately “What’s your recommendation?” If they don’t have one then move on immediately to the next recommendation. The person presenting the problem can bring a recommendation to the next Church Board meeting if it is something important.
      • Insisting on recommendations that can be voted up or down or easily modified and voted moves the church toward solutions and celebrations and away from problems and frustrations.
    • Circle prayer & Grug. At the end of each meeting we all stand and join hands in a circle. Then we each pray a 1-2 sentence prayer around the circle. After that we takes 2 steps forward, forming a tighter circle, we put our arms around the person on each side of us and on the count of three we all hug the entire circle of people and say “Grug” (short for group hug) and then “When you have the Lord and you have each other, what else do you need!” We end united in Christ, joyful and happy that the Lord has led us one more month!
  3.  Add tools to your leadership tool box. No leader is perfect, but if you have more tools in your leadership tool box the Holy Spirit can guide you to use the right one at the right time. Here are some tools that can help.
    • Secret ballot for very sensitive issues or if there is a bully on the board.
    • Straw poll (non-binding) to see if your Church Board team is clearly leaning one way or the other, and if so, then you don’t need more discussion on a topic.
    • Prayer break for wisdom on decisions, recommendations.
    • Church Business Meeting. Every third Church Board meeting (once a quarter) we designated as a Church Business Meeting where every member is notified and encouraged to attend.  At this meeting we would handle any major issues that needed church-wide attention.
    • New Church Year Orientation. At the beginning of the church year we would have a New Church Year Orientation for Church Board members and Group Leaders (Sabbath School, Ministry, Bible Study, Homes of Hope, other groups) to hear each others testimonies and share vision together. This provided spiritual bonding of leaders for the new year.
    • Set Blocks of Time on the Church Board for major items such as Setting Goals, Building Teams/Huddles, Scheduling the Calendar, Agreeing on the budget, etc.

The Lord can help us have beautiful, inspiring, unifying Church Board Meetings that help us move forward rapidly with His work in these last days.

Related topics:

  1. Nominating Committee
  2. Planning Your Church Calendar
  3. Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual (2015 edition, see “Church Board and Its Meetings” p. 128-132)

Inspired Insights on Church Board Meetings from Pastoral Ministry Chapter 44.

  1. Ministers should avoid long committee meetings—A minister cannot keep in the best spiritual frame of mind while he is called upon to settle little difficulties in the various churches. This is not his appointed work. God desires to use every faculty of His chosen messengers. Their mind should not be wearied by long committee meetings at night; for God wants all their brain power to be used in proclaiming the gospel as it is in Christ Jesus.—Evangelism, 662. {PaM 251.1}
  2. Those who do not attend committee meetings tend to be critical later of how things are done—They say, “Oh, it is only a business meeting.” But all who have the mental capacity ought to be anxious and determined to understand how the business matters are managed. Some who have given up the faith have made very false statements in relation to the workings of the cause and the management of its business. Had these attended the business meetings, and listened attentively to the proceedings, they would have understood how the work was conducted in all its branches, and could have borne testimony to the strict integrity that characterizes every department. The enemy could not then have urged in the insinuation that there were things kept back that the people were not permitted to know. Those who take no interest in the business meetings, generally have no real interest in the cause of God, and these are the ones who are tempted to believe that the management of our various enterprises is not just what it should be.—The Review and Herald, April 29, 1884. {PaM 251.2}
  3. The same persons should not serve for years on the same boards and committees—Piety is needed. Less self-confidence and far more humility must be seen. The work of God has come to be looked upon as a common thing. It would have been much better to have changed the men on boards and committees than to have retained the very same men for years, until they supposed that their propositions were to be adopted without a question; and generally no voice has been lifted in an opposite direction.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 417. {PaM 251.3}
  4. Committees should not be made up of those who have no spirit of self denial—When our brethren keep on the board, men whose hearts are as hard as stone, men who have not hearts of flesh, what can you expect? How can these men know what those sacrificed in the building up of the work. They have no spirit of sacrifice themselves, and how can they understand the experience of those who dressed cheaply, and who denied self, who placed themselves in any position that the cause of God might prosper. They know nothing of this, it is Greek to them.—EGW’88 988. {PaM 252.1}
  5. The committee meeting should be just as much under the dictation of the Spirit as the prayer meeting—I wish to say to you that the business which may be carried on at this meeting is just as much a part of the service of God as is prayer. The business meeting is to be just as much under the dictation of the Spirit as the prayer meeting. There is danger of our getting a sentimental, impulsive religion. Let the business transacted at this meeting stand forth in such sacredness that the heavenly host can approve of it. We are to guard most sacredly the business lines of our work. Every line of business carried on here is to be in accordance with the principles of heaven.—Selected Messages 3:336. {PaM 252.2}
  6. When God’s presence is recognized in committee meetings, it will safeguard against imprudent speeches and domineering attitudes—Let God be recognized as the supreme Ruler of His heritage. Let every man place himself under His control. Let Him be recognized in all our assemblies, in every business meeting, every council, every committee. He sees all that is done, and hears all that is said. “Thou God seest me.” Let these words be kept ever in mind. They will be a safeguard against imprudent, passionate speeches, against all desire to domineer. They will repress words that should never be spoken, and resolutions that men have no right to make—resolutions that restrict the liberty of human beings.—Manuscript Releases 18:225. {PaM 252.3}
  7. Satan attends every committee meeting, trying to impress minds to make objections that will delay the work—The very thing that the Lord had impressed upon the minds of His servants that ought to be done has not been done at the right time, because these men advanced their own ideas under the suggestions the devil had put in their minds to hinder the work of God and to disgust those who would see the work of God move. There have been suggestions made by themselves which have carried, which God never put into their minds. Satan attends every board meeting, every business meeting, every committee meeting, and if he can impress anyone’s mind to make objections or to throw in suggestions that will delay the work hours and weary out those who are called upon to attend these meetings, he is wonderfully pleased. He has had his way in the matter. And the business which should be pushed through with dispatch, yet in an intelligent manner, is made tedious and to drag along because of the human, unsanctified elements in the character of some who are placed in responsible positions, who do not have knowledge when to speak and when to keep silent.—Manuscript Releases 12:23. {PaM 252.4}
  8. Only the church, not the board, disciplines members—“And if he shall neglect to hear them,” what then shall be done? Shall a few persons in a board meeting take upon themselves the responsibility of disfellowshiping the erring one? “If he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church.” Let the church take action in regard to its members.—Testimonies for the Church 7:262. {PaM 253.1}

Future Topics

The topics for our Ministry Models teleconference listed below will rotate between these general categories – Personal/Family, Soul Winning and Pastoring. We will post notes for each topic/teleconference.

2016

  • September – Time Management
  • October – Increasing Your Baptisms
  • November – Planning Your Church Calendar
  • December – Goal Setting & Accomplishment

2017

  • January – Baptism Preparation
  • February – Nominating Committee
  • March – Family Time
  • April – Finding Interests
  • May – Church Board Meetings
  • June – New District – Starting Well
  • July – New Member Orientation
  • August – Mobilizing Members in Ministry

Please join us by phone (whether walking, driving, eating or studying) and let’s see what the Lord does to help us each succeed in our daily walk with Him, all our relationships including our families, and in our ministry and mission. Call 515-604-9000; Access Code 540330.

About danserns

Happily married and father of three great kids. Seventh-day Adventist pastor who invites everyone to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, embrace all the teachings of the Bible and join a vibrant Adventist group.
This entry was posted in Lifelong Learning, Ministry Models, Pastoring, Small Groups, Soul Winning, Why Not Try This...?. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Church Board Meetings – Ministry Models

  1. Pingback: Working with an Associate/Assistant Pastor | Dan Serns

  2. Pingback: Twenty-one Things that Increase Baptisms | Dan Serns

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