The Ideal Church Board Member

Board members were alarmed at how low attendance was today. Or they would have been, if they had been there.



Pastors making fun of their board is as old as pastors and boards. Some of the epic battles I’ve heard about, the total warfare that breaks out in board meetings, are things of legend.

I’ve never had such things. There was one meeting where I and a board member had a disagreement about a person, similar to Paul and Barnabas arguing over Mark. It was almost the exact situation. Voices were raised, but nothing untoward was said. We parted friends.

Other than that, our meetings have been quite civil. The reason for this, in my opinion, is that my board doesn’t really care that much about what goes on in our church. I’m not saying that as a terrible character flaw, they are just busy people and I don’t think church concerns rank that high on their radar of concerns.

I know this because for the majority of my time in my church board members are rarely all at a Sunday service. It’s slightly better now, but still only happens maybe half the Sundays.

You can tell how much your board members care about their church by how often they are around it. Not coming to church is a classic sign that people don’t care about your church or anything you are preaching, doing, or leading.

When board members don’t come to church you can attempt to guilt them into coming. I’ve never been one to use guilt as a motivator for church attendance. If people want to be there they will be there. The only thing worse than not having people at church, is having people there who don’t want to be there.

People who don’t want to be in church but feel like they are forced to come anyway, will find fault with everything and try to ruin and split the church. They need to find a spiritual reason to stop coming.

Attendance is the best way to tell who cares. Don’t tell anyone that or advertise it, just know it. If you tell people, they will attend more for a while, to make you think they care. Just keep this as a pastor’s secret. Don’t use gimmicks or guilt to get people there, just observe.

The effectiveness and helpfulness of a board member is directly related to how often they attend church. The more they attend the more helpful they will be. They actually know what’s going on and have picked up on what you are emphasizing in your preaching, etc.

For many years my board members were about the most unhelpful group of people one could imagine. Granted, they didn’t do anything to thwart anything, but that was just it: they didn’t do anything. They sat. They nodded. They grunted at the appropriate time. They occasionally opened their mouths and said stuff. A couple times they actually did something.

They were clueless and did not care. I knew this because most of them did not come to church events. This was not good.

I have a small church. Telling me to “get people who frequently attend church then” helps none at all. I have slim pickings. I need someone to help me make decisions.

Telling me that “boards are not biblical; just do your stuff” is also not helpful. My board members are deacons. Deacons are in the Bible. They help the church by taking care of things that the pastor shouldn’t have to deal with. That’s a board. I need help. So spare me that lecture too.

I just want board members who show up. People who know what’s going on in the church and who the people are. Churches that choose board members because of how much money they have, how well they run their own business, how related they are to the founders, or how good they are at talking, set themselves up for disaster. That misses the point.

The ideal board member is spiritually mature and shows up at church. You can never have too many. I’d give my kingdom for three.



Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
–1 Timothy 3:8-10

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