Transform Your Church Board Into a High Performing Team

Pastor, you probably deal with a church board of some kind. The responsibilities and power of a board vary depending on the church and denomination. For some pastors, the board is, in effect, their employer. On the other end, the role of the board may be advisory. And there exist all sorts of variations in between.

However, in almost all cases, the Board performs an important role in the leadership of the church. For that reason, it needs to grow into a high performing team and you, Pastor, can influence that process.  

What is a High Performing Team?

According to team dynamics experts, the ability to achieve maximum ideational conflict with minimal interpersonal damage is the core competency of any high performing task team.  An effective high performing team (or Board) will always be one in which ideas are vigorously debated but relationships are held together by strong bonds of trust.

In short, high performing teams disagree agreeably.

High Performing Task Teams Exercise Four Skill Sets

Developing an effective board centers on helping the members “disagree agreeably”. They need four skills sets to do so.

No matter what kind of church bylaws and denominational rules govern the board, a Pastor can always model and teach these four sets of skills:

1.            Problem-solving: ability to think both critically and creatively

2.            Trust Building: ability to establish rapport and trust between team members

3.            Team Building: ability to create a common identity and mission as a team

4.            Role Playing: ability to recognize and appreciate the typical roles that appear in teams

Want your board to demonstrate better teamwork? More openness to creative solutions? More initiative in addressing urgent and pressing issues?

If so, personally model and openly advocate the following:

  • Listening with an open mind to all ideas and deep respect of everyone’s opinion

  • Reaching out to every board member, actively seeking to build trusting relationships

  • Focusing relentlessly on accomplishing the mission and emphasizing common values

  • Understanding and affirming that each member plays a unique and vital role

These straightforward guidelines provide strategies any pastor can use to enhance the work of their Board and ultimately, transform it into a high performing team. Next week, I will give you even more specific tactics for promoting each of the four skills.

-Bud Clarkson


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