My business revolves around helping Christian nonprofits become the best they can be. Over the years I have learned that reaching that goal can become difficult when many moving parts have to work as one—including the board of directors.
I repeatedly find two types of boards: “Great Asset” Boards and “Great Drain” Boards. The Great Drain Boards sadly empty the organization of the energy it needs through their own micromanaging. Unfortunately, I have personally witnessed more of the latter.
Nobody joins a board thinking, “How can I slow down the growth and energy of this mission?” But, somewhere along the line, so many boards fall into this pattern.
However, I have also seen boards that are a great asset—those that give life and courage to the ministry and its leaders. These boards include people that still believe in servant leadership and choose to lead by example. And let me tell you, this is an amazing thing to witness!
Identifying what makes one board powerful and effective while the other continues to struggle is critical. In my experience there are three common practices among the board of directors that cause their leaders and their ministries to thrive:
#1: They Protect the Mission of the Institution
Many times in an effort to stay relevant and fresh, people are drawn to adding new ideas and ministries to an already full mission. A healthy board understands their responsibility to protect the mission of the ministry and commits to testing new ideas against this mission. When this is done purposefully, it creates a healthy environment that encourages growth and life. The commitment to the mission is like a fortified wall for a city. Putting the mission statement on every agenda may seem like a simple thing. But it powerfully reminds you of the reason that you work together in order to protect something greater than yourselves.
#2: They Live By the Governing Values of the Mission
A board of directors should know the values of the ministry, because values are the foundation of a ministry. For example, if prayer is a value of the ministry, you want board members that pray. You also want them to believe that their prayers for this ministry are effective and important. A strong board defined by the principals of servant leadership will serve with a willingness to live by the values of the ministry.
#3: They Help Make That Vision A Reality
Here is where the rubber meets the road. It is easy for men and women to gather in a room and micromanage a thing to death. However, it is extraordinary for men and women to unify with the belief that this ministry can thrive and grow bigger than we ever dreamed. These boards make at least 70% of their meetings about vision and vision accomplishment. These ministries function in a culture that understands that hoping for a future gives life. These boards find their foundation in the fact that they have decided to accomplish everything in their vision. That belief multiplies when they release its power by putting it into motion.
Board members, please consider your commitment to making your ministry’s vision a living and vibrant reality.
Remember, if you need help discovering your mission or vision, call me. We will work through this together. Helping you discover your mission or vision just happens to be the mission that God gave to me. It is my reason and knowing that makes all the difference.
I would really enjoy hearing your response to this blog. If you are interested in talking about your ministry and own opportunities for generosity, or if you need assistance in finding your dream please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 616-662-1953. Thank you for becoming a part of the conversation!