Passing off critical work?

October 1, 2020

One of the interesting and perhaps a little bit disturbing realities in congregations seeking their God-given, hope-filled futures is having boards (consistory/council) that pass this critical work off to others because they have more important business to attend to.

Passing off the calling of seeing the congregation’s God-given, hope-filled future reminds me of Scrooge and Marly. Scrooge says to Marly, “You were a good man of business”. Marly replies, “Mankind was my business!” And so it is with boards. The business of the board is to be a discerning body that has eyes to see the congregation’s God-given future.

The church needs this discerning body because as Charles Olson* reminds us,

“Congregations at times believe they can create their own future, but the future is God’s gift to the congregation to be discovered, participated in, and celebrated.”

The board needs to pass off much of that other “important business” so that they can be and can become a community of spiritual leaders that discovers this gift of God to their congregation. They need to trust that God has people in place in the congregation who can do that work so the council can do its work of discernment.

In order to do this work of discernment, the board must be comprised of leaders who are discerning:

  • leaders who have learned to pray and do indeed pray, read the scriptures, and see God’s deep desire for a world of shalom and understand how this shapes the calling of their congregation
  • leaders who see themselves as servant leaders; servants first of God and secondly of the congregation
  • leaders who don’t see serving as a hobby, but as a calling of a God who loves them who loves the world

How does your boards see the work of discerning your congregation’s God-given, hope-filled future? Is it something they pursue or do they pass it off to others because they have more important business to attend to?

The board’s culture is an important area to define 

*This series of blogs are inspired by Charles Olson’s book Transforming Church Boards into Communities of Spiritual Leaders