It has been about two months since I finished reading High Impact Church Boards by T. J. Addington. But for some reason, I never got around to writing a review on it. Just this past week, I took some time in preparation for our Elders Retreat to reflect back upon this book, and so I thought I would take a few minutes to share some of my thoughts.
For the most part, I really appreciated much of what Addington had to say. Books like this are so needed in the church. I doubt if there are many pastors that would say they have a high-impact church board. That does not mean they think their board is not godly. It does not mean they think their board is not impacting people. It just means that they probably think they are not as engaging of leaders as they could be. I have only been in the senior pastor role for a few years now, but I am learning how important it is to equip and train the leaders that we have on our board. That is why I wanted to learn through a book like this. His very clearly states his purpose for this book right at the beginning.
"High-Impact Church Boards is written for leaders who want to see their churches become everything they can be under God--those who want to maximize the missional impact of their congregations. It is for those not content with the status quo, who believe a high-impact board is not only possible but is the only kind of leadership Christ would want for His church. It is for those who want healthier leaders and more intentional leadership paradigms, who long for empowered leadership structures and congregational cultures." (13)
To do that, he articulates three factors that lead to maximum ministry results. The first was that a church must have Healthy Leaders. These are godly men who are called by God to fulfill the calling to shepherd the church. He articulates six God-given responsibilities for church boards: Ensuring spiritual power, teaching, protecting, caring, training (that's my word, he calls it developing, empowering, and releasing), and leading. These are the key components that make a leader healthy.
The second factor is Intentional Leadership. He shares the difference between "accidental ministry" and "intentional ministry." I concur that much of what happens in church ministry is forced through situations in life, but they are not intentional. Church boards often react to situations, they fail to plan strategically.
The third factor is Empowered Leadership Structures. He gets to the heart of what happens when there is mistrust within the congregation and leadership board. But the biggest issue is that the board often finds itself dealing with minor things instead of dealing with the major issues of vision. When that happens, the board will not highly impact a church.
This book is probably best to be read as a board together. I didn't do it that way. But there were many thoughts and questions that I am taking to my elders. For instance, one of the things he suggests is to develop a church leadership covenant. I am working on that.
But I'm Not On A Church Board
I know most of those who read this blog are probably not on a church board. Let me end by giving a few ideas of ways you can help your church board be effective.
- Pray for those who are on your church board often (at least once a week). Please do not pray just for the senior pastor. Pray for all the men that are on the leadership board of the church.
- Communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly. Too often, people at a church speak up only when they are dissatisfied with what is happening at the church. When things are going well, communicate it to the leadership of the church. That will give you more credibility when you communicate things that are not going well. But in the end, please just communicate.
- Show up regularly. Nothing encourages the leaders like regular attendance.
- Help them stop gossip. You will make your leaders more effective when you refuse to listen to complaining by others and send them directly to the original sources.
- Serve in the church. You need to use your gifts. It could be that they are not leading out of vision and strategic because they are too busy doing things in the body of Christ because you are not using your gifts as you have been called.
Question: What Are Some Other Things You Can Do To Help Make Your Leaders Effective?