Raise your hand if you’ve been bored at a board meeting. As a leader, your hand is likely in the air. You’ve had the blessing and bane of sitting through more of these meetings than most. Meant to be inspiring and direction-setting, board meetings can be boring, frustratingly long, and unproductive. What if there’s an entirely different way to run them that’s refreshing to members and life-giving to the entity you’re serving? There is!
Have You Christianized a Secular Board Meeting?
In the early years of our ministry we fell into the trap of modeling board meetings after their secular counterpart – with the add-on of opening and closing prayer.
The play-by-play would look like this:
- The suits walk in, the meeting is called to order, and someone opens in prayer.
- Jesus is waiting off to the side and comes closer when He’s called on for wisdom.
- After prayer, Jesus is essentially asked to step aside for the business portion of the meeting.
- Agenda items are discussed, the jousting ensues, the gavel strikes. Decision by decision. Hour by hour. Yawn by yawn.
- Someone closes in prayer, inviting Jesus to bless the decisions the board made.
Granted, this is an exaggeration. But in our attempt to be professional, we can sit around the table as stuffed shirts with lofty roles. Then, we ask Jesus for wisdom without actually interacting with Him to find that wisdom. Finally, we close the meeting by asking Jesus to sign off on decisions He hasn’t actively been part of.
God-Centered Board Meetings
Through the years, God broadened the focus of our board meetings. We still make visionary and strategic decisions and use Robert’s Rules of Order. But we do so in the context of honoring God, loving one another, and discerning His wisdom together. After all, God birthed the ministry, He leads it, and He gets the glory for it. We want our meetings to reflect this. Here’s the typical flow:
- Family Time. God is Lord of our ministry and Father to each of us. We’re His children and therefore sisters and brothers of each other. This family relationship trumps the titles we wear and the roles we play. So we start our meetings with a combination of Scripture, worship, personal sharing, and prayer for 15-45 minutes. The ground is wonderfully level at the foot of the cross. God is lifted up and we’re each drawn closer to Him and one another. The reality of being the family of God sets the tone for the rest of the meeting.
- Discussion, Discernment, Decisions. We email written reports a week in advance to preserve valuable meeting time for a few key agenda items. Having freshly reconnected during family time, there’s a comfort-level in the room. Members freely express divergent opinions in an honoring way. Weighty issues often warrant an extended season of prayer. During these times of discernment, themes are expressed, Scriptures are read, and God begins to reveal His will. We take notes just like during discussions – wanting to capture God’s leading. Through prayer, Scripture, discussion, and waiting on the Lord, He faithfully leads us.
- Ending on Time with Faith and Prayer. We’re committed to finish board meetings at the scheduled time. If a pressing issue hasn’t been resolved, we trust God has more to say on the matter and wait for the next meeting. We want to operate on God’s timetable and not our own hurried, manmade one. The meeting is closed in prayer – sometimes with more than one person praying – and there’s a unanimous sense that it was good to be with God and each other. Hearts are encouraged, relationships are deepened, and we eagerly move forward on mission with God.
God is hands-down the best board chair, CEO, and strategic planner. He’s also the best Father. Inviting His presence and leadership into your board meetings will yield great camaraderie, commitment, and congruence in godly decision-making. Not to mention lack of boredom! If you want to take the boredom out of board meetings, invite the Lord in.
In what ways has God led you to add life to board meetings? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.