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Last Update: 8/19/2013 4:55 AM
8/19/2013 4:55 AM
 
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Thank you for your question, Loren. The issue rasied is complex, but I would offer the following perspectives:1. It is possible to consider the church board a ministry team comprising spiritually mature people, i.e. elders, whose primary responsibility is to ensure that the church's mission is being accomplished. To the extent that this mission is carried forward by leading, feeding, teaching, serving and directing, this continues to be the primary work of the elders/board. The board cannot divest itself of this fundamental responsibility.2. One might ask how a church board leads, feeds, teaches, etc. the congregation through its work as a board? By the decisions it takes for the advance of the mission and the care of the congregation, the board leads. In communicating its reasons for making such decisions to the congregation, the board teaches. When the board develops a policy that guides some aspect of the spiritual life of the congregation, it must present that to the congregation and explain what it means and why it is important. This is a teaching function. As the board ensures good policies, good leadership, good facilities, sufficient resources, and ongoing accountability, it serves the congregation and honours the trust given to it.3. Usually several of the pastoral staff also serve as part of the elders/church board. Senior and associate pastors often fill this role. If they respect the spiritual leadership the board is mandated to provide for the church, then these teaching elders will be seeking the guidance of the elders group as to what should be preached and how the spiritual health of the church might be nurtured through this teaching ministry. They should be seen as teaching on behalf of the elders, not as singular, autonomous agents.4. It is entirely appropriate for an elder to exercise leadership responsibility in the church as part of an elder's spiritual oversight. However, in doing so I think it is important for that elder to view that ministry as accountable to the lead pastor, not the elders group directly. I am sure most pastors would be delighted if an elder volunteered to help in visitation, in discipleship, in mentoring emerging leaders.5. Carrying forward the vision of the church is a significant responsibility that the elders/board must engage. It requires this group to be thinking forward and actively considering how the church will address emerging challenges and increase its kingdom impact. As it engages such discussions, the board is doing spiritual work, keeping the church oriented to the Great Commission.6. Practically speaking the elders will find an annual retreat a rewarding opportunity to involve themselves deeply in the spiritual oversight of the congregation.
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