Let’s be honest, it’s flattering to be asked to serve on the Board of Directors of a Christian ministry, especially a large one.
I know how easy it is to be seduced into serving when men or women you respect, call on you to serve. I’ve fallen for it. To my shame, I’ve served on a few boards simply because I didn’t want to disappoint a friend who asked. Sound familiar?
And almost all board members are chosen for one or more of these reasons: Their affluence, their influence, their spiritual maturity or experience.
So, next time, before you say “yes” ask yourself and them these important questions. Questions to ask Ministry Leaders: 1. Specifically, why do you need me on this board? 2. Is there a specific need you have or new ministry you want explored? 3. Is there an area of weakness in this ministry that you feel I’m uniquely equipped to help with? 4. Do I actually need to serve on the board to accomplish that goal or project?
Fundraising 5. What are the expectations of this ministry regarding my (our) financial commitments? 6. Will I be expected to raise money or host fundraising events? 7. Will I be expected to supply names and contact information of potential donors, or do fundraising myself?
Other expectations 8. How many times a year does this board meet? 9. Is my spouse expected to participate at all?
Other Considerations 10. I have a personal rule. I only serve on the board of three ministries or organizations at a time. I can’t imagine doing a good job serving on more. So, when I’m asked to serve on a new board, the first question I ask myself is this: “If I serve this new ministry, what ministry of the three I’m presently committed to am I prepared to drop?” 11. Have I fasted and prayed about this opportunity? “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 12. Have I sought counsel of my spouse and close spiritual friends? 13. Ask for the names and contact information of the last three board members who have served and contact at least two of them and ask about their experience. Don’t let the ministry “cherry pick” those names. You want the truth!
Final Thoughts I’ll often ask their permission to just “sit in” on a few board meetings, before I commit. Doing so, allows me to observe how the various personalities work together, see how decisions are made, observe how passionate and how often they pray or use biblical principles to make decisions.
Serving on ministry boards is serving the Lord. Take time to ask all the right questions and pray long and hard about whether you have both the passion and time to serve. If you do say, “yes,” ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discipline to be the best board member you can possibly be!
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
How following Jesus works in real life.
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