Thursday, November 09, 2006

What was I thinking?

I ask myself that question often, and my wife has asked me that question (What were you thinking?) even more often. It is usually prompted by me saying or doing something that doesn't make much sense. Or, to put it in more concrete terms, when I have done or said something stupid. Well the answer to this question varies. Sometimes the answer is "I have no idea!". Sometimes the answer is "I guess I wasn't thinking". Sometimes the answer is an explanation of how I came to the conclusion that this was a good thing to do or say. I have discovered that my explanations often produce a similar question of, "What?". I say all of this to answer the question that some of you were thinking when you read my previous post. I began to write about church board meetings and then thought better of it, however I am now about to get myself in deeper by explaining.

My reason for writing about church board meetings was conversations with other pastors over the years about their church board meetings and the fact that I had a board meeting last night. First, let me say that I have been blessed to have very good church boards nearly everywhere I have pastored. I have rarely dreaded heading to a board meeting. I have nearly always felt respected and valued as the pastor. Second, I am grateful to be in a system that has church boards and pastors working together for the good of the church and the kingdom. The problems arise when the pastor or the board starts thinking more of their own desires than the good of the entire church. I have talked with numerous pastors through the years who have dreaded heading to board meetings, some have even gotten physically ill before these meetings. Now I don't doubt that there are laypeople who dread these meetings just as much.

My thoughts about how to not dread these meetings. Be prepared for the meeting. Think through things ahead of time and pray about them before making decisions. Don't pull surprises in the meeting, by bringing up big things without warning. Of course we can disagree on how big certain things might be, but give it some thought. (All of these things are for both pastors and board members.) Always speak with respect to others on the board. Be on time! (This is huge to me.) Don't try to micromanage every thing that happens in your church. Keep asking the question, "What's best for this body of believers?". Don't read written reports in a meeting, otherwise why bother to write them in the first place? Don't take yourselves too seriously. Get to the point in your discussions, don't just talk it to death. Don't allow the meetings to drag on too long, but realize when you are the pastor, or agree to be a board member that it will take some time. Remember you are a leader, but not a dictator, so lead instead of just taking opinion polls. Don't use the "I have heard from several people" line unless you are willing to share who spoke with you. Have some fun in your meetings. Pray in your meeting, pray before you go to the meeting, pray after your meeting and ask many other people to pray for you as well.

By the way, we had a good board meeting last night and finished our business in a little over an hour this time.

Now, what was I thinking? You decide which answer fits this post.


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