One of the challenges for those who serve on church boards is that, well, it is all so church-focused. The people in church ask you about the progress of this church thing or the problem with that church thing. You talk with your fellow leaders and pastors about church matters and church issues. And together, you spend a lot of time trying to figure out the way forward for church in this challenging time.
Unless you are careful, all your talk about church can become insider talk. That is completely understandable, and quite dangerous.
Presumably, over the holidays, you will be at a party, around a dinner table, or at another event with folks who don’t go to church, don’t know church, maybe have never thought about church. We are not suggesting that you use this opportunity to talk to them about church. We are wondering if you could gently enter into a conversation with one or two people about their loves, their hopes, their needs, even their wounds.
Under the banner of “God loves the world more than God loves the church,” folks in church need to spend some time just listening to people “in the world” about what they most need. And this is a rich time for such a conversation! Most of us are emerging from the pain and trauma of the last two years with a more focused sense of needs, hopes, and yes, wounds. What would it be like for you to get a direct “dispatch from the front” about these needs and hopes and wounds, and then share them with your church board members, each of whom have engaged in the same exploratory conversations?
This does not have to be a holiday-long project. Five or ten minutes, with one or two people, about real life and real needs.
We imagine that the January church board discussion in which all these conversations are shared could be an important time for your board – and for the decisions you will be called to make over the next year.
When Jesus commanded his disciples at the end of Matthew’s Gospel to “go into all the world” we believe he meant the word “all.” We should be talking to all people about all sorts of things and then use all the resources of the church to focus on all that we have learned.
We wish you a blessed holiday time… with at least one or two memorable conversations.
**Digging a Deeper Well will return after the first of the year. However, our archive of past articles is available at any time, here.
Also, if you would like a more focused conversation about the challenges and opportunities of engaging your church board, the Ministry Collaborative team would be happy to talk with you. Fell free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.