My Ministry Setting is board-led

Your Question:

“How can I best serve in a board-led ministry setting?”

The Issues:

There are “pros” and “cons” to a board-led ministry. The greatest challenge comes in having to work under multiple people rather than just one senior pastor. Communication about the CM vision and related needs is more complex.

Scripture Foundation:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”   2Timothy 2:15

Short Answer:

A church or organization that is led by a board may view leadership by one person to be risky. They probably have scriptural foundations for this leadership principle, and they may also have past experiences upon which they base their views. Regardless of their foundational reason for setting a board above the senior pastor, your position as a children’s ministry (CM) director doesn’t change significantly. You are still “under authority,” and you still must work with a process of proposing changes and obeying directives.


The most significant difference between a senior pastor-led church and a board-led church is that you may have to understand the styles and expectations of multiple people rather than just one person. 


The greatest thing you can do is to clearly understand your “place” in the leadership structure, and how the “system” works.  Here are some questions that you should confidently know the answers to:


1) Who is your direct supervisor?

2) Does your direct supervisor have the power/authority to make decisions for you, or does he/she have to get approval from people over him/her?

3) What is the administrative and communication “flow”? Who supervises and communicates with whom?

4) Are you able or invited to attend the board meetings?

5) Are you able to make presentations or proposals to the board, or do you have to make proposals to your supervisor who then passes those proposals to the board?

6) Do the board members ever visit or evaluate the CM?

7) Are you able to communicate or meet with members of the board individually, or is that restricted?  

8) How is the CM budget presented or approved?

9) How are the CM policies presented or approved?

10) Does the board get involved in CM team recruiting, training, or evaluations?

11) Does the board get involved in the choosing of the CM curriculum and its evaluation?

12) Is the board involved if a CM team member needs to be disciplined or removed?

13) Is the board involved in parent support or parent issues?

14) Is the board involved in your use of the CM facilities? Are you free to adjust room uses, or do you have to propose these adjustments?


This list of questions may grow as you explore your relationship with the board, but these questions will get you started in understanding where you and the CM “fit” into the administrative structure. You should have access to some communication with the board.  If you are told that you can never meet with or propose to the board, you might be concerned. If the board only knows what your direct supervisor tells the board about the CM, you must be very careful to confirm that the board is getting all the information correctly presented.  You don’t want to encounter an issue and have a board member tell you, “We had no idea that you were dealing with this issue.” 


The value of a board is that you have many wise people who can give you counsel, or assistance.  Solomon referenced this value in Proverbs 15:22,

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Ideally, access to the board should provide you with more support and wisdom than if you only had to wait for an appointment with your senior pastor.


With more people who might supervise you, you may experience more politics.  You may encounter a board that is made of some people who value the CM, and some who only view it as “babysitting.”  It would be good for you to know what the various views are from the board members.  If you know that a certain member of the board doesn’t understand the value of the CM, you can begin to pray for that person and do all you can to influence him/her.  There are some who serve under a board who begin to feel like politicians who must negotiate or “campaign” for certain issues.  This is not necessarily bad.  It is human nature.  The danger comes when you begin to “lobby” for something you want via parties, dinners, or gifts.


It is important to remember that you serve God directly.  It is He who called you and placed you in this ministry!  According to Romans 13:1, God places those in authority over you as well!

“The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.”


Here are some ideas for serving under a board with excellence and respect:

1) Share The Fruit – Establish a regular (monthly?) process for communicating what God is doing in the CM.  This can be done through personal short (under 5 minutes) presentations at board meetings, or monthly email reports. If you can’t be physically present in board meetings, then print a short (1-page), graphically professional overview of what God has done, and give copies of this report to the senior pastor or whoever will make the presentation.

2) Share The Needs – Board members are usually godly people who care deeply about the children and the church.  They are usually very busy making significant decisions about finances, growth, and future plans. If they never hear from the CM, they may begin to believe that “everything’s fine.”  You want them to feel positively about the CM, but you also want them to understand the challenges that you face.  If you don’t respectfully share your concerns, they can’t help you.  You can share the needs of the CM in a paragraph or two in your monthly email or report. This is better than only sharing the needs apart from the “fruit.”  Professional people understand that growth comes with a “price.”  They should be willing to listen to your needs and provide some assistance.

3) Share You Plans – Board members are usually business people who enjoy hearing about future plans!  Always share your future plans in light of the CM vision!  If you have a plan to develop or improve a ministry venture, connect those plans to the CM vision and the overall church vision.  Without this connection, the board may not understand why you want to do something new.  Always “sell” (that’s a bad word, but it works here) your plan ideas by highlighting how that plan will improve the church or the CM’s support for the parents and families of the church.


So, do all you can to be a good steward of what God has given you in the CM! Do your best to be kind and respectful to those on the board. Do all you can to communicate effectively with those on the board so that they see, know, and feel the value of the CM!  After you have done these things, trust that God will open and close the doors according to His will.   For more help in understanding the setting of the children’s ministry, click on the APPENDIX link below.

Visit other articles in the “Understanding Your Ministry Setting APPENDIX”

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