A contentious or divisive team member can destroy established unity or any attempts to build it. Here are five questions to ask before recruits make the team. These questions will help to preempt unnecessary conflict.
1. What is the team's primary purpose? Is the primary purpose of a church board representation or leadership? Our answer significantly affects our potential for unity.
Many churches have opted for the representative model. But in a board of representatives, the emphasis on representing various interest groups makes it difficult to justify keeping anyone off the board. From a representative perspective, any church member, no matter how divisive, has a right to lead.
I've become a strong advocate of a leadership-oriented board. Rather than figure out what everybody wants them to do, the members of a leadership board have only one focus: finding the best course of action and following it. When faced with a difficult decision, they ask first not "How will people react?" but "What does God want us to do?"
2. What are our minimum qualifications? In many churches, anyone who faithfully supports the church and works hard eventually finds himself or herself rewarded with a seat on the board. But passages such as Acts 6, 1 Timothy, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5 make it clear there are spiritual qualifications, and they don't stop at being born again. They go way beyond to issues of character. That's not so much a matter of what a person knows as who he or she is.
As important as spiritual maturity is, though, to build a harmonious and effective leadership team, there are other qualifications to look for:
- Is this person in basic agreement with our current philosophy of ministry?