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The Board: Bane or Blessing?

How to decide whether a board is functioning well

A preacher's young son had just gone to a new school and was struggling for acceptance by his peers, particularly on the playground. As kids will do everywhere, they treated him badly until he could earn his way into their company.

One day was particularly difficult as schoolmates called the boy bad names and made fun of him. Finally he flew into a rage of retaliation, searching for words of combat to meet the situation, yet still acceptable for a minister's son. As his anger reached its apogee, he screamed at the top of his voice the worst epithet his young experience had taught him: "You … you … you board members, you!"

It's a sad commentary but a true one, not only for pastors but for church leaders who sit on boards and know the heat of the struggle to accomplish the church's business while maintaining an attitude of Christian love: The pastor-board member relationship is too often one of conflict.

Robert Munger of Fuller Theological Seminary did a personal study of board ...

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