United boards are a critical part of the health of a congregation since the congregation will often reflect the health or dishealth of its board. Consider these marks of a united board and think about your own board.
One: There is absolute freedom to bring one's opinion and view to the table. Unity does not mean we think alike. In fact, many boards that look unified because there is not disagreement are not unified at all. There simply is not the safety to be honest and elephants multiply.
Two: There is deep respect for one another and for differing points of view. Respect goes to how we treat each other and interact with one another.
Three: Jesus is central. If Jesus is not central to all of our planning and discussions you are left with competing agendas of what the church is or should be. The church is about Jesus and He is the unifying factor for any church board.
Four: Once decisions are made all will support that decision outside the board room. Unity is a choice and it must be made over and over as we submit to the will of the majority. The board always speaks with one unified voice.
Five: When tempers flare, forgiveness is asked for and received quickly. Unity does not mean that we cannot strongly differ. It does mean that we keep very short accounts.
Six: Prayer is central to the decision making process. If Jesus is central to all we do, talking to Him before we make decisions is central to how we proceed. Boards that pray together are far more unified than those who don't. Jesus unifies them.
Seven: Factions are called out. Divided boards are a recipe for a divided congregation. Divisions on the board that become apparent need to be called out and repented of. If not, they become permanent fixtures on the board.
Eight: There are no elephants. Many times we avoid hard subjects because we are afraid of conflict. Unresolved issues are even more dangerous than conflict. If there are elephants, name them.
Nine: Ego's are checked at the door. If it is about Jesus it is not about me or getting my way. Humility is required for a unified board. Together we seek God's way not our way.
Ten: Personal transparency is cultivated. Individuals who can be transparent about their personal lives are far more able to be honest and candid about ministry issues. As we pray for one another we get to know one another and that breeds respect and a desire to work together. If it's all business it is not a church board.
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