This coming Saturday I will be doing an elder/deacon board training for another pastor. As I have been working on this over the past few weeks, I have discovered that some of the greatest teaching comes not from our successes, but our failures. I am thankful that I have had few failures with the boards I have served with, and have had to work to draw from many successes. I was asked to help define the role of the board in the local church. In looking back over the last twenty-five years of pastoral ministry I have to admit that I have many stories to tell; most I simply can’t! But in this I began to clarify my perspective on a few things. I have discovered five goals that I feel members of a church board must adhere to be a success in a local church. 1. The communication of the board with the church is not the voice of the people to the pastor; the board is the vision of the pastor to the people. In the way that boards are elected it would be easy to compare them to congress being voted in to be the voice of the people. The simple truth is that Jesus put a group of men around him so that the vision He had could be taken to the ends of the earth. The churches with the greatest growth are those that have a group around the pastor that take the vision that God has given to the pastor, out to those that they influence; not the complaints of the people to the pastor. 2. The character of the board to the pastor must be one of burden bearer. There will be over 1700 pastors leave the ministry each month. There is a wonderful article that you can look up at www.churchleaders.com that is simply called “10 Real Reasons Pastor Quit Too Soon”. After reading the ten reasons I think that they can be summed up in this one. The pastor feels that he has very few that will carry the burden with them. There are very few that understand the life and burden of the pastor. It can be compared to a blind man who is expected to put 100 square pegs in a round hole within sixty seconds. There are times that it seems impossible to do; it is the board’s task to help carry that burden. 3. The commitment of the board to God must be without question. The members of the board must remember that they are called of God to this position. If they are called of God to this position, their actions must be within the guidelines of always living in the light of God. Doing what they are called to do for the one that has called them. To serve God’s house and God’s people with God’s pastor. This commitment continues on from God to a loyalty to God’s house and God’s people. 4. The cooperation of the board with everyone must be with a team mentality. The board must be a team. For a team to work sometimes you have to pass the ball to someone else and other times you have to sit out while the other players play. The final goal, the run, the three point shot…that is all that matters in the end, not who made the shot…just that the shot was made! 5. The challenge of the board must be for unity. There is always a price to unity. Unity costs someone giving up their desires and compromising on issues. Little children learn early on to say “mine”. The board cannot in anyway continue on with the “mine” attitude. The cost of unity is giving up “mine” for “ours”. With God, “ours” becomes “His”. I know that this says very little about the fast that we are completing this weekend. But today, this has been on my mind. I feel that when the members of any church board accept that communication, character, commitment, cooperation and challenge are the calling that God has given to them, life in the local church will become stronger for the entire congregation and the pastor. As I continue to pray about what I will share this coming Saturday, I continue to look back. I am so thankful for the board members who I have served with that fulfilled every one of these goals. God has been good to me and I know that I have been blessed! To all those, I simply say thank you! Just something to think about today!