Bible Trainer has a great post about the roles ministry board members play, and why having a board of advisors is important.

Most not-for-profit organizations are governed by an administrative board.  I served 4 years on the board for a small private Christian school.  Like most boards, we dealt with issues too challenging for the chief executive (in our case, the principal) to decide.  We approved hiring and firing of key staff.  We evaluated performance of our principal.  We set the budget and monitored performance.  We led out in advertising and fund-raising.  We defined the mission and set the tone of the organization.

I also serve on the ministry board of a Messianic congregation.  We coordinate activities between the worship leader, the scholar who functions as surrogate rabbi, and the fellowship leaders.

According to common wisdom, this is the role of the governing board.  They cast the vision and define the mission, they set objectives and monitor performance.  They advise the CEO on strategic issues without getting too far down into the tactical day-to-day operations.

With a ministry-based organization, however, the board are – in BibleTrainer’s opinion – also the spiritual leaders of the organization.  This matches my opinion of what a deacon board or a board of elders should do.

When I served as Chairman of Deacons, we provided advice and consent to the pastor.  We had our own responsibilities of watching over the congregation, and I had my six families to get to know and keep watch over.  We as a deacon body in a Baptist church were charged with setting the spiritual tone of the congregation, and more than once were called on to adjudicate disputes in the church, remove sinners from leadership positions and visit the sick, the imprisoned, and the families of the dead.

As he so clearly stated, the key role of the ministry board is “ensuring the witness of the institution, promoting a Christian worldview, maintaining standards based in Scripture, and keeping the organization accountable to God.”