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The Biblical Mandate of Being a Boardmember

Through this frequently asked question, many have expressed to me their frustration and disappointment with simply supporting ministry rather than doing ministry. Proper boardmanship is unequivocally direct ministry and at the heart of working in God's kingdom. The first and central responsibility God gave to mankind was to rule over, subdue and bring to fruitfulness all of creation (Gen. 1:28).

In essence, God's call on us is to extend His work of creating life and things, establishing order and organization. This is the nature of board work: ruling, subduing and bringing the organization to fruitfulness or productivity.

To rule is to determine the development and destiny of a thing. A board determines the purpose, direction, values and style of the organization it governs. Surprisingly enough, few boards systematically, decisively and wisely focus on the development and destiny of the organization. Most simply monitor the entity's life signs with no thought of what it should grow into.

To subdue is to keep that which you are responsible for under your influential guidance through diligent maintenance. Many boards that decisively address issues of direction and development of the organization during board meetings do so either on a crisis or capricious basis. Effective leadership is consistent, comprehensive and relentless. It is this aspect of subduing or diligent maintenance which makes boardmanship (like parenting) so difficult and exhausting and yet, without it, boards serve only as a life support system.

To bring something to fruitfulness means to develop it past the point of mere existence or adequacy to the point of productivity, effectiveness, multiplied value, blessing others. Organizational fruitfulness is developing an organization past the point of expending most of its energy to sustain itself to the point that its contribution to individuals and society is vital and indispensable. The organization's output becomes greater than its input.

In order for a board to effectively govern (rule, subdue and bring to fruitfulness) its organization, board members must be both assertive and cooperative. If an individual is assertive to the exclusion of cooperation, he or she becomes abusive with this Biblical mandate. Conversely, if a board member is cooperative to the eradication of their assertiveness, they abandon their Biblical responsibility. The principle here is to be collaborative with each other's abilities, perspectives, knowledge and resources.

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