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Build a Caring Community

A board meeting of any Christian ministry should not be a business-only affair. The board will function more effectively if you take time to build a caring community. Board members should get to know each other including family, occupations, hobbies, and life challenges. Board meetings should start and end in prayer and include a devotional thought or Bible study. No board engaged in Christ's work on earth should be too busy to pray. Every board should have occasional social activities or a chance to share recreational time together.

I was invited to lead a planning session of a national organization with board members dispersed across the country. As we gathered for the meeting and I met the board members for the first time, I quickly realized that many of them could not remember each others' name. The previous board meetings had been all business and tightly scheduled. The staff assumed these high level board members did not want to waste time on personal sharing or prayer for one another. But they thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each other informally.

Mike Gibson, a pastor in Milpitas , California , often arrives early to board meetings of his church to start up the popcorn machine normally used for VBS and other church events. He told me, “The smell of fresh popcorn when they arrive does something special to remind board members that we are a community and we should care for each other as well as the business of the church.”

A highly effective leadership training ministry has an official board policy to build in an afternoon of golf or some other form of group recreation at every annual board retreat. They want to make sure they are recreating together and getting to know each other personally.

Building a caring community requires time in the board meetings for prayer, personal sharing, and occasionally social activities or retreats. Good coffee also helps.

James C. Galvin, president of Galvin and Associates in Winfield, IL, is an organizational consultant dedicated to helping faith-based nonprofits achieve breakthroughs. Visit his website at or contact him directly at [email protected].










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