Do You Have The Right Voices Around You? - Part 1

Written by Nathan Camp on Dec 27, 2010 in Pastoral Helps

Here’s a Fact: Pastoring is hard work!

I have never met another person who entered into pastoral ministry because it was easy. Men and women of God pastor, lead, and shepherd because the Lord has drawn them to it, and the pull is unavoidable. And because the Lord has called them and marked them in such a way, pastors head straight for the fight despite the many obstacles and challenges they may face.

At the beginning most Pastors are so full of faith, fire, and a passion for Jesus that they bowl over any obstacles that come their way. They stand strong in the midst of adversity, speak the Word without fear, and fight like men and woman on a mission. This season of their lives is quite often marked by many mountain top experiences, as they take ground for the Kingdom.

During this time, life is beautiful for the Pastor!

But the truth is...

Over the coming weeks, months, and years there will also be seasons in the valley.

These are times when things aren’t working out like the pastor imagined they would; where there seem to be more valleys than mountains, more wars than victories. It's here that the pressure of ministry begins to mount on the pastor’s shoulders.

And the truth is, all pastors go through this season.

Some call it the “dark night” of pastoring, and it can be the "make it or break it" moment for many.

It’s at this point where a little known legal process becomes crucial to the minister; it’s choosing the board of directors!

Have you ever heard the saying “No man is an island”? The same is true for a pastor! Every Pastor needs a team. And it's that team that often defines his success.

In The Law of the Inner Circle, John Maxwell says, “Those closest to you determine your level of success” (2006). As pastors, we often take that to mean that, to be successful, those we lead must be leaders themselves. 

But I believe that it’s not the absence of the right followers that often sinks Pastors, but the absence of the right VOICES in our lives that hinders our ability to lead the way God intends for us to lead.

And there are few other voices are as critical to your pastoring than the voice of your board of directors.

They are the ones who are near you in the valleys. They are the ones you are called to turn to in your moments of weakness. They are the ones whose words can bring clarity in the time of confusion.

Why is it then, that for many pastors, these are the voices that feel most damaging?

Let’s take a look at a simple scenario:

There you are, filling out your paperwork so StartCHURCH can get your incorporation started and you see that you need a few board members, so you grab your phone and scroll through your contacts and make a few phone calls asking some folks to be board members. A few say yes, and just like that their names are etched on your corporate documents, and you now find yourself with a board of directors. A couple weeks later the state stamps “approval”, and now you find yourself with a corporation and a board of directors!

This is an exciting day in the life of your new church. At this point, all seems right in the world.

But now the real work begins!

In the coming weeks and months, you begin the hard work of planting a church. And it’s there, in the gritty yard-by-yard days of church planting, that you will come to face struggles and obstacles that you cannot face alone.

Vision challenges...

Leadership challenges...

Financial challenges

Inevitably, you find yourself sitting up at night feeling discouraged and trying to figure out what do next; so you decide to contact the board of directors.

It is here at this moment that you will discover if those names you chose a few months ago were the right names. Their answers, their counsel, their concern (or lack thereof) will determine much of the success you have in overcoming these struggles.

It’s worth repeating that there are few more important voices in the life of the ministry than those from your board of directors.

So let me ask you a question:

When you go through that season, what will your board say?

Are they going to refresh or reprove you?

Are they going to inspire or sap you?

Are they going to be by your side...

Or, will they be conveniently unable to take your calls?

When the fight breaks out are they running with you, or away from you?

Again, there are few voices as important in the life of your ministry than those from your board of directors.

When you invite someone to be on your board of directors, you must understand that these men and women will be given the privilege of being a voice in your life in the times that it matters most. In the down times. In the hard times. It is often their voices that help shape the days to come.

The question I pose to you today is: Will your board be the right voice for you in those days?

My owb answer to that question changed my ministry forever!

How to Select Board Members:

As a Pastor, I’ve had extensive training on how to preach, counsel, and lead. I have run churches, performed weddings, and preached hundreds of messages. However, never in all the years of my ministerial training did anyone teach me how to choose my Board of Directors.

So naturally, when I planted my first church I selected a few men that I thought were good leaders, and overall well rounded guys. I thought they would make a good Board of Directors.

Unfortunately, 5 minutes into my first Board meeting, it became apparent what a huge mistake I had made. As a young church planter, facing all the normal challenges that church planters face, I left that meeting hurt, confused, and discouraged. The words they spoke were devoid of the context of compassion or investment into my life and that of my ministry.
I needed to fix this!

Making the Change:

I realized that I needed to make a change. It became apparent that there were some voices in my life that needed to be TURNED DOWN. These were voices that were constantly negative, corrective, and discouraging. In that moment, I started the hard work of turning these voices down.

This was a tough time for me relationally, but as their voices began to lose volume, I realized that I was feeling less depressed and negative regarding my ministry.

I then began to ask myself another important question:

“What kind of voices do I need in my life?”

After a lot of soul searching, I came up with three voices that I think every pastor should have on their board of directors. These are the voices that are critical to making up a successful board of directors. These are voices that will be on your board because you are intentional in making sure they are there.


Look for Part 2 of this blog on Thursday, December 30th for the conclusion of this series.

Until then, take a few moments to answer these critical questions:

Do I have the right voices around me?

Do I have the right board of directors to help me lead this church?

At StartCHURCH we help churches and ministries make sure they have these critical people in the right places in your ministry. To make any changes to your board of directors, it is critical that you follow the steps outlined in your Constitution and Bylaws.

If we can help you write your Constitution and Bylaws, or if you would like us to review yours to make sure they are appropriate for your ministry, please feel free to call us at 770-638-3444.

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Raul Rivera

And receive Book 1 of our Grow Trilogy FREE today! This series gives you the strategies you need to get started growing your church plant today!