One of the requirement of being a nonprofit organization is to have an oversight board. Church boards are responsible for ensuring that the ministry fulfills its core mission. This is done by developing strategy, monitoring performance and ensuring church financial accountability. Strong board governance makes certain a meaningful mission is implemented effectively.
Effective boards have an impact on the long-term viability of the organization and have a vested interest in how well the church implements the strategy of achieving its mission. This is done by meeting on a regular basis while actively overseeing the key operational functions – which are church budget oversight, top leader performance evaluation, strategic performance management and legal compliance.
So what are church board responsibilities?
1. Strategic Planning
The board is responsible for articulating the church’s core mission and developing a strategy and plan to achieve it. This is done by going through a formal strategic planning process which includes development of a mission, vision and values statement as well as overseeing the development of operational goals that map out steps for achieving the mission.
2. Performance Management
Monitoring and holding top leaders accountable for achieving business results is another responsibility of the board. This is done by developing annual church goals and holding the top leaders responsible by providing the limits and boundaries for the senior leader to achieve goals. For example, the Executive Pastor has authority to what level to make tactical decisions within the the day-to-day operations of the ministry.
3. Financial Oversight
The board is responsible for the organization’s financial accountability and solvency. This is done by approving and overseeing the annual church budget. This includes providing input and direction into strategy and priority in spending as well as ensuring that the the strategy set-forth has the financial resources for implementation. This financial oversight includes identifying independent outside auditors to perform occasional audits to ensure good business practices and compliance with state and federal laws.
4. Compensation Oversight
The board is responsible for chartering a compensation committee that is responsible for benchmarking top church leader’s compensation, making recommendations for pay and housing allowance and approving salaries of senior leadership.
5. Ensure Legal Compliance
Church boards are responsible for adhering to laws that govern nonprofit organizations. This includes the duties of care, loyalty and obedience which is the board’s responsibility to participate in decision making and use good judgement, set aside personal interests to ensure the organization’s interest are kept and ensures that the church stays true to its core mission by complying with governing laws.
6. Conflict of Interest
The board is responsible for ensuring there are no conflicts-of-interest and puts policies and systems in place to ensure full disclosure of any potential conflicts within the organization or the board.
7. Supporting Documents and Board Records
The board is responsible for ensuring all board records are kept including board minutes, mission, vision, values statement, church bylaws, articles of incorporation and any policies that govern the board function.
8. Board Training
Strong boards ensure that new board members are provided the appropriate orientation and training for their role. This includes review of all corporate documents, job description and responsibilities as well as legal requirements for board members. There are many options for training that can be found by searching online for church board training.
Anyone who is chosen to be part of a church board should recognize the honor and incredible responsibility that comes with that role. Having a good understanding of role responsibilities, coupled with thorough training, is a great way to get a board member equipped to serve the church.
Some other great book for your reading library are High-Impact Church Boards: How to Develop Healthy, Intentional, and Empowered Church Leaders and Good Governance for Nonprofits: Developing Principles and Policies for an Effective Board.
photo by: robaa_24