Broken Boards Like Willow Creek’s

Grace and peace to all who elect to join me in this blog series on the subject of broken boards, that is, of broken governing boards of Christian churches and organizations.

For almost twenty years I have been wanting to write a book on this huge subject.  At last the time has come for me to unveil a portion of my still ripening thoughts.

Here’s the copyrighted working title for my forthcoming book:


The Antidote to Failed Leadership  

Yes, there is an antidote to failed leadership.  There is an organizational mechanism for dredging us out of the mud, and that undervalued mechanism is called the governing board.

Hardly anyone ever thinks about governance because leadership has gotten all the press.  Governance is not leadership.  Good governance guides leadership.  Good theological governance guides leadership back to God.

In so many organizations that profess to be Christian, God’s laws have been forgotten because the whole idea of God has been institutionalized.  As a result, almost everyone I know in my ministry network has seen unsavory, unrepentant, positional authority figures wreaking havoc in people’s lives while the board stands by and does nothing or else acts defensively and palpably makes things worse.

Thus I plan to teach and write about the very practical need for each and every board member to learn how to think theologically about governance.  If this sounds less than riveting, I ask you to give me a chance to explain in some detail why I strongly believe that good theological governance is the medicine and therapy needed to heal Christian entities and thereby promote widespread restoration in the land.

We seriously need to revitalize our Christian institutions.  Desperately we need for them to get on mission with the Great Commission in their own unique, righteous, biblically-grounded, way.  Oh for every Christian community to get Right on mission.  To be right on mission means to be acting on the basis of a genuinely Christian mission, doing what you know God says is right.

The only way for Christians to get Christian organizations on mission is by building them on Jesus, the only Cornerstone.  Every other organizational structure of professing “Christian” leadership amounts to nothing more than a sham.

Whoa, the word sham is intense.  Am I overstating the problem of broken boards?

Now that Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois has shifted from the limelight to the spotlight, a critical mass of people are starting to understand that whole boards can be remiss.  In repentance, the Willow Creek board resigned en toto.

A huge scandal was also allowed by the board at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicagoland.  The board underwrote and supported corruption that recently led to a huge blow-out.

Same thing also with the ECFA, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which did not do its job, but rather had a board that allowed rampant financial misconduct to proliferate nation-wide.

God’s Word tells us that boards can get off track.

Consider Isaiah 53:  All of us like sheep have gone astray.  Each of us has turned to his way.  And Romans 3:23:  All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

If board members like sheep can go astray, how then can we govern our institutions?

Only by turning to God.

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.   II Chronicles 7:14







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