Bad Advice from Church Boards

October 5th, 2011

I’ve been in a lot of church board meetings. A LOT. For the first 15 years of my professional career, I was on the staff side of the table. Since I valued my job and wanted to keep it, most of the time, I often just sat there quietly as people disguised bad advice in spiritual terms. Well, mostly quietly anyway. For those of you who know me, you understand that I don’t do “quiet” very well.

There are a lot of great business men and women of faith in church boards that have inspired and mentored me throughout my career. And there are some who should never have been there in the first place. I’ve heard a lot of bad advice and theology dispensed by volunteer leaders cloaked in the guise of concern and spirituality. Here’s a short list of stuff I’ve heard through the years that have stuck with me and my translation of what they really said:

  • “Surely we can’t expect our young couples to give 10% of their income. They don’t make that much money.” Translation:“How dare you expect me to give 10% of my income to this church. Do you have any idea of how much money that is?”
  • “Based on historical giving data and market conditions, I believe that a zero increase in the budget is all we need to forecast.” Translation: “I have no faith in our people, the vision for the future, and even less in God.”
  • “We can’t just keep increasing the pastor’s salary. It’s more than the average church member makes.” Translation: “He’s about to make more money than me and I’m not happy about it.”
  • “This is Jesus’ church and you don’t own it.” Translation: “This is my church and you don’t own it.
  • “The Holy Spirit spoke to me last night and. . . ” Translation: “My wife spoke to me last night and. . . “

What bad advice (spiritualized or not) have you heard from your boards and committee members?

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