A study by the Wall Street Journal discovered that larger corporations with smaller boards outperformed their counterparts with larger boards by a significant margin. In fact, as few as 3-5 extra people made a difference in profit margins by up to 18 percent.
Churches of every size have similar issues. The larger the board, the less efficient and the less effective a church tends to be. The issue in most churches is found in power – who’s in charge and who makes decisions. The smaller the church, the more entitled the rank-and-file member tends to feel. It’s their church and they should have a say in church decisions. As a result, typically, the decision-making body is larger, and is involved in more management of church affairs. One of the key reasons small churches stay small is the law of the lowest common denominator. Rarely does great ministry or vision have a chance because harmony and consensus are more important than faithfulness. These churches are unable to grow because consensus honors the lowest common denominator over the greater good in almost every case.
Unfortunately, the small church practice of board management holds true for churches as large as 400. When that happens, the church’s ministries tend to be stagnant, attendance and participation dip and heave, and further growth is stymied.
Effective churches are led by a few who are charged with achieving the congregation’s mission and vision and who are trusted to work within shared values.
Question: How have you seen a small board lead a church well? Share your experiences in the Comments section below.