Definition and Function—The church board is composed of the principal officers of the church. It has a number of important responsibilities, but its chief concern is the spiritual nurture of the church and the work of planning and fostering evangelism in all of its phases.
The gospel commission of Jesus makes evangelism, proclaiming the good news of the gospel, the primary function of the church (Matt. 28:18-20). It is therefore also the primary function of the church board to serve as the chief committee of the local church. When the board devotes its first interests and highest energies to every-member evangelism, most church problems are alleviated or prevented. A strong, positive influence is felt in the spiritual life and growth of the membership.
Included in church board responsibilities are:
1. Spiritual nurture.
2. Evangelism in all of its phases.
3. Maintenance of doctrinal purity.
4. Upholding Christian standards.
5. Recommending changes in church membership.
6. Church finances.
7. Protection and care of church properties.
8. Coordination of church departments.
The board is elected by the church membership at the time of the regular election of church officers. (See p. 49.)
Membership—The following church officers should be included in the church board membership:
Personal Ministries leader
Personal Ministries secretary
Adventist Men’s coordinator
Publishing Ministries coordinator
Bible School coordinator
Community Services and/or Dorcas leader
Sabbath School superintendent
Family Ministries leader [SERVICES AND MEETINGS OF THE CHURCH 91]
Women’s Ministries leader
Children’s Ministries coordinator
Home and School Association leader
Adventist Youth Society leader
Pathfinder Club director
Adventurer Club director
Communication Committee chairperson or Communication secretary
Health Ministries leader
Religious Liberty leader
In many cases two or more of these offices are carried by one individual. Additional members of the board may be elected by the church if desired. The minister appointed by the local field to serve the church as its pastor is always a member of the church board.
Officers—The chairman of the church board is the minister appointed to serve the church as pastor. If the pastor prefers not to act in this capacity or is unable to be present, he may arrange for the church elder to preside as chairman on a pro tem basis. The church clerk serves as secretary of the board and is responsible for preserving the minutes of the meetings.
Meetings—Because the work of the church board is vital to the life, health, and growth of the church, it needs to meet at least once each month. In larger churches more frequent meetings may be needed. It is well to fix the monthly meeting time for the same week and the same day each month. (Example: The first Monday of each month.)
The church board meeting is announced at the regular Sabbath worship service. Every effort should be made to have all board members present at each meeting.
Each church should determine at one of its regularly called business meetings the number of church board members who must be present at a church board meeting to constitute a quorum. Votes by proxy or letter shall not be accepted.
Work of the Board—1. Planning evangelism in all of its phases. Since evangelism is the primary work of the church, the first item on the agenda of each church board meeting is to relate directly to the evangelization of the outreach (missionary) territory of the church. In addition, once each quarter of the year the entire church board meeting [92 CHURCH MANUAL] can well be devoted to plans for evangelism. The board will study local field committee recommendations for evangelistic programs and methods. It will determine how these can best be implemented by the church. The pastor and the church board will initiate and develop plans for public evangelistic campaigns.
2. Coordinating outreach programs of departments. The church board is responsible for coordinating the work of all church departments. This includes the outreach programs of Personal Ministries, Sabbath School, Children’s Ministries, Youth, Health Ministries, and Education. Each of these departments develops its plans for outreach within its own sphere. To avoid conflict in timing and competition in securing volunteer helpers, and to achieve maximum beneficial results, coordination is essential. Before completing and announcing plans for any program, each department should submit its plans to the church board for approval. The departments also report to the church board on the progress and results of their outreach programs. The church board may suggest to the departments how their programs can contribute to the preparation, conduct, and follow-up of a public evangelistic campaign.
3. Encouraging and helping the Personal Ministries Department of the church to enlist all church members and children in some form of personal outreach (missionary) service. Training classes should be conducted in various lines of outreach ministry.
4. Cooperating with the Interest coordinator of the church to ensure that every reported interest in the message, aroused through whatever source, is personally and promptly followed up by an assigned layperson.
5. Encouraging each department to report at least quarterly to the church board and to the church membership at business meetings and/or in Sabbath day meetings.
6. The details of church business should be considered by the board, and the treasurer should report the state of the church’s finances on a regular basis. The church roll should be studied, and inquiry should be made into the spiritual standing of all the members, and provision made for visiting any sick, discouraged, or backslidden member. The other officers should report concerning the work for which they are responsible.
Committees of the Board—The church board should permit no other business to interfere with planning for evangelism. Should other business be too time-consuming, the board may appoint committees to care for specific areas of church business, such as finance or church building projects. Such committees will then make recommendations to the church board. In this way the resources, of the board are conserved for its primary task—evangelism. (See Notes, #10, p. 100.) [SERVICES AND MEETINGS OF THE CHURCH 93]