Wherever you see a church or ministry busily engaged in pursuing its mission, you probably won’t notice most of what’s taking place behind the scenes to support and empower the more visible leaders. There is usually a mix of paid and volunteer personnel who look after the finances, manage communication, maintain facilities, keep the technology working and much more.
Without these valuable but often invisible people, the organisation simply couldn’t function.
Meanwhile, working fewer hours than the paid staff but carrying the load of ultimate responsibility, a small group of board members regularly and prayerfully meet to help guide the overall direction of the organisation and protect it from harm. In most cases, these board members serve voluntarily; expose themselves to personal risk if they behave recklessly; and wrestle with the big and complex issues that nobody else is authorised to.
Only the board can adopt and enforce policies that keep the entire organisation between the guardrails of legal and ethical prudence.
Only the board can monitor and assess the performance of the staff leader(s).
Only the board can detach themselves sufficiently from the daily operations to get a fifty-thousand-foot view of the organisation’s purpose, strategy, and potential risks. It’s a serious commitment, but one that is also an incredibly fulfilling way to support an organisation’s mission.
Board members fill a vital role in every church and ministry, but in the more complex regulatory environment we now exist in, the level of skill and experience required by board members is steadily increasing. Combining this with the reality that older board members are steadily retiring from their governing roles, organisations are confronted with important questions as they look towards the future: where are the future board members going to come from? How will these prospects develop the initial experience they need?
What can be done to inspire young leaders to recognise that ministry governance is a noble and spiritual form of service to aspire to, and one that can sit neatly alongside the other priorities God has called them to?
To help address these issues, Christian Ministry Advancement (CMA) in partnership with Korus Connect have officially launched ‘The Board Internship’ program, which equips young Christians for future board service by giving them the opportunity to be immersed in a working board environment.
The program matches interns under the age of 35 with a host organisation for 12 months, during which they will participate in networking activities, training opportunities, and real board meetings under the supervision of a mentor.
The Board Internship draws on Korus Connect’s vision for community transformation through partnership with like-minded individuals and organisations. It also draws upon CMA’s long-standing commitment to governance, transparency and accountability, which was reinforced with the 2017 launch of the CMA Standards Council and their formal accreditation process.
Korus Connect has successfully run a board internship program internally for several years. This model is now being offered more widely through the new partnership. As CMA regularly leads board training conferences and events for hundreds of church and ministry board members around Australia, The Board Internship dovetails neatly into CMA’s existing strategies to strengthen ministry governance.
There is no cost for interns to join the program, although they will participate in a small group fundraising campaign to help offset the program costs. Beyond just contributing financially, this campaign also helps expose the interns to the reality that board members have a role to play in helping generate the funds that support church and ministry ventures.
An impressive line-up of speakers has already been locked in for leading a series of online sessions for the interns. Interns also will be invited to join a robust online alumni community, where special guests will drop in regularly to answer questions and contribute to discussions.
Interns will be commissioned at the CMA Conference in June each year and will receive a certificate upon their graduation at the following year’s conference.
Gary Williams is National Director of Christian Ministry Advancement.