Campus Ministry Matters

5 Big Questions for Boards #3- What is the Board’s Job/ How is your board organized?

Question #3: What is the Board’s Job/ How is your board organized?

We continue again today with Question #3 of our 5 day look at campus ministry boards and the questions I am having about those boards.  Let us look toda at the role of the board and organizational structures in place.

Task Force or Committee?  It sounds like the same thing, though I have articulated to my board that the difference is significant.  As far as I have outlined, a task force board does most of its work at the board level and then assigned task forces to accomplish the goals as the board sees fit.  But in a committee structure, the bulk of the work is completed through the smaller committees, with the board being used mainly as a communication tool and a decision making body on larger issues.  So, which way is your board designed?

Now we have to begin to consider what those smaller groups look like.  In a task force model, the subgroup is based on the situation at hand.  So, for a moment, let us consider a committee structure. In a committee structure, how do we organize this board in order that they get the work done as needed and also put people to work using their gifts and passions.  It goes back to the discussion of the size of the board as well because the committee/ task force really needs a minimum number (I would say 3) in order to operate effectively.  And people shouldn’t have to be on so many subgroups that they experience exhaustion.

My board of directors here at the University of Minnesota is made up of 5 committees currently

  1. Personnel
  2. Marketing
  3. Treasury and Assets (including the building leases)
  4. Development
  5. Programming

Additionally, this board has an executive board made up of the Board Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and Student Rep.


This is the most important committee for a number of reasons.  I don’t necessarily believe this committee is always recognized as the most important, but with the requirements of having someone to supervise the executive director and create metrics, this is very important.


It may not seem like marketing is a big deal, but because I see myself as a professional fundraiser, I have a marketing chair who has really helped to brand the entire campus ministry.  She helped to make sure we have a strong brand that includes all of our thank you notes, our website, our color changing cups, our brochures, our business cards, everything.  She has provided a tremendous vision.  I recommend that we consider how in this new age of campus ministry we might learn how to market ourselves in healthy ways that people will instantly know who we are based on our used of colors, symbols, and so much more.


For this campus ministry, we combined the treasurer (who is the chair of this committee) with the assets.  We don’t have a building, but we are renting a parsonage and space at an American Baptist Church.  I know a lot of people have buildings and have a separate committee for “buildings and grounds.”  Considering we didn’t have a whole lot of assets, we thought this might work together.


I believe this is another very important committee. We have a new age of campus ministry upon us and benefit greatly from building up a donor base and encouraging alumni to be a part of a shared vision.  This committee is obviously involved in building up the image of the campus ministry and helps to bring about financial support for the ministry.  I really think that while this financial support is necessary, we have a greater vision of how people can be involved.  Development is such a narrow approach that sometimes it seems we might not want prayers, volunteers, or advocates.  And we do.


The programming committee was formed because other colleagues of mine each have one.  I wasn’t sure at the beginning exactly what they would be used for.  I was wrong if I had any thought they wouldn’t become vital.  As campus ministers, I believe our roles have to go toward building bridges with our local churches and our other institutional connections.  This programming committee has done much of the legwork to build relationships, get the campus minister (and students) to come and talk at local churches, have been instrumental in building up a list of people who are potential donors and volunteers for the ministry.  They also help to shape our programming by giving ideas as well as directing the campus ministry to be involved with activities that are happening in the local church.

These are my committees.  I believe we could get better.  I believe there are things missing.  I’m still not sure exactly who should always chair each committee and how the executive committee functions in conjunction with the committees.  I’m not sure if we should have a task force instead of a committee structure.  What do you have working for you?  How did you get there?  And what kinds of things have you picked up along the way that have not worked?  Please let us all know.

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