Board Meetings on Holy Ground

By John Pearson

The next time you set the table for your board meeting, set the ground also. The gospel song, “We Are Standing on Holy Ground,” by Geron La Ray Davis, is a powerful anthem to remind board members of our Kingdom's roles and responsibilities.

“When I walked through the doors I sensed His presence
And I knew this was a place where love abounds
For this is a temple, the God we love abides here
Oh, we are standing in His presence on holy ground.”

I’ve been reflecting recently on the power of location. Whenever and wherever our boards meet, we’re on holy ground. God’s presence is promised. We can respond to, or ignore, the nudges of the Holy Spirit. Or we can keep one eye on our agendas, and the other eye on our smartphones. Holy ground? Where?

Good news! Many board chairs and CEOs leverage their creative gifts to create space at board meetings so God’s love and direction abound. Yet for others, sadly, too often the practical and pragmatic crowds out the holy.

To refocus and leverage the wonder of holy ground, consider a different location for at least one board meeting a year. For example:
   • A CEO friend arranged for a board meeting at an architect’s office. The beauty, the creativity, and the innovative use of space elevated the thinking, the camaraderie, and the praying at this unique meeting location.
    • A board chair asked a ministry partner to host a board meeting—and routine reports took on new meaning as they experienced God's stories in person at this ministry to the poor.
   • I facilitated a mission agency’s board retreat on a Christian university campus. Interaction with students and profs in the dining commons was a highlight for many board members.
   • Another CEO friend recently reserved space for a board meeting at a knock-your-socks-off international exhibit, currently under construction. I’ve heard about it—and it will inspire board members to elevate their Kingdom thinking!

This month, a ministry board “took me out to the ballgame” where a meeting room was reserved for a two-hour board meeting prior to the Houston Astros’ no-hitter drubbing of the Los Angeles Dodgers. That too, I’ll reluctantly admit, was holy ground—as Christ-centered board members and their spouses enjoyed nine innings of high-touch relational time. 

Matthew 18 in The Message is the holy ground promise: “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

QUESTION: What would change in your next board meeting if every board member understood the theology of location—that we are standing on holy ground?


This article was originally posted on the “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations” blog, hosted by ECFA.
John Pearson, a board governance consultant and author, was ECFA’s governance blogger from 2011 to 2020.
© 2021, ECFA and John Pearson. All rights reserved.

This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.