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Owner Boards vs. Steward Boards By R. Scott Rodin

Owner Boards vs. Steward Boards – Do you know the difference?

If you follow these blogs you’ll know that we write about the difference between owner leaders and steward leaders. In a number of posts we’ve defined owner leaders as self-reliant rather than God-reliant, tying their self-image to their job and title, seeing people as means to their own ends and using resources for building their kingdom instead of God’s kingdom.

A similar distinction can be made between owner boards and steward boards. Here are four ways that steward boards lead in a more God-honoring, Kingdom-minded way than owner boards.

(1) Owner boards seek God’s blessing on their work, steward boards seek to know and do God’s work

There is a fundamental difference between a board that makes its own plans and then asks God to bless them, and a board that is committed to discerning God’s plans and pursuing them obediently. There is a temptation for boards of talented, successful people to rely on their own wisdom and press ahead in developing their own plans believing God will bless them because they are doing His work. He might, but these organizations will never fully experience what it is to be so surrendered to God’s leading that our work becomes a direct reflection of His will and purpose. This is the domain of the steward board, and we must seek to be such boards in our pursuit of God’s will and let that alone drive everything we do.

(2) Owner boards add prayer to their agenda, steward boards make prayer their agenda

When we take on the mantel of a steward leader, we hunger and thirst to hear the voice of the true owner. Only when we have heard do we move ahead. The same is true for steward boards. Owner boards treat prayer as an add-on, a ritual that opens meetings but doesn’t add any real value to the work of the board. For steward boards, prayer dominates their agenda, informs their decisions, empowers their work and keeps them focused on the one who will provide for all of their needs. We must seek to be steward boards that will not move ahead without such discerning prayer.

(3) Owner boards focus on controlling outcomes, steward boards surrender their need for control

There is a temptation for board members to expect that their CEO can control outcomes to bring about expected results and meet performance metrics. While in some cases this may be true, in the bigger picture of kingdom work, we are called to be faithful and trust God for the increase. If we do God’s work God’s way, we can be assured if His provision. When we seek to do our work our way, trying to control outcomes, we may see modest success, but we will not glorify Him through obedience and surrender. We must seek to surrender our desire for control, strive for faithfulness and trust God for the increase.

(4) Owner boards seek to lead with strength and courage, steward boards seek to follow the One who will lead them with strength and courage

When times are tough, from where does our strength come? When great visions are proposed, where does the board muster the courage to forge ahead? Again, we can always look to our own strength and dig deep to find the courage within. But steward boards rest in the knowledge that they are aligned with God’s and can depend on him for the strength and courage to face any situation the world may throw at them.

I pray that every board will ask themselves the question, “Are we leading and governing as owners or stewards?”

Steward boards know the truth that great governance starts with surrender. May that be your passion and purpose.


R. Scott Rodin PhD., has a passion for helping God’s people discover the freedom and joy of the faithful steward. He is president of The Steward’s Journey and Kingdom Life Publishing.

The Outcomes Conference 2018 is pleased to announce Dr. R. Scott Rodin will presenting a full-day intensive at the event on Steward Leaders Achieve Kingdom Impact.  Joining him for the day are these three wise experts:

  • Andrea Leigh Capuyan, Executive Director – Laurel Pregnancy Center
  • Dr. Mark Vincent, CCNL, President – The Design Group, Intl.
  • Ron Frey, President – Frey Resource Group

If you are eager to learn more about Steward Leadership, then this is the experience for you.

If you haven’t registered, now is the time. Take advantage of early registration savings.

Check out what’s happening at Biola University!


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