During tough economic times, theological school boards may wonder what they should be doing to weather the storm. According to Rebekah Burch Basinger, the answer is “what you should have been doing all along.”



Basinger wrote the article “More of the same good things” for In Trust’s spring 2009 issue. The recession was in full swing, and many schools were facing unprecedented economic hardship. Although the economy has steadily improved since 2009, many theological schools still face some of these same difficulties. Basinger’s advice is still relevant.

Good governance looks the same whether a school is facing good times or bad, Basinger says. Her article outlines practical illustrations of what this looks like. For example, boards should be careful stewards of their school’s resources, including financial, human, intellectual and spiritual resources. Boards should use past mistakes as a guide for how to proceed in the future.

Finally, all board members are needed at their full capacity in difficult times. It is imperative that every board member is engaged with the work of the board during tough times. An engaged board member is one who advocates for the mission and vision of the school, makes service on the board a top priority, gives financially and invites others to give, and uses personal and professional contacts to benefit the school.

The goal of the board during tough times is to propel the school forward in its mission rather than simply staying afloat. To do this, boards must practice the same characteristics of good governance that are exhibited during the “good” times.

What are your thoughts on Basinger’s advice for board leadership in tough times? From your experience, what practices do effective boards demonstrate no matter the circumstances?

If you have an In Trust online account, you can read Basinger’s article on governing in tough times.


Image Credit: Luis Argerich