Wednesday, October 16, 2019

LESSON 35 – Common Misconception of Board Members

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Frank Borst is our guest blogger this week for the fifth of six lessons in "Part 9: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”



LESSON 35 OF 40 – Common Misconception of Board Members
Understanding board member myths can lead to improved governing effectiveness.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 35, the authors note that many board members (and senior pastors) have misconceptions about what is actually required of the role. Thankfully, through healthy dialogue and education, a church board can go from a collection of individuals to becoming a high-performance team that effectively guides the senior pastor, staff, and congregation to transform surrounding communities with the life-changing message of Jesus.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 35, pages 188-193:
Serving on a church board is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it is a work for only the most committed, mature believer (see 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9). The authors have correctly identified five governance misconceptions that limit a board member’s effectiveness:
• Misconception #1. Board members know exactly what to do.
And why would they? Most new board members have never served on a board or believe their for-profit board experience has adequately prepared them for service. Church boards typically meet monthly (at least they should), and must manage a spiritual weight not experienced in a for-profit role.

• Misconception #2. Board members have a great deal of free time.
No, board members do not have a bunch of free time. To the contrary. Chances are you’ve selected a person to be on your church board because they are accomplished professionally, personally, and spiritually. They have learned to steward their time well.  As a result, they’re giving their board service a priority that supersedes other competing initiatives. Because God is calling you to assemble the best board possible, you’ve heeded Benjamin Franklin’s advice: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Don’t assume otherwise with your board members.

• Misconception #3. Most board members have a fundamental understanding of church finances.
Nothing prepares a board member for understanding a church’s finances. Sure, there are monthly income statements and balance sheets, but church finances are often prepared on a cash method and have unique requirements that pertain to designated gifts, the pastor’s housing allowance, and social security taxes. A best practice is to establish a Finance Committee that is a sub-committee of the board—and responsible for developing the financial expertise necessary to effectively steward the church’s resources and manage its risks.

• Misconception #4. Churches are simple entities.
After all, how complicated can a non-profit organization be? Like for-profits, churches are accountable to a host of regulations, tax filings, and legal requirements. Additionally, contractors and child protection require processes and systems not usually found at a for-profit. Since a primary objective for a church is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12), vibrant churches have volunteer organizations that dwarf the number of staff, making churches more—and not less—complicated.

• Misconception #5. It’s easy for church boards to avoid micromanaging.
Since board members often don’t know exactly what to do (see Misconception #1), their tendency will be to behave the way they do at work, that is, to give others direction so goals can be accomplished. Churches are often not as sophisticated as other organizations, so there will be a “gravitational pull” to get more involved, not less.  Board members need to remember they have only one employee (the senior pastor) and are ultimately responsible for the spiritual and financial health of the church. Board members must leave the day-to-day management of the organization to staff. 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Board management is a competency that every senior pastor needs to master. More than financial and legal responsibility, the board is ultimately responsible for the spiritual health of the church. That means selecting a board member is a strategic—and not a tactical—action. If your church is making a difference in the community (I certainly hope it is!), then the evil one will not stand idly by watching God do His work through your congregation (1 Peter 5:8).  

One of Satan’s most effective tools is to create dissension within the body (implosion vs. explosion), and the board is always a prime target. Selecting your board members carefully and addressing any misconceptions about their service will result in a strategic, cohesive, and collaborative board that ultimately results in life change—for staff, the congregation, and the community. Board members will be transformed as well, but you’ll have to tune in to next week’s blog to hear more about that!
  
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY FRANK BORST:


FRANK BORST is a global C-level executive known for building high-performance organizations that deliver consistent, sustained excellence.  Frank’s experience encompasses company turnarounds, start-ups, acquisitions, and building global organizations across a multitude of industries. His role as a senior executive includes developing corporate strategy, branding, culture, and execution. Frank currently serves as COO of Mariners Church in Irvine, Calif. He and his wife, Debbie, have two grown sons, and reside in San Clemente, Calif.  

 TO-DO TODAY: 
• Prepare a board member training manual that properly equips new members for service. 
• Establish a Finance Committee comprised of subject matter experts in such areas as accounting, insurance, tax, and HR that can do the financial “heavy lifting” for the board as it focuses on the vision and spiritual health of the church.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 35, “Common Misconceptions of Board Members.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).







NEXT WEDNESDAY: On Oct. 23, 2019, watch for the commentary by Dr. Jim Masteller on Lesson 36, “You Made Me Better Than I Was. Church board experiences should leave all participants better than they were.” 

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!


BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

LESSON 34 – Break Bread, Not Relationships

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. William Ankerberg is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of six lessons in "Part 9: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”



LESSON 34 OF 40 – Break Bread, Not Relationships
Building a 24/7 board culture takes time. Don’t skimp on meals or relationships.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 34, the authors note the three-point sermon for healthy boards: Eat with intentionality. Enjoy deeper relationships. Eliminate all distractions.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 34, pages 183-187:
• “Food fuels fellowship and fellowship fuels deeper relationships.”
• “A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.”
• “Healthy boards commit to device-free zones.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Food is very theological. The first disagreement in the church was over food. Some widows felt they were being ignored in the distribution of food, and so we ended up with deacons. 

When you sit down and eat someone’s food you show acceptance of that person. The first time one of my church members from India invited me over for supper, they honored me by serving goat meat. As I embraced their food, it showed approval of my friend’s culture.

Over the last three decades of my ministry, we always shared a meal at the beginning of every team meeting. This was a time to talk and catch up with each other, to share prayer requests, and just to be together.

My mentor, Lyle Schaller, taught the best way to build cohesion in a group is the out-of-town, overnight, shared experience together. (This is the result of the research that the United States military has done.) To spend this time sharing meals and sharing our lives together is a powerful bonding experience. Away together increases bonding. The common meal is even significant in church as we celebrate “The Lord’s Supper.” Food and bonding develop together in community and teams. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY WILLIAM ANKERBERG:


DR. WILLIAM ANKERBERG has served as a pastor and denominational leader for 47 years.  He is currently working as the Global Development Pastor at Journey of Faith Church in Manhattan Beach, Calif.  He also serves as the Director of Operations for Converge Southwest, an association of 120 churches.

 TO-DO TODAY: 
• Make a plan to embrace relationships at your next leadership gathering in a creative way.
• Plan an out-of-town experience for your leadership team. Include staff and board members.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 34, “Break Bread, Not Relationships.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).







NEXT WEDNESDAY: On October 16, 2019, watch for the commentary by Frank Borst on Lesson 35, "Common Misconceptions of Board Members. Understanding board member myths can lead to improved governing effectiveness."

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!


BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

LESSON 33 – “Good Is the Enemy of Great”

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Jeffrey Salladin is our guest blogger this week for the third of six lessons in "Part 9: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”


LESSON 33 OF 40 – “Good Is the Enemy of Great”
When great board experiences end, they should be lamented.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 33, the authors urge board members to pursue great board experiences and not settle for merely good board experiences. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 33, pages 178-182:
Unfazed by challenges. The church faced some unusually strong challenges during Tomas’ tenure. Dean said that Tomas was not fazed by the challenges. Tomas could be counted on to thoughtfully consider even the most difficult issues and support recommendations. 
Creative thought. When outside-the-box thinking was helpful, Tomas came through every time. Tomas was all about clock-building, not time-telling (using the expression popularized by Jim Collins in Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't).

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
“We play for an audience of one!” I’ll never forget the first time I heard those words. I played football at Azusa Pacific University and my coach was utilizing a robust monologue (actually, he was yelling!) to remind us of our audience. He told us that our true audience wasn’t the crowd or our classmates or our parents or our teammates or even our coaches: our audience was the gracious, sovereign, and good Creator of the universe and, if we would play for Him alone, we would experience joy and power. 

Those words impacted my mind and, through the years, transformed my heart as well. Perhaps the sin I struggle with the most is, indeed, the idolatry of accomplishment. I still, at times, feel the need to succeed in order to prove a point or build a resume or somehow look good. But, in that moment on the football field, I felt a strange freedom from the need to achieve. Instead of trying to prove something, I felt compelled to glorify the Triune God of the universe. By God’s grace, my idolatrous desire to merely impress others has diminished through the years and, wonderfully, my joy in pleasing God has increased. 

Like Tomas in Lesson 33, church boards face unrelenting challenges that require creative thinking. After serving on my church’s elder board for many years, I believe that the strength to endure challenges and the courage to engage and deploy creative thinking comes when the board finds its satisfaction in the ultimate audience: our Heavenly Father who sent his Son to conquer our sin and the Holy Spirit to indwell us. When we walk with the urgent desire to please God, when our highest good is enjoying God, and when we find our rest in Him, He gives us all we need to endure and thrive. 

This separates good boards and great boards. Good boards run efficiently and manage money and expectations and things like that, but Great boards—boards that lead and envision and do the hard work of shepherding and stewarding—exist when they are focused on pleasing their ultimate audience. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JEFFREY SALLADIN:


JEFFREY SALLADIN serves as a Lay Elder at Citizens Church in Plano, Texas, and professionally, leads the Dallas office of 49 Financial, a values-based financial planning firm. 

Prior to serving at Citizens Church, Jeffrey served on the Elder Board at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, for many years and also served on the Pastor’s Council at Blue Route Vineyard in Media, Pa. He has also enjoyed a long career in private equity, investment banking, and legal practice. He holds a law degree from Rutgers University and an undergraduate degree from Azusa Pacific University. He lives near Dallas with his family. 

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Ask an accountability partner to assess for whom you are performing. If the answer is difficult to hear, it’s OK. God is good and sovereign and will run to your contrite spirit. 
• Schedule quarterly assessments where your board speaks into each other’s lives and challenges each other to find their hope and value and joy in God alone. 
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 33, “Good Is the Enemy of Great.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).






NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On October 9, 2019, watch for the commentary by William Ankerberg on Lesson 34, “Break Bread, Not Relationships. Building a 24/7 board culture takes time. Don’t skimp on meals or relationships.”

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!



BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

LESSON 32 – Loose Lips Sink the Boardroom Ship

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Prior to his homegoing last March, Dr. Don Walter wrote the guest blog for this week—the second of six lessons in "Part 9: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”



LESSON 32 OF 40 – Loose Lips Sink the Boardroom Ship
What happens in the boardroom must stay in the boardroom.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 32, the authors urge board members to keep their lips sealed regarding boardroom decisions and discussions—regardless of the subject matter. Loose lips can destroy a church and its public reputation.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 32, pages 173-177:
The authors suggest how to address loose-lipped board members:
• “Extend grace for the first offense. If the matter can be settled in a private meeting—and the offending board member admits the indiscretion and commits to never repeat the offense—perhaps the matter need not be brought to the attention of the full board.”
• “Follow the two strikes rule. In baseball, batters get three strikes before they are out. When a board member leaks confidential information and it has been addressed with the member, the second offense should be the end of the line. Be sure that your bylaws or Board Policies Manual addresses the process for asking a board member to resign for violating your board’s confidentiality policy.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
In this age where there is ample misinformation floating out in cyberspace, it is not necessary to add to the data flow. Once the information is out, there is no way to reel it in. There are many issues and opportunities that your board will need to process internally. Your board does not need the pressure of outsiders to “help” the processing aspect. If a loose-lipped member of your board releases information—either good or bad—it can do irreparable harm to your church. 

It should also be noted that your policies on confidentiality also apply to your pastors and the church staff. Nothing destroys the effectiveness of any board policy more deeply than seeing that policy violated by pastors and/or the staff.

As your church board continues to trust God for His protection and blessing on the church’s ministries, continue to inspire and call your board members to the highest standards of Christ-centered governance. Help your board members to see the holy connection between their fiduciary responsibilities and the importance of maintaining a God-honoring culture of integrity and effectiveness.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DR. DON WALTER:


Prior to his homegoing on March 26, 2019, DR. DON WALTER served as the director of Pensions and Benefits USA for the Church of the Nazarene in Kansas City, Missouri. He began his service in the Pensions and Benefits office in 1983 and was elected to the director position in 1994. As director, he represented the Church of the Nazarene in two benefit organizations—the Church Alliance and the Church Benefits Association.

Prior to coming to the Pensions and Benefits office, he served pastorates in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He was a native of Iowa and a graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University, Nazarene Theological Seminary, and Webster University. Don was honored with the doctor of divinity degree by Nazarene Bible College in 2006. He also served as adjunct instructor at MidAmerica Nazarene University and taught classes in values and Biblical perspectives. Don noted that “some of my most satisfying work was with these students.”

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Review your board policies. Do you have a confidentiality statement that the board signs annually?
• If you don’t yet have a Board Policies Manual, read Lesson 5.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 32, “Loose Lips Sink the Boardroom Ship.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).










NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On October 2, 2019, watch for the commentary by Jeff Salladin on Lesson 33, “Good Is the Enemy of Great. When great board experiences end, they should be lamented.”

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!



BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

LESSON 31 – Watch Out for Boards Asleep at the Wheel

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Cathy Barrett is our guest blogger this week for the first of six lessons in "Part 9: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”


LESSON 31 OF 40 – Watch Out for Boards Asleep at the Wheel
Golden opportunities are missed when a board’s eyes are wide shut.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: “The drone of routine board meetings often creates unmemorable results,” writes Dan Busby in this first-person account describing a road trip when he fell asleep at the wheel. Likewise, he adds, “boards can become drowsy and listless by slipping into a routine of grinding through ‘one more meeting.’” He notes four practices that boards must avoid.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 31, pages 168-172:
Boards most often fall asleep at the wheel when they:
• “Misread the landscape. Acute discernment is necessary to sense what may be coming just around the corner.”
• “Can’t see the forest for the trees. They have checked all the boxes (the trees) and missed the big picture (the forest).”
• “Become mired in the weeds. The classic board that is asleep at the wheel is the board that spends too much of its time on operational matters.”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
First, let’s be clear. I’m not suggesting that the board at our church has become drowsy or listless! However, Dan Busby’s cautionary warning is attention-getting! He notes that churches can “veer off course” in four specific ways:

#1. Improper use of designated (the technical term is “restricted”) gifts. In conversations with other CFOs, I find that many church boards are inadequately educated about expending designated gifts for purposes inconsistent with a giver’s designation.

#2. Disappearing reserves. This sometimes happens when boards routinely approve budgets and financial reports, yet expend money on capital items without having a capital budget. 

#3. Approving related-party transactions that are inappropriate. (See Lesson 28 for the helpful chart on potential conflicts of interest—and the “yes” or “no” decision tree (with three paths) on the question, “Does the proposed transaction pass the related-party transaction test?”

#4. Leadership failure. If your church board experiences frequent turnover of board members (not a good thing!), the board may miss or overlook “the continuing chaos created by the senior pastor.” In this case, a troubling leadership style or behavior may never be appropriately addressed.

What should your board do? “Through the commitment, dedication, and a focus on the big picture, boards can fight off mental drowsiness.”

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY CATHY BARRETT:


CATHY BARRETT is the chief financial officer at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, Diamond Bar, Calif. Serving at the church since 1992, Cathy’s leadership role also includes collaboration with the church’s partner ministries in Chile and Colombia, South America. Cathy is also the board treasurer of Christian Community Credit Union. She and her husband, Ed, have two adult children and two grandchildren. Cathy’s husband, Ed, earned his Master’s in the Martial Art of Kung Fu San Soo under Pastor Raul Ries and he’s likely the only person we know on the planet who is a martial artist and also writes poetry as a hobby.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• As a board, read this lesson together and review the four examples where your board might be asleep at the wheel.
• Discuss “related-party” transactions at your next board meeting and view the short video included in the ECFA Governance Toolbox Series No. 3: Conflicts of Interest. (Note: Cathy Barrett portrays a “typical” board member in this video.)
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 31, “Watch Out for Boards Asleep at the Wheel.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).






NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On Sept. 25, 2019, watch for the commentary by Don Walter on Lesson 32, “Loose Lips Sink the Boardroom Ship. What happens in the boardroom must stay in the boardroom.” (Note: Don Walter wrote this blog several months before his homegoing.)

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!



BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

LESSON 30 – 7 Ways to Avoid a Financial Train Wreck

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Bob Fry is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of four lessons in "Part 8: Boardroom Worst Practices.”



LESSON 30 OF 40 – 7 Ways to Avoid a Financial Train Wreck
Financial derailment of a church is usually a collective failure, but the finger almost always points back to the governing board.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 30, the authors describe a handful of financial management practices that collectively represent “good stewardship.” The various steps, such as having a reasonable operating budget and maintaining adequate cash reserves, will strike anyone who has ever run a business as obvious. It’s the fact that we need to be reminded of the basics in a church setting that is so striking.  A church cannot use its unique calling in its members’ lives as a reason to be less well run or less prudent than a so-called secular business. Where would be the witness in that?! 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
I completely agree with everything that John and Dan have said and would only add one thought. The need for sound financial management in churches is driven in part by the willingness of church members to kibitz, attempt to micro-manage and, at times, criticize. We tend to deal with our churches as if management of the entity itself is the goal. In doing so, we think too highly of the organization and too little of the mission.

In the healthiest churches I’ve seen, the members are bound to one another and to their leadership by a clear understanding of a common vision. In that sense, they are all friends of the type C. S. Lewis describes in The Four Loves. That sense of a shared vision, of shared ministry, is tremendously powerful and, at times, has financial implications. One brief example will do.

We were members for a number of years of a very large church. One year, the church had a substantial year-end deficit. So the pastor sent out a short email to the members, telling them of the shortfall.  Susan and I were in church the following Sunday as the church celebrated receiving more than two and one-half times the shortfall—all in cash donations members hand-delivered to the church—just that week. The average donation was less than $100.

We were blessed to witness the spontaneous response of a congregation with a heart-felt understanding of their church’s ministry. John and Dan’s financial guidance is hugely important.  Their advice will find its best application in those churches whose members enthusiastically embrace a common vision. With that, amazing things are possible. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY BOB FRY:



BOB FRY is an investment advisor, writer, private equity investor, Bible study teacher and Senior Gift Advisor with the National Christian Foundation of California. He is also the author of Nonprofit Investment Policies: Practical Steps for Growing Charitable Funds, and Who’s Minding the Money? An Investment Guide for Nonprofit Board Members. Bob lives in the San Francisco bay area with his wife, Susan, where they are near their two daughters and their four grandchildren. (They love their son in Texas and may yet end up there—when he someday has children!) Unlike many men in their 60s, Bob has largely given up golf in favor of full-court pick-up basketball, where his younger fellow players often observe, “he sure runs hard for an old guy!”

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Ask each board member to describe what the church does well and why people attend.  
• Then have each board member ask their friends in the congregation that same question.
• Compare the answers and correct as needed!
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 30, “7 Ways to Avoid a Financial Train Wreck.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).










NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On Sept. 18, 2019, watch for the commentary by Cathy Barrett on Lesson 31, “Watch Out for Boards Asleep at the Wheel. Golden opportunities are missed when a board’s eyes are wide shut.”

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!



BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

LESSON 29 – Keeping the Boardroom Afloat

Welcome to Lessons From the Church Boardroom—The Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, Lessons From the Church Boardroom: 40 Insights for Exceptional Governance, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we'll feature a guest blogger’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Willie Nolte is our guest blogger this week for the third of four lessons in "Part 8: Boardroom Worst Practices.”



LESSON 29 OF 40 – Keeping the Boardroom Afloat
Are too many staff causing the boardroom to capsize?

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In a board meeting, the presence of too many staff members in attendance—or inappropriate staff-board interaction—can hinder the effective and productive governance functions of a board.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 29, pages 156-160:
• Church boards need input from staff members. It takes discretion and wisdom to discern how many staff members are needed in the boardroom. 
• Unsolicited input/responses from staff members may indicate a potential problem. It may indicate an imbalance when a staff person feels free to share unsolicited comments during a boardroom discussion—or when board members engage staff members directly in a board meeting.
• Staff “speeches” are not appropriate. If staff use the board meeting to give speeches or argue a position not in harmony with the senior pastor’s position—there is definitely an issue. 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Hearing from staff is important and essential. My preference is to have staff reports submitted in writing for each board meeting. This accomplishes at least two things: 1) it informs the board of the ministry activities of the staff, and 2) it is a discipline for the staff to submit reports and to address measurable results.

Inappropriate staff involvement can drag the board out of governance and into management. It is an ongoing challenge for church boards to resist trying to manage the ministry from the boardroom. If having too many staff present—and allowing engagement which gets “into the weeds”is occurring, there is imbalance and the board has gotten off its primary role of governance.

Personal relationships are also important. Having staff present at board meetings gives the opportunity for the board to hear from—and to support—the staff person in a more significant manner than simply receiving a written report. A rotating schedule of staff attendance would allow this ongoing connection and relationship to be a significant part of the board meeting. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY WILLIE NOLTE:



WILLIAM NOLTE is the CEO/Mission Lead of Transformation Ministries. He joined the ministry in 2011. Transformation Ministries (TM) is a covenanting association of leaders and 200 churches in the United States and Northern Mexico committed to seeing more healthy churches. TM also owns and operates four camp/conference centers which serve over 40,000 people each year. All the activities and focus of the ministry align around: Developing Pastors as Spiritual Leaders, Church Health and Missional Vitality, and Planting Healthy Churches.

B
efore joining TM, Willie pastored in local congregations for 32 years in Illinois and California. He received an M.A. in Old Testament Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, an M.Div. from American Baptist Seminary of the West, and a D.Min. from Western Seminary. Willie enjoys reminding church leaders that “No church or leader was ever meant to do ministry alone—so don’t!” 

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Do you have an effective way for staff to inform the board of their activities? If not decide the best method to do so.
• Discuss with your board chair and develop appropriate interactions and behaviors by staff and board members. Together you can begin to get to proper balance in the board room.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 29, "Keeping the Boardroom Afloat."
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).





NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On Sept. 11, 2019, watch for the commentary by Bob Fry on Lesson 30, “7 Ways to Avoid a Financial Train Wreck. Financial derailment of a church is usually a collective failure, but the finger almost always points back to the governing board.”

ORDER THE BOOK TODAY!



BULK ORDERS: Click here.  For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.