Tuesday, February 19, 2019

LESSON 1 – Wanted: Lifelong Learners

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. Art Rhodes is our guest blogger this week for the first of four lessons in "Part 1: The Powerful Impact of Highly Engaged Boards.”

LESSON 1 OF 40 – Wanted: Lifelong Learners
Would you trust a surgeon who stopped learning?

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 1, the authors note that you must have some foundational knowledge to serve on a church board. But that is not enough! In an ever-changing world, the learning must never stop.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 1, pages 2-5: 
• “If you want to lead, you have to learn. If you want to continue to lead, you must continue to learn.” (John Maxwell)
“Highly engaged board chairs and board members know that when they say yes to board service, they must continually increase their knowledge and competencies to fulfill this sacred calling.” 
• “Lifelong learners seek the heart of God in prayer and discernment, and they do research to gain knowledge for effective service.”

In this complex and litigious time, church board leadership is more critical than ever. While we want to prayerfully seek God’s direction in the selection of leaders, making sure that those leaders have the tools and training they need to faithfully serve our local church is vitally important. Too often, we select leaders and then just hope and pray that they serve us well.

Isn’t it interesting that doctors, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals are required to have continuing education to maintain their status, but we do not see the need for continuous learning for those that take care of the vital work of the Lord in our church? Many church board members do not recognize the legal responsibility that they take on when they assume this important position. It is only after they have been named in a lawsuit or when a tax lien has been placed against their personal assets that the responsibility truly hits home.

If our local church is going to grow and prosper, our leaders must be knowledgeable about the responsibilities they have assumed. That knowledge must be reinforced by continuous learning and development. As laws change, especially those related to tax matters, church boards must stay current. If not, the experience could be difficult. While knowledge and experience are both important, basic knowledge, along with continuous learning, will keep us away from some damaging and harmful experiences. 


Arthur D. (Art) Rhodes is President/CEO of the Church of God Benefits Board, Inc. and the Church Loan Fund, Inc. in Cleveland, Tenn. Previously, Art served in Washington as Chief of Staff to Rep. Mike Parker (R-4th Miss.). He also served as counsel for the Mississippi Dept. of Public Welfare and was in private law practice, specializing in construction litigation. 

Art maintains a keen interest in politics, having served as an election observer in the contested Florida presidential election in November 2000 and as a member of the RNC’s Legal Strike Force during the election cycles over the past two decades. He is a graduate of Millsaps College and the University of Mississippi School of Law. Art and his wife, Angie, make their home in Cleveland, Tenn., and have two children, Katelyn and Taylor.

• Are there basic qualifications for being a church board member? If not, consider developing a few qualifiers that follow your church polity and procedures.
• At your next church board meeting, invite a local nonprofit executive to share nonprofit best practices that might also be helpful in your church.
 Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the four-page chapter, “Lesson 1 – Wanted: Lifelong Learners."


On Feb. 27, 2019, watch for the commentary by Jeff Jenness on Lesson 2, "Ask the Gold Standard Question. A ‘pruning moment’ can improve your board meetings.”

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

1 comment:

  1. I am thrilled that the EFCA has chosen to forward to us, such an important conversation. Errol Bartholomew