Wednesday, February 27, 2019

LESSON 2 – Ask the Gold Standard Question

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

LESSON 2 OF 40 – Ask the Gold Standard Question
A “pruning moment” can improve your board meetings.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 2, the authors note that there are key, distinguishing characteristics between church board meetings that are highly productive and those that are not. Often the difference seems to be that productive meetings have engaged board members. This chapter highlights responses the authors have asked of board members; both those who feel productive and those with unsatisfactory experiences. 

But we’re not left there. Dan and John share with us “pruning” exercises that can take our board meetings from routine to highly effective. The desired result is not to feel better about our serving, but to function with an “eternity mindset” that elevates the board’s impact.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 2, pages 6-9: 
• Dr. Henry Cloud: “What do we do here that is sick and not getting well?” While candid, that question can help us look at our board experience through fresh eyes.
• Four ingredients of memorable board meetings: 
     1) Deep joy! 
     2) Listen to the Spirit 
     3) Energetic discussions   
     4) Solidarity and unity
• “Pruning moment” = clarity and owning the vision vs. accepting average (page 8)

Those reading this book likely have served on multiple boards and will recognize it is indeed the highly effective boards—when necessary—have undertaken needed pruning action. John 15:1-2, which the authors lift up for us in this lesson, underscores this.

When we take time to truly think about the privilege of serving—and that our actions as board members have eternal implications—it changes our perspective. This makes it much easier to consider necessary pruning. Pruning and re-ordering enables us to focus on what matters most and allows time for robust interchange that can move the group toward joyful unity in fulfilling the vision.

Consider having your entire church board read this book together and discuss how your time spent in board meetings might be improved through some “pruning moments.” With the Lord’s blessing it may just change the entire ministry trajectory of your congregation. 


Jeff Jenness has served as president of Servant Solutions for 26 years. Servant Solutions provides retirement and financial planning to ministers, missionaries, lay workers and faculty/staff for Christian higher education. As president, Jeff is responsible for the strategic direction of the organization’s ministry. He currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Church Alliance and has served on the Board of Directors for the Church Benefits Association.

Prior to his leadership at Servant Solutions Jeff worked in the banking industry as Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending for a large Midwestern regional bank. He also founded a local community bank and today serves several nonprofit boards and ministries as well as for-profit boards. He and his wife, Debbie, live near Indianapolis, Ind., and have three grown children and two grandchildren. 

Discuss together: What does a great board meeting look and feel like?
Self-evaluate: Conduct a short evaluation at the end of each meeting.
Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, “Lesson 2 – Ask the Gold Standard Question.”


On March 6, 2019, watch for the commentary by Dave Stone on Lesson 3, "Guarding Your Pastor’s Soul. Senior pastor moral failures are devastating to churches. Wise boards invest time—up front—to ensure the pastor’s soul is not neglected.”


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

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