Wednesday, March 27, 2019

LESSON 6 – Enhance Harmony by Clarifying Your Participant Hat Expectations

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. Glenn Wood is our guest blogger this week for the second of three lessons in "Part 2: Boardroom Tools and Templates.”

LESSON 6 OF 40 – Enhance Harmony by Clarifying Your Participant Hat Expectations
Understand the three board hats: Governance, Volunteer, and Participant.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 6, the authors remind board chairs, pastors, and church leaders to clearly communicate our expectations to the board on a regular basis. 

Too often leaders assume that all board members, small group leaders, high capacity volunteers, and staff will all have the same passion. This leads to incorrect assumptions, hurt feelings, and tension that will not enhance church unity—and it won’t help the church in achieving our mission. Leaders must clarify expectations for board service—especially expectations about the “Participant Hat.”

For example, board members may choose not to attend the potluck dinner, volunteer appreciation event, or leader training for a variety of reasons. While we hope board members are all dedicated to the success of the church—they may not prioritize attendance at church functions the same as other leaders—especially if expectations are not communicated in advance.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 6, pages 31-35:
I loved these statements:
   • “Guilt and shaming are a poor substitute for clarity and inspiration.” 
   • “Your board members, similar to your volunteers, will respond when you appeal to high ideals, not mixed messages.”

Both are good reminders and offer great motivation for creating an annual affirmation statement. Communication is the key to solid board relations. 

The Church Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement is a helpful tool for guiding the board as it discerns board member attendance requirements at key events in the coming year. This document can also communicate expectations for spouses of board members. 

Often times we see board members just wearing the “Governance Hat” that provides oversight for the church in key areas, such as: legal, HR, compensation, audits, and other areas. But many board members also wear the “Volunteer Hat,” serving as high capacity volunteers, Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, team leaders, and more.

Board members also wear the “Participant Hat” in the life of the church—they are attenders, members, small group members, and participants in church functions and events. So it’s especially important that board members are clear about what events—throughout the year—where their attendance is required.

The contents of the Church Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement will be different for every church, but the use of this tool will help our boards, church leaders, and staff to all be “on the same page” regarding our expectations of board members. 

While I would love to say this will eliminate all struggles on the board—it won’t! But it will significantly reduce many misunderstandings when board members are clear about board service expectations.


GLENN WOOD is the Pastor of Church Administration for Seacoast Church. Seacoast is a non-denominational church that operates in a multi-site model. Seacoast currently has 13 physical locations (in North and South Carolina) and an online campus with attendance of roughly 15,000 on a weekly basis. 

Glenn has served in this position full-time since 1995 and has served and attended the church since 1991. He oversees the administration of all campuses which includes: legal, contracts, leases, insurance, construction, and many other areas that no one else wants to deal with! He is also the staff contact for the Board of Trustees.

Glenn is also active with the Church Network where he provides oversight for the Metro Network, a group of churches with over 2,000 in weekly attendance. Network members share ideas and policies and give leadership to their roundtable and national conference meetings.

Glenn also writes the “Pastor Excel” article for the Church Network quarterly publication where he shares his knowledge of spreadsheets, MS Excel, PivotTables, training, and using technology to make church administration a little easier. He is also a regular speaker at church conferences and meetings on MS Excel and its use in the church.

• Download the Church Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement from the ECFA website and review and customize it with your board.
• Set a date for your annual review of the three “board hats” to ensure your affirmation statement is current.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, “Lesson 6 - Enhance Harmony by Clarifying Your Participant Hat Expectations.”


On April 3, 2019, watch for the commentary by Monty Kelso on Lesson 7, "Eliminate Fuzziness Between Board and Staff Roles. Keep your leaders on track with a one-page Prime Responsibility Chart.”


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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