Wednesday, June 12, 2019

LESSON 17 – Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!

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. Tim Winters is our guest blogger this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 5: Boardroom Bloopers.”

LESSON 17 OF 40 – Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!
What’s worse than fingernails on a chalkboard? A boisterous board member at a prayer meeting.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 17, the authors note that we must deal directly with EGR (Extra Grace Required) board members.  Even on a church board, we must manage the tension we often find between truth and grace. 

If we manage this tension well, we will create a board culture of deep engagement. If we don’t manage it well, we will drift into a board no one wants to serve on.

To manage this tension well, the board chair must be given permission and have the courage to speak truth to inappropriately-behaving board members. The future of your board and church depend on it.  

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 17, pages 93-96:
 “Many boards have at least one dysfunctional board member. If you don’t know who that person is, it may be you!”
With no time in the meeting for deep engagement, “you’ll create an expectation of low expectations.”
• “Due diligence through reference checks during the board recruitment process” will save you a lot of problems later. 

I was taught at a very young age by my father, that if I didn’t have anything good to say—to not say anything at all. I have met a lot of board members who have not been taught that lesson by their fathers. In my experience, many people who talk too much are dealing with insecurity. Likewise, many people who are timid and afraid to share are dealing with insecurity as well. What a great exercise the authors give us on page 96 for fostering a culture of security on our boards.

The late Coach John Wooden, who attended Shepherd, said to me once, “Minor details—like pennies—add up.  A good banker isn’t careless with pennies; a good leader isn’t sloppy about details.”

I try to be very specific about expectations of our church staff and culture. However, I have probably dropped the ball on expectations of board members. It could be that people are late and/or annoying because there has not been a direct conversation about expectations and culture on our boards.

We all know that what gets rewarded is what gets repeated. We need to start paying closer attention to what is getting rewarded or—better yet—what is being allowed on our boards. 


TIM WINTERS is the Executive Pastor of Shepherd Church. Shepherd is a diverse multi-ethic congregation of 11,000 on three campuses in Porter Ranch, Calif.

Tim has served in this position for 27 years and has been a part of their growth from 350 people and three staff to the multi-campus church it is today with a staff of 168.

Tim has served on many boards including Hope International University, Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, Central India Christian Mission, and North American Christian Convention. Tim is also a coach with Intentional Churches and works with churches across the country to double their impact in five years.

• At the end of your next board meeting, ask a good listener to go around the table and affirm each member for at least one specific contribution in the meeting.
• Establish a list of questions to be asked of potential new board members that would indicate potential problems. (Is this person on time for meetings? A good listener? Is this person respectful of others?)
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 17, “Don’t Be Late—or Annoying!
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Governance in Excellence Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019). 

On June 19, 2019, watch for the commentary by Jon Grano 
on Lesson 18, “Never Throw Red Meat on the Board Table. Boards need advance preparation to fully address complex issues.”


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