Wednesday, August 28, 2019

LESSON 28 – Where Two or Three Are Gathered on Social Media...

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. Eric Wakeling is our guest blogger this week for the second of four lessons in "Part 8: Boardroom Worst Practices.”



LESSON 28 OF 40 – Where Two or Three Are Gathered on Social Media...
Conflicts of interest always sound more questionable on the internet and social media.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 28, the authors remind board members that decisions made in the boardroom always sound more questionable on the internet and social media, especially those related to conflicts of interest.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 28, pages 151-155:
Busby and Pearson give four steps when a board is considering significant transactions with related parties:
   1. Exclude. All individuals with a conflict of interest, direct or indirect, should be excluded from the discussion and the vote related to the transaction.
   2. Compare. Reliable comparability information from appropriate independent sources is considered, such as competitive bids, independent appraisals, or independent expert opinions. 
   3. Determine. Determine whether the transaction is in the best interest of the church, including determining whether the transaction could be misperceived by givers, constituents, or the public. Remember, the transaction will likely be publicly disclosed. 
   4. Document. Document steps 1, 2, and 3 in a timely manner. 


(Chart from page 152. Click to read Lesson 28.)

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Conflicts of interest in the church are tough because we are a close-knit community. The early church in Acts 2 would have had a hard time with “related parties” since that included everyone. Smaller churches can have a harder time with conflicts of interest because it’s difficult to know and sometimes challenging to afford products or services outside the community. Larger churches struggle with the social media effect because more people are taking shots trying to bring them down. Everything is worse on the internet! 

We have a few board members at Calvary Church that have given us amazing deals on their services. We have to do the seemingly annoying work of getting multiple competitive bids annually but it’s worth it to be above reproach in all of our financial dealings.  

It’s important to remember that sometimes the right decision in the boardroom comes with negative reaction by some—no matter what that decision is. We must practice appropriate transparency on “related party” issues even when that transparency subjects the church to criticism.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY ERIC WAKELING:



ERIC WAKELING is the Senior Pastor of Calvary Church of Santa Ana, Calif. Calvary Church, founded in 1931, is an independent, non-denominational church in Orange County. Eric served as the Executive Pastor of Ministry for 10 years before becoming the Senior Pastor in early 2018.  He graduated with a B.A. in Christian Education from Biola University. He also holds a M.A. from Talbot School of Theology and an M.S. in Educational Leadership from California State University, Fullerton. While Eric’s primary board experience has been at Calvary Church, he has been a member of a school board and other non-profit boards, including recently joining the board of Greater Europe Mission. 

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Review your Conflict of Interest policies and disclosures—and discuss how well you follow them. 
• Resist the urge to argue with people on social media over any issue. 
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 28, Where Two or Three Are Gathered on Social Media…
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).

VIEW THE VIDEO:





NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On Sept. 4, 2019, watch for the commentary by Willie Nolte on Lesson 29, “Keeping the Boardroom Afloat. Are too many staff causing the boardroom to capsize?”

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, August 21, 2019

LESSON 27 – Defending Risks Everywhere Is Not a Strategic Plan

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. David Middlebrook is our guest blogger this week for the first of four lessons in "Part 8: Boardroom Worst Practices.”

LESSON 27 OF 40 – 
Defending Risks Everywhere Is Not a Strategic Plan
You must discuss the risk elephant in the boardroom.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 27, the authors speak to the board’s hesitancy to address risk management policies. While most boards have no problem deciding term limits, discussing operations, or delivering committee reports, risk management policies often go left untouched. 

Tragically, “the one predictable thing in any [church] is crisis.” Has your church board adequately prepared a crisis management plan with appropriate policies and procedures? 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 27, pages 146-150:
• “Most boards do not regularly focus on risks because the topic is generally not on the board’s agenda.”
• Without prioritizing risks, “major risks receive too little attention and the minor risks get too much attention.”
• “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”  

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
In our law practice, we frequently interact with churches and pastors that struggle with how to organize, plan, and develop risk management policies. Sadly, some of those churches suffer severe consequences that could have been avoided or mitigated had the board properly enacted pro-active policies. Dan Busby and John Pearson hit it out of the park by bringing this inconvenient, yet necessary, topic to the forefront. As “failing to plan is planning to fail,” the authors speak from a wealth of experience. I was elated to see the authors provide valuable wisdom in Lesson 27 to help more churches side-step the dangers associated with these common risks.  

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DAVID MIDDLEBROOK:



DAVID MIDDLEBROOK, a founder of the Church Lawyers, is an internationally recognized nonprofit and faith-based legal expert. He works as a client advisor on a wide range of legal issues including nonprofit corporate structure and governance, employment and volunteer policies, intellectual property, and compensation practices. He serves as outside general counsel to nonprofit organizations, and many others use his services as special nonprofit corporate counsel. David is a sought-after speaker on legal subjects affecting religious nonprofit organizations and is an award-winning author. 

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Make a list of risk policies that your board has tip-toed around. It could include policies for cyber security, lawsuits, sexual misconduct, an employee handbook, or children’s worker guidelines. 
• Consult with your church’s legal counsel to advise your board on the risks that churches commonly face. 
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 27, “Defending Risks Everywhere Is Not a Strategic Plan.” 
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).

VIEW THE VIDEO:  






NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On August 28, 2019, watch for the commentary by Eric Wakeling on Lesson 28, “Where Two or Three Are Gathered on Social Media… Conflicts of interest always sound more questionable on the internet and social media.”

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, August 14, 2019

LESSON 26 – Before the Board Meeting

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. Bill Hoyt is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of four lessons in "Part 7: Boardroom Best Practices.”


LESSON 26 OF 40 – Before the Board Meeting
Collaborate, then wisely plan the meeting agenda.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: The chapter’s helpful take-away comes in two parts. First, thoughtful pre-planning helps boost meeting productivity. Second, agendas, the product of thoughtful planning, are best prepared when pastor and board chair prepare them collaboratively. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 26, pages 138-143:
Three insights struck me as I read the lesson. The first was a “palm to forehead” while uttering “Duh!” We must “allow for reconnection.” While obvious to many, not so for “let’s get on with it” activists like me! 

The second, “Provide time for heavy lifting,” was an “I knew that. When did I forget it?” experience for me. Planning ahead and allotting ample time for the more important and complex agenda items is just plain wise.

The third insight that struck me was “Pray for the board meeting.” We usually remember to pray at the board meeting—but preparing for it in prayer is at least as important as praying at the meeting. 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Two thoughts occurred to me while reflecting on this lesson. The first is a cautionary tale and the second, hopefully, a word of encouragement. 

Here’s my word of caution. While either board chair or pastor preparing an agenda in isolation is less than optimum, there are two scenarios that, in my experience, are even more deadly. When two or three power brokers meet before the meeting and plan their private agenda that overrides the “official” agenda, there is “trouble in River City!” 

The corollary to that is when two or three power brokers meet in the parking lot after the board meeting and make plans that override both the agenda and board decisions of the recently adjourned meeting.

Some might argue that a meeting disciplined by a carefully planned agenda, prepared collaboratively in advance of the meeting is confining and controlling. The opposite is true. Agendas prepared with the chapter’s seven principles in mind, create a context where relationships are nurtured, items are allotted the time their importance warrants, and differences of perspective and ideas can be fully processed. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY BILL HOYT:



BILL HOYT served as pastor in three local churches and 15 years in a denominational leadership role on the regional level. He is currently President of NexStep Coaching. NexStep provides assessment and follow-up coaching for churches, denominational entities, schools, mission organizations, and secular, for-profit companies. In addition, he provides executive coaching for an international clientele of ministry and business leaders. 

TO-DO TODAY: 
• If you are not already planning agendas in a collaborative manner, get together with your counterpart (pastor, board member or CEO). Read this chapter together and agree on how you will implement the seven principles.
• Challenge all board members to pray for each board meeting frequently prior to your meeting. You might want to suggest specific prayer items based on the upcoming agenda.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 26, “Before the Board Meeting.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).

VIEW THE VIDEO:






NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On August 21, 2019, watch for the commentary by David Middlebrook on Lesson 27, “Defending Risks Everywhere Is Not a Strategic Plan. You must discuss the risk elephant in the boardroom.”

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, August 7, 2019

LESSON 25 – Address Absentee Board Member Syndrome

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. Leonard O. Leach is our guest blogger this week for the third of four lessons in "Part 7: Boardroom Best Practices.”


LESSON 25 OF 40 – Address Absentee Board Member Syndrome
There are three unhealthy ways that many church boards respond to empty chairs at board meeting. (Ho Hum. Hint. Harass)

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 25, the authors stress the view that absenteeism should not be tolerated on the church board. They list seven healthy insights that provide a more appropriate and effective response to the problem of absent board members.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 25, pages 133-137:
Recruit committed and faithful people up front to avoid absentee problems.
• Establish a written policy on board meeting attendance requirements. 
• “Affirm, Affirm, Affirm.” The authors explain, “When board colleagues affirm each other, then engagement will heighten and board service satisfaction will soar.”
• Address absentee issues early. 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
It has been my experience that many people like to wear the badge of board membership but few want to accept the burden of responsibility, particularly where attendance at meetings is concerned. Fewer still are aware of the blessing that is theirs from serving the Kingdom of God by giving faithful service through membership on the church board of directors.

Your board needs and deserves those who will faithfully invest the time to contribute to key matters of church governance by showing up at the board meetings.

Additionally, your board should be challenged with the thought of the “ministry of presence.” They should also be challenged with the truth that board membership is a blessing as board members are participating in the Kingdom of God work of “making disciples for Christ.”

Finally, as your church board continues to pursue its Kingdom of God assignment, encourage members to see the big picture and faithfully participate in every stroke that better defines, develops, and maintains that picture.  

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY LEONARD O. LEACH:


Leonard O. Leach has served 22 years as senior pastor of the 61-year-old, Mount Hebron Missionary Baptist Church of Garland, Texas, now blessed with 2,500 members.

Prior to his tenure at Mount Hebron, he served in many capacities for 19 years on staff with the late Dr. E. K. Bailey of the Concord Church Dallas.  Pastor Leach is a graduate of the former Bishop College, in Dallas, Texas, Texas A & M University in Commerce, Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is married to his childhood sweetheart, Sharon. They have two daughters, seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.


TO-DO TODAY: 
• Review board policies. Do they include a policy on attendance? If, not, write one!
• Deal with habitually absent members quickly, kindly and consistently.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 25, “Address Absentee Board Member Syndrome.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).





NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On August 14, 2019, watch for the commentary by Bill Hoyt on Lesson 26, “Before the Board Meeting. Collaborate, then wisely build the board meeting agenda.”

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.