LESSON 32 OF 40 – Loose Lips Sink the Boardroom Ship
What happens in the boardroom must stay in the boardroom.
THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 32, the authors urge board members to keep their lips sealed regarding boardroom decisions and discussions—regardless of the subject matter. Loose lips can destroy a church and its public reputation.
The authors suggest how to address loose-lipped board members:
• “Extend grace for the first offense. If the matter can be settled in a private meeting—and the offending board member admits the indiscretion and commits to never repeat the offense—perhaps the matter need not be brought to the attention of the full board.”
• “Follow the two strikes rule. In baseball, batters get three strikes before they are out. When a board member leaks confidential information and it has been addressed with the member, the second offense should be the end of the line. Be sure that your bylaws or Board Policies Manual addresses the process for asking a board member to resign for violating your board’s confidentiality policy.”
MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
In this age where there is ample misinformation floating out in cyberspace, it is not necessary to add to the data flow. Once the information is out, there is no way to reel it in. There are many issues and opportunities that your board will need to process internally. Your board does not need the pressure of outsiders to “help” the processing aspect. If a loose-lipped member of your board releases information—either good or bad—it can do irreparable harm to your church.
It should also be noted that your policies on confidentiality also apply to your pastors and the church staff. Nothing destroys the effectiveness of any board policy more deeply than seeing that policy violated by pastors and/or the staff.
As your church board continues to trust God for His protection and blessing on the church’s ministries, continue to inspire and call your board members to the highest standards of Christ-centered governance. Help your board members to see the holy connection between their fiduciary responsibilities and the importance of maintaining a God-honoring culture of integrity and effectiveness.
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DR. DON WALTER:
Prior to coming to the Pensions and Benefits office, he served pastorates in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He was a native of Iowa and a graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University, Nazarene Theological Seminary, and Webster University. Don was honored with the doctor of divinity degree by Nazarene Bible College in 2006. He also served as adjunct instructor at MidAmerica Nazarene University and taught classes in values and Biblical perspectives. Don noted that “some of my most satisfying work was with these students.”
• Review your board policies. Do you have a confidentiality statement that the board signs annually?
• If you don’t yet have a Board Policies Manual, read Lesson 5.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 32, “Loose Lips Sink the Boardroom Ship.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).
NEXT WEDNESDAY: On October 2, 2019, watch for the commentary by Jeff Salladin on Lesson 33, “Good Is the Enemy of Great. When great board experiences end, they should be lamented.”