Wednesday, October 30, 2019

LESSON 37 – Is Your Board Color-Blind to Hazardous Condition Signs?

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. Danny de Armas is our guest blogger this week for the first of four lessons in "Part 10: Boards That Lead.”




LESSON 37 OF 40 – Is Your Board Color-Blind to Hazardous Condition Signs?
What color is your boardroom flag?

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 37, we read about the different flags that fly during church board meetings. The colors represent the atmosphere in the room. A red flag means no progress or advancement; a yellow flag means be careful because there is potential danger ahead; and a green flag means put the pedal to the floor and take advantage of the opportunity to make progress.  

It is important for board members to understand the various flags that fly so they can respond accordingly. Failure to understand that meetings vary in color constantly can be the cause of significant conflict between church board members or between the board and the pastoral team.  

Recognizing the current color and knowing the factors that led to that color can help board members address the issues that most often create hazardous or halting situations. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 37, pages 200-203:
“In every board meeting there are flags that fly.”
• “Boards that know the color of the flag are in a position to more readily address issues that may cause ‘hazardous conditions.’”
• “Yellow flags are on the income statement. Red flags are on the balance sheet.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
The atmosphere in the room is often the most important factor in having an effective meeting. When the green flag dominates a meeting, I leave the meeting with the “wind at my back.” When red or yellow flags are more dominate, I leave drained and weary.  

There are some obvious reasons we encounter yellow or red flags. Two common circumstances I’ve encountered—that negatively affect atmosphere—are when there’s existing conflict between board members or when any board member arrives at a meeting with an unstated but very purposeful agenda. We should be careful to avoid these situations when possible.  

Sensitivity to the atmosphere is one of the most critical competencies for any board member. This competency is like emotional intelligence but with application more towards a room of people not just an individual. Some people feel a room easily and others have little or no sensitivity to the atmosphere. One who is more aware of atmosphere will be able to make a speedier adjustment as the atmosphere changes during a meeting. This can be very useful to move the meeting back to green quickly and appropriately.  


In time, we can all learn to avoid the natural red flag factors. Doing so will keep our meetings productive and pleasant—ensuring continued participation by high capacity leaders. 
  
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DANNY de ARMAS:


DANNY de ARMAS is the Senior Associate Pastor of First Baptist Orlando. He grew up in Orlando and was raised in the ministry where he now serves. As Senior Associate Pastor, he is responsible for the implementation of the vision as provided by the Senior Pastor and lay leaders. Danny serves on several local and national boards, including the North American Mission Board of the SBC and Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. He also serves as the chair of ECFA’s board of directors. In his spare time, Danny enjoys traveling with his wife, Betsy, spending time with his grandchildren, hunting, running marathons, and riding his Harley Davidson.  

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Evaluate your board members for sensitivity and awareness of atmosphere. Do you have any board members that are making matters worse by their insensitivity?
• Establish meeting agendas strategically to ensure green flags are flying most of the time.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 37, “Is Your Board Color-Blind to Hazardous Condition Signs?
 Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the final two ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums: Nov. 5 (S. California) and Nov. 12 (Atlanta).






NEXT WEDNESDAY: On Nov. 6, 2019, watch for the commentary by David Ashcraft on Lesson 38, “Leverage the 80/20 Rule in the Boardroom. Invest 80% of your board work on future ministry opportunities—not rehashing the past.”

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, October 23, 2019

LESSON 36 – You Made Me Better Than I Was

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. Jim Masteller is our guest blogger this week for the sixth of six lessons in "Part 9: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”


LESSON 36 OF 40 – You Made Me Better Than I Was 
Church board experiences should leave all participants better than they were.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: The co-authors ask, “How can boards and senior pastors ensure that the boardroom experience will make everyone better than they were?” The answer: “It all starts with relationships.”

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 36, pages 194-197:
• “Max De Pree said, ‘Many people seem to feel that a good board structure enables high performance. This is simply not so.’”
• “He suggests that high impact church boards ‘spend reflective time together, they are vulnerable with each other, they challenge each other in love, and deal with conflicts as mature adults.’”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Over the years in various board roles, I’ve observed that closeness must be cultivated. I’ve noticed that the best boards are very intentional about attending to three areas. Board members must be:
   • Emotionally healthy
   • Spiritually healthy
   • Relationally healthy

Before we invite people onto boards, we should discern if they are healthy in these three critical areas. Healthy board members will create healthy boardrooms.

Trusting each other is a fundamental key of relational health. As a board chair, when I have sensed that something is amiss—I’ll pause and reflect, “Hey! What’s going on here?” So we’ll stop and talk and then pray. 

This year, when my term ended on our church board, the elders invited me to serve in a new role—board chaplain. We meet together to attend to both spiritual and relational health at 6 p.m.—a full hour before the 7 p.m. board meeting begins. I ask, “What’s going on in your life?” There’s freedom to be transparent. We share together and we have communion together.

In between board meetings, I meet one-on-one with board members—encouraging them in their emotional, spiritual, and relational journeys. My wife and I also make it a priority to have dinner with each elder and spouse several times a year.

Our goal is to inspire board members to bring the values and experiences of our 6 p.m. meeting into our 7 p.m. meeting! This has helped us enjoy board meetings that are stimulating—not irritating! 
  
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JIM MASTELLER:


JIM MASTELLER, D.Min., a licensed marriage and family therapist, is the founder of the Center for Individual and Family Therapy (CIFT) in Southern California. He served as an Army chaplain for 20 years, a pastor for nine years, and has seen CIFT grow over 28 years to five offices and 75 therapists. He continues to provide oversight for CIFT while carrying a limited case load. Masteller also serves on the board of Overseas Missionary Fellowship International, and previously was the elder board co-chair at Rock Harbor Church, where he now serves as elder board chaplain.

 TO-DO TODAY: 
• Discern one or two intentional next steps that will help board members in their emotional, spiritual, and relational journeys.
• Self-assess: So far, has my personal experience on the church board enriched my life—and made be better than I was before? (And have I enriched the lives of other board members?)
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 36, “You Made Me Better Than I Was.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).







NEXT WEDNESDAY: On Oct. 30, 2019, watch for the commentary by Danny de Armas on Lesson 37, “Is Your Board Color-Blind to Hazardous Condition Signs?”

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, October 16, 2019

LESSON 35 – Common Misconception of Board Members

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. Frank Borst is our guest blogger this week for the fifth of six lessons in "Part 9: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”



LESSON 35 OF 40 – Common Misconception of Board Members
Understanding board member myths can lead to improved governing effectiveness.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 35, the authors note that many board members (and senior pastors) have misconceptions about what is actually required of the role. Thankfully, through healthy dialogue and education, a church board can go from a collection of individuals to becoming a high-performance team that effectively guides the senior pastor, staff, and congregation to transform surrounding communities with the life-changing message of Jesus.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 35, pages 188-193:
Serving on a church board is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it is a work for only the most committed, mature believer (see 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9). The authors have correctly identified five governance misconceptions that limit a board member’s effectiveness:
• Misconception #1. Board members know exactly what to do.
And why would they? Most new board members have never served on a board or believe their for-profit board experience has adequately prepared them for service. Church boards typically meet monthly (at least they should), and must manage a spiritual weight not experienced in a for-profit role.

• Misconception #2. Board members have a great deal of free time.
No, board members do not have a bunch of free time. To the contrary. Chances are you’ve selected a person to be on your church board because they are accomplished professionally, personally, and spiritually. They have learned to steward their time well.  As a result, they’re giving their board service a priority that supersedes other competing initiatives. Because God is calling you to assemble the best board possible, you’ve heeded Benjamin Franklin’s advice: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Don’t assume otherwise with your board members.

• Misconception #3. Most board members have a fundamental understanding of church finances.
Nothing prepares a board member for understanding a church’s finances. Sure, there are monthly income statements and balance sheets, but church finances are often prepared on a cash method and have unique requirements that pertain to designated gifts, the pastor’s housing allowance, and social security taxes. A best practice is to establish a Finance Committee that is a sub-committee of the board—and responsible for developing the financial expertise necessary to effectively steward the church’s resources and manage its risks.

• Misconception #4. Churches are simple entities.
After all, how complicated can a non-profit organization be? Like for-profits, churches are accountable to a host of regulations, tax filings, and legal requirements. Additionally, contractors and child protection require processes and systems not usually found at a for-profit. Since a primary objective for a church is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12), vibrant churches have volunteer organizations that dwarf the number of staff, making churches more—and not less—complicated.

• Misconception #5. It’s easy for church boards to avoid micromanaging.
Since board members often don’t know exactly what to do (see Misconception #1), their tendency will be to behave the way they do at work, that is, to give others direction so goals can be accomplished. Churches are often not as sophisticated as other organizations, so there will be a “gravitational pull” to get more involved, not less.  Board members need to remember they have only one employee (the senior pastor) and are ultimately responsible for the spiritual and financial health of the church. Board members must leave the day-to-day management of the organization to staff. 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Board management is a competency that every senior pastor needs to master. More than financial and legal responsibility, the board is ultimately responsible for the spiritual health of the church. That means selecting a board member is a strategic—and not a tactical—action. If your church is making a difference in the community (I certainly hope it is!), then the evil one will not stand idly by watching God do His work through your congregation (1 Peter 5:8).  

One of Satan’s most effective tools is to create dissension within the body (implosion vs. explosion), and the board is always a prime target. Selecting your board members carefully and addressing any misconceptions about their service will result in a strategic, cohesive, and collaborative board that ultimately results in life change—for staff, the congregation, and the community. Board members will be transformed as well, but you’ll have to tune in to next week’s blog to hear more about that!
  
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY FRANK BORST:


FRANK BORST is a global C-level executive known for building high-performance organizations that deliver consistent, sustained excellence.  Frank’s experience encompasses company turnarounds, start-ups, acquisitions, and building global organizations across a multitude of industries. His role as a senior executive includes developing corporate strategy, branding, culture, and execution. Frank currently serves as COO of Mariners Church in Irvine, Calif. He and his wife, Debbie, have two grown sons, and reside in San Clemente, Calif.  

 TO-DO TODAY: 
• Prepare a board member training manual that properly equips new members for service. 
• Establish a Finance Committee comprised of subject matter experts in such areas as accounting, insurance, tax, and HR that can do the financial “heavy lifting” for the board as it focuses on the vision and spiritual health of the church.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 35, “Common Misconceptions of Board Members.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).







NEXT WEDNESDAY: On Oct. 23, 2019, watch for the commentary by Dr. Jim Masteller on Lesson 36, “You Made Me Better Than I Was. Church board experiences should leave all participants better than they were.” 

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, October 9, 2019

LESSON 34 – Break Bread, Not Relationships

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. William Ankerberg is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of six lessons in "Part 9: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”



LESSON 34 OF 40 – Break Bread, Not Relationships
Building a 24/7 board culture takes time. Don’t skimp on meals or relationships.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 34, the authors note the three-point sermon for healthy boards: Eat with intentionality. Enjoy deeper relationships. Eliminate all distractions.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 34, pages 183-187:
• “Food fuels fellowship and fellowship fuels deeper relationships.”
• “A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.”
• “Healthy boards commit to device-free zones.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Food is very theological. The first disagreement in the church was over food. Some widows felt they were being ignored in the distribution of food, and so we ended up with deacons. 

When you sit down and eat someone’s food you show acceptance of that person. The first time one of my church members from India invited me over for supper, they honored me by serving goat meat. As I embraced their food, it showed approval of my friend’s culture.

Over the last three decades of my ministry, we always shared a meal at the beginning of every team meeting. This was a time to talk and catch up with each other, to share prayer requests, and just to be together.

My mentor, Lyle Schaller, taught the best way to build cohesion in a group is the out-of-town, overnight, shared experience together. (This is the result of the research that the United States military has done.) To spend this time sharing meals and sharing our lives together is a powerful bonding experience. Away together increases bonding. The common meal is even significant in church as we celebrate “The Lord’s Supper.” Food and bonding develop together in community and teams. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY WILLIAM ANKERBERG:


DR. WILLIAM ANKERBERG has served as a pastor and denominational leader for 47 years.  He is currently working as the Global Development Pastor at Journey of Faith Church in Manhattan Beach, Calif.  He also serves as the Director of Operations for Converge Southwest, an association of 120 churches.

 TO-DO TODAY: 
• Make a plan to embrace relationships at your next leadership gathering in a creative way.
• Plan an out-of-town experience for your leadership team. Include staff and board members.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 34, “Break Bread, Not Relationships.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).







NEXT WEDNESDAY: On October 16, 2019, watch for the commentary by Frank Borst on Lesson 35, "Common Misconceptions of Board Members. Understanding board member myths can lead to improved governing effectiveness."

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, October 2, 2019

LESSON 33 – “Good Is the Enemy of Great”

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. Jeffrey Salladin is our guest blogger this week for the third of six lessons in "Part 9: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.”



LESSON 33 OF 40 – “Good Is the Enemy of Great”
When great board experiences end, they should be lamented.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 33, the authors urge board members to pursue great board experiences and not settle for merely good board experiences. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 33, pages 178-182:
Unfazed by challenges. The church faced some unusually strong challenges during Tomas’ tenure. Dean said that Tomas was not fazed by the challenges. Tomas could be counted on to thoughtfully consider even the most difficult issues and support recommendations. 
Creative thought. When outside-the-box thinking was helpful, Tomas came through every time. Tomas was all about clock-building, not time-telling (using the expression popularized by Jim Collins in Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't).

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
“We play for an audience of one!” I’ll never forget the first time I heard those words. I played football at Azusa Pacific University and my coach was utilizing a robust monologue (actually, he was yelling!) to remind us of our audience. He told us that our true audience wasn’t the crowd or our classmates or our parents or our teammates or even our coaches: our audience was the gracious, sovereign, and good Creator of the universe and, if we would play for Him alone, we would experience joy and power. 

Those words impacted my mind and, through the years, transformed my heart as well. Perhaps the sin I struggle with the most is, indeed, the idolatry of accomplishment. I still, at times, feel the need to succeed in order to prove a point or build a resume or somehow look good. But, in that moment on the football field, I felt a strange freedom from the need to achieve. Instead of trying to prove something, I felt compelled to glorify the Triune God of the universe. By God’s grace, my idolatrous desire to merely impress others has diminished through the years and, wonderfully, my joy in pleasing God has increased. 

Like Tomas in Lesson 33, church boards face unrelenting challenges that require creative thinking. After serving on my church’s elder board for many years, I believe that the strength to endure challenges and the courage to engage and deploy creative thinking comes when the board finds its satisfaction in the ultimate audience: our Heavenly Father who sent his Son to conquer our sin and the Holy Spirit to indwell us. When we walk with the urgent desire to please God, when our highest good is enjoying God, and when we find our rest in Him, He gives us all we need to endure and thrive. 

This separates good boards and great boards. Good boards run efficiently and manage money and expectations and things like that, but Great boards—boards that lead and envision and do the hard work of shepherding and stewarding—exist when they are focused on pleasing their ultimate audience. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JEFFREY SALLADIN:


JEFFREY SALLADIN serves as a Lay Elder at Citizens Church in Plano, Texas, and professionally, leads the Dallas office of 49 Financial, a values-based financial planning firm. 

Prior to serving at Citizens Church, Jeffrey served on the Elder Board at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, for many years and also served on the Pastor’s Council at Blue Route Vineyard in Media, Pa. He has also enjoyed a long career in private equity, investment banking, and legal practice. He holds a law degree from Rutgers University and an undergraduate degree from Azusa Pacific University. He lives near Dallas with his family. 

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Ask an accountability partner to assess for whom you are performing. If the answer is difficult to hear, it’s OK. God is good and sovereign and will run to your contrite spirit. 
• Schedule quarterly assessments where your board speaks into each other’s lives and challenges each other to find their hope and value and joy in God alone. 
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 33, “Good Is the Enemy of Great.”
• Inspire your board members to enrich their governance competencies at the ECFA Excellence in Governance Forums (eight cities, Fall 2019).






NEXT WEDNESDAY: 
On October 9, 2019, watch for the commentary by William Ankerberg on Lesson 34, “Break Bread, Not Relationships. Building a 24/7 board culture takes time. Don’t skimp on meals or relationships.”

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.