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.
• 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:
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.
• 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.”