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.’”

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! 

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.

• 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?”


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

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