Wednesday, November 13, 2019

LESSON 39 – Don’t Stretch Credulity With BHAGs and Stretch Goals

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. Lisa Penberthy is our guest blogger this week for the third of four lessons in "Part 10: Boards That Lead.”

LESSON 39 OF 40 – Don’t Stretch Credulity With BHAGs and Stretch Goals 
The actual achievement of audacious goals is very uncommon.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 39, the authors caution board members that stretch goals and audacious targets—referred to by churches as Big Holy Audacious Goals (BHAGs)—can even with the purest of intentions, and the great aspirations of a senior pastor, put the church in danger.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 39, pages 210-213:
• “…some churches employ stretch goals as a magical formula to ‘resuscitate or transform an ailing’ strategy.”
• “But before your board approves a fly-to-the-moon strategic plan, be sure your church is in step with God’s leading.”

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16 (NKJV)

It is a fine line to balance a life—wise as serpents and harmless as doves—and in the boardroom of a church it may be seen as shrewd administration. Church boards must make decisions with intentionality—like that of sheep in the midst of wolves—all the while being wise like a serpent and pure like a dove. 

Shrewd administration is the Kingdom-minded approach to confronting the BHAGs of a senior pastor. When a senior pastor comes in with a stretch goal, it is the board members’ role to be intentional, ask questions, press in, and determine if the goal will further the mission or harm the mission. It is also the board members’ responsibility to be of gentle spirit—without being walked over—while being willing to take a risk without being taken advantage of. 

Audacious goals are rarely achieved, especially in the midst of new leadership, decline, or transition. Trust your board members, allow them to press and ensure that “…your church is in step with God’s leading.” 

REV. LISA R. PENBERTHY is the Leadership Education & Training Coordinator for The U.S. Foursquare Church and is an adjunct faculty member at Life Pacific University and SoCAL U, a local ministry institute, where she teaches leadership courses and Foursquare Heritage and Polity. In addition, she serves on multiple boards focusing on community and missional efforts as well as leadership development.

Prior to her role in leadership education and training, she served in various roles throughout the Foursquare movement including director of operations for the Foursquare U.S. Church, and Church Health facilitator. Throughout her years in ministry, Lisa has served alongside her husband in the local church as co-pastor. 

Lisa has earned a B.A. from Life Bible College, now Life Pacific University, a M.Div. from The King’s Seminary, now The King’s University and a MBA from Corban University. 

• Ask yourself the question: Does your board know they have the authority to say, “no” or “let’s do that a little different”?
• Steward what God has called you to lead—through the lens of “shrewd administration.” 
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 39, “Don’t Stretch Credulity With BHAGs and Stretch Goals.”

NEXT WEDNESDAY: On Nov. 20, 2019, watch for the commentary by Dan Bolin on Lesson 40, “A Board Prayer.” (Note: Many boards read this prayer together at the beginning of every church board meeting.)


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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