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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

LESSON 4: Guarding Your CEO’s Soul

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Wes Willmer is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of four lessons in "Part 1: The Powerful Impact of Highly Engaged Boards.”



LESSON 4 OF 40 - Guarding Your CEO’s Soul
Wise boards invest time—up front—to ensure their CEO’s soul is not neglected.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: Boards and CEOs that prioritize soul care will not prevent all crisis situations from happening, but they can, in many cases, help their leaders steer clear of spiritual disasters. In so doing, they also preserve God’s honor and reputation and position the communities they serve for vibrant spiritual growth. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 4, pages 20-26:
• Soul care is “the thoughtful and careful attention to the inner being of the individual.” (Jenni Hoag)
• “In many cases, soul care does not make the board agenda until a crisis happens.”
• “As the CEO goes, so goes the ministry. And, as the soul goes, so goes the CEO.” (Stephen Macchia) 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Perhaps nothing shatters the work of ministry more than the moral failure of a ministry’s CEO. This chapter (interestingly positioned as the fourth of 40 lessons) urges ministry boards to come alongside their CEO—and help guard his or her soul.

I’ve thought a lot about soul care and a leader’s leanings toward or away from God. (Editor’s note: See Willmer’s new book, Stuff and Soul: Mastering the Critical Connection.) The materialistic and sinful desires of the heart can actually be transformed by the Spirit into desire for the things of God. Only God in Christ can by His Spirit infinitely satisfy the longings of our souls. So we must train our souls to recognize this reality.

What can boards do to protect and encourage their CEOs in God-honoring leadership? This lesson lists 10 very practical considerations (guardrails) that should be discussed and reviewed by the board and/or board chair and the CEO. Example: “Encourage the CEO to be at home more nights during the week than out for ministry responsibilities. Ignore this rule at the peril of the organization.” 

A fourth-century Christian pastor and philosopher, Gregory of Nyssa, described the soul’s desires as a river, and at the end of the river is God. Yet channels in the river can divert us from our journey and eventually our desire-river is completely dried up before it reaches God. Board members—also—must model to CEOs that they, too, are on this journey toward God, our Only Hope! 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY WESLEY WILLMER:


WESLEY WILLMER, PhD, CCNL, has served with or for various Christian ministries for five decades and is known as a pioneer among Christian leaders in encouraging Christians to follow God’s plan for money, giving, and asking. Wes has initiated and directed more than $1 million in research grants to study nonprofit practices, and he has been the author, coauthor, editor, or editor-in-chief of over 23 books and many professional journal articles and publications, including: Stuff and Soul: Mastering the Critical Connection (2020), The Prospering Parachurch, Revolution in Generosity, The Choice: The Christ-Centered Pursuit of Kingdom Outcomes, and The Council: A Biblical Perspective on Board Governance. Fund Raising Management magazine selected him to write on the future of funding religion for its twenty-fifth anniversary issue. 

Willmer has held executive leadership positions at Biola University, ECFA, Far East Broadcasting Company, Mission Increase Foundation, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Roberts Wesleyan College, Seattle Pacific University, and Wheaton College (Ill.), and he was a faculty member at each of these educational institutions. His board involvement includes board chair of Christian Stewardship Association, board vice chair of ECFA, founding board member and executive committee member of Christian Leadership Alliance, board member of CASE International Journal of Educational Advancement, and consultant to other boards. 

TO DO TODAY: 
• Discuss with your CEO the 10 steps for soul care listed in this lesson. What is your CEO’s honest self-assessment of his or her spiritual journey? How can the board help?
• Inspire your board to read at least one book on soul care. (See the suggestions in the lesson.)
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, “Lesson 4: Guarding Your CEO’s Soul.”



NEXT WEDNESDAY: On 
Feb. 5, 2020, watch for the commentary by Reid Lehman on Lesson 5, “Dashboards Are Not a Secret Sauce for Sound Governance. Too often the use of dashboards does not clearly communicate the past and give signals for the future.”
  





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

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

LESSON 3 – The Productivity Payoff of Intentional Hospitality

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Rick Alvis is our guest blogger this week for the third of four lessons in "Part 1: The Powerful Impact of Highly Engaged Boards.”
THE BELL CURVE OF A BOARD MEETING

LESSON 3 OF 40 - The Productivity Payoff of Intentional Hospitality
Create hospitable and productive board environments. 

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 3, the authors note that it is highly important for a board to get to know one another in order to make board meetings even more productive. Board meetings are likely more productive if board members know where others are coming from.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 3, pages 13-19: 
• When boards fail to take the time and effort to nurture hospitality and a productive environment…mission-focused governance can naturally become lost.
It is important to discern who on your board or staff is specially enabled by God to practice hospitality—use them. 
• Max De Pree: “Many people seem to feel that a good board structure enables high performance. This is simply not so. What’s crucial is the quality of our personal relationships. The [board chair] and the [CEO] set the tone for good relationships….”  

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
Not until I read this chapter had I ever thought about boardsmanship and how it relates to hospitality. Board meetings are for business. In my mind hospitality happened outside the board meeting. Not so. Hospitality can start in the boardroom and hopefully expands further outside the boardroom. Nurturing strong personal relations inside and outside the boardroom is of high importance. This includes working seriously at the growth, needs, and potential of board members—and not just the board members, but the CEO as well. 

Creating an impactful board agenda can keep a board meeting fresh. Unfortunately, some boards have fixed agendas—and don’t you dare challenge it or change it! Max De Pree’s “Bell Curve of a Board Meeting” makes lots of sense. Keeping critical agenda items in the high energy part of the meeting ensures meaningful engagement. We can structure our board meeting agendas more creatively—and thus maximize the time in our meetings when members are most productive.

Saying thanks to the board and practicing servanthood are also of utmost importance. De Pree says it well: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The second is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become servant and a debtor.” Leaders need to remove the cap of arrogance, and instead, wear the cap of humbleness, learner, and servant. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY RICK ALVIS:

RICK ALVIS is President/CEO of Wheeler Mission Ministries, Indianapolis, Ind. He has served the homeless and addicted for 40 years. He began his career with the Evansville Rescue Mission where he worked for 13 years before coming to Wheeler Mission in 1990. In his tenure in Indianapolis, he has directed a path of growth and outreach to the neediest citizens of Indiana, increasing the number of services offered and extending programs to men, women, and children. Under his leadership, three organizations have merged with Wheeler Mission in order to provide more effective care for Hoosiers in need of vital services. Setting Wheeler Mission on a solid financial path has allowed Wheeler Mission to expand programs and the number of staff by growing a balanced budget from around $650,000 in 1990 to over $15 million in 2019 and an increase in staff from 16 in 1990 to nearly 200 today.

Rick has served Citygate Network (formerly the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions) in several capacities, including Secretary/Treasurer, Vice Chairman, and Chairman of the Board from 2003–2009, the longest serving Chair/President in the Association’s history. He has served on the Board of Directors of ECFA as Secretary and is a 2016 Sagamore of the Wabash recipient.

TO DO TODAY: 
• Review your next board agenda closely. Are you allowing for hospitality, such as providing space for board members to get to know one another? 
• Is prayer just bookends to the meeting? Or, do you pause during the meeting to pray for people, pray for events, and give praise to the Lord for what He is doing through this ministry?
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 3: "The Productivity Payoff of Intentional Hospitality.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On Jan. 29, 2020, 
watch for the commentary by Wes Willmer on Lesson 4, “Guarding Your CEO’s Soul. Wise boards invest time—up front—to ensure their CEO’s soul is not neglected.”





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

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

LESSON 2 – Engage Board Members in Generative Thinking

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Bruce Johnson is our guest blogger this week for the second of four lessons in "Part 1: The Powerful Impact of Highly Engaged Boards.”


LESSON 2 OF 40 - Engage Board Members in Generative Thinking
They rely on generative thinking in their day jobs but are rarely asked to think collaboratively in the boardroom.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: If you were asked to name the three key governance functions of a board, what would be on your list? I doubt “generative” would make your list. It sure wouldn’t have been on mine, but intuitively I knew something like it was important—how to tap the ideas and problem-solving capabilities of board members. Lesson 2 introduces this fairly new concept. See page nine in the book for a clear diagram of the three key governance functions of a board.  

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 2, pages 7-12: 
• Page 10: “…most trustees add too little, too late.” 
• Page 11: “The counterintuitive high value of dwelling on the past, to understand patterns that might impact the future.” 
• Page 12 prayer: “Lord, you have blessed us with amazing men and women who have incredible hearts and minds.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
One of our board members first introduced generative thinking to our SIM USA board. It was an example of generative thinking—bring new thinking and approaches to the table. Generative thinking helps create that kind of culture of contribution within boards.

But let me ask, what percentage of your board meetings are dedicated to idea generation? If we bring people onto our boards because of the value they will bring, why is it we tap into only 50 percent or less of that value? Intentionally weave in generative thinking by dedicating specific time in your board meetings. This will significantly increase member contribution and they will become more motivated as board members. No one joins a board because they love hearing reports. People join a board because they want to make a difference, they want to contribute to an organization or church they love.

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY BRUCE JOHNSON:


For ten years, BRUCE JOHNSON has been president of SIM USA, a global mission agency in over 70 countries. At the end of February 2020, he retires from full-time ministry leadership after a 46-year career that spanned multiple organizations, including three stints as an interim CEO.  Also, for nearly a decade Bruce had a full-time consulting practice to ministry and church leaders, NextLevel Leadership, to which he will return. He will continue to work with leaders as a consultant in sifting through issues and bringing clarity to organizational and life direction.  Bruce serves on the board of ECFA and is an elder in his local church.

TO DO TODAY: 
• Select one topic, problem or idea and spend focused time at your next board meeting in open brainstorming to generate ideas for improvement or solutions. It’s not decision-making time; it’s idea-generation time.
• Add generative thinking as a regular part of your board meeting. Try to dedicate one hour or more at each board meeting to generative governance.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, “Lesson 2: Engage Board Members in Generative Thinking.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On Jan. 22, 2020, 
watch for the commentary by Rick Alvis on Lesson 3, “The Productivity Payoff of Intentional Hospitality. Create hospitable and productive board environments.”





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

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

LESSON 1 – Big Blessings Abound When Governance Faithfulness Flourishes

Welcome to More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, by Dan Busby and John Pearson. Each Wednesday, we're featuring a guest writer’s favorite snippet from the week's topic. Wayne Pederson is our guest blogger this week for the first of four lessons in "Part 1: The Powerful Impact of Highly Engaged Boards.”
LESSON 1 OF 40 - Big Blessings Abound When Governance Faithfulness Flourishes
Two stories: “The Board and the Bachelor Farmer” and “$1.5 Billion Worth of Burger Blessings!”


THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 1, the authors note that there should be great joy in serving on an effective, healthy board—and that there is great satisfaction when board members are serving faithfully in their God-given strengths.  

Board faithfulness produces positive outcomes and God’s blessings. And donors are able to discern the effectiveness of a ministry by the faithful stewardship of its board. 

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 1, pages 2-6: 
“Big blessings abound when governance faithfulness and management faithfulness flourish.”
• “It’s very important that we know and leverage the God-given strengths of every board member.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
As I moved into ministry management, my CEO told me that the Governance Committee (the committee that nominates, vets, and selects future board members) is the most important committee of the board. Their decisions will determine the direction, vision, and sustainability of the ministry for the next decade.  

Potential board members should not be pressured to serve. Neither should the selection committee grab on to whoever is available. There must be prayer, discernment, and conversation in the recruitment and selection of new board members.

At the same time…
• if a board member seems not to be in tune with the direction of the ministry, 
• if that person seems always to be taking a contrarian view of board decisions, 
• if that member is consistently the only one who votes no, 
• if the board member is not experiencing joy and passion in board stewardship,
…then the Governance Committee needs to address that concern and make adjustments to that person’s membership. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY WAYNE PEDERSON:

WAYNE PEDERSON is executive liaison for Far East Broadcasting Company. He has served in Christian broadcasting for over 50 years with Northwestern Media, Moody Broadcasting, National Religious Broadcasters, and HCJB/Reach Beyond. He serves on several boards including ECFA, NRB, The Joshua Fund, and Alliance for the Unreached. He’s married to Willi and they live in beautiful Colorado.

TO DO TODAY: 
Look for agenda items or report items that bring joy, praise, and fulfillment to the board and board members.
• If there’s a board member who appears out of step or shows a negative attitude, create an opportunity to lovingly, but honestly, challenge that individual regarding his or her role.
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, “Lesson 1: Big Blessings Abound When Governance Faithfulness Flourishes.”




NEXT WEDNESDAY: On Jan. 15, 2020, watch for the commentary by Bruce Johnson on Lesson 2, “Engage Board Members in Generative Thinking. They rely on generative thinking in their day jobs but are rarely asked to think collaboratively in the boardroom.”








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

LESSON 13 – Caution! Understand the Governance Pendulum Principle

Welcome to  More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog ,  a 40-week journey through the new book,  More Lessons From the Nonprofit Board...