Wednesday, October 7, 2020

LESSON 40 – You Made Me Better Than I Was

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. Stephen A. Macchia is our guest blogger this week for the fifth of five lessons in "Part 10: Building a 24/7 Board Culture.” And during this COVID-19 era, the role of the board becomes even more critical. We pray that your board will have God-honoring wisdom as you spiritually discern next steps.

LESSON 40 OF 40: You Made Me Better Than I Was
Board experiences should leave all participants better than they were.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 40, the authors remind us that what matters most about all Christian nonprofit boards is the quality of their relationships. It’s their social capital that brings out the best of each member of the team, the team as a whole, and the ministry they serve together. When relationships lead board members into friendships with one another, their shared effectiveness deepens, grows, and flourishes exponentially. 

Just like in all healthy marriages, families, and friendships, so too in small groups, teams, communities, churches, and boards—we all share the same priority: relationships. And yet it’s so easy to lose sight of this big idea when we are engaged in meaningful work and get caught up in the structure, strategy, and service of our nonprofit.

Such a fitting conclusion to a powerful text. Relationships matter. They bring out our best when nurtured and strengthened around the board table. Each member and the entire board is better as a result.  

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 40, pages 217-220: 
• “The goal of every board should be to create an atmosphere where the board is better than it was before.”
• “The CEO and the board chair are ‘to set the tone for good relationships, but it is up to every individual on the board to develop, nurture, and polish good relationships.’” (Max De Pree)
 “Grant us the joy of arriving at adjournment closer to one another because we are closer to You.” (Dan Bolin)

It’s so easy to fall into functional relationships as boards. For multiple reasons, we focus more on the tasks at hand, desirous of being effective and productive, and ultimately assume that our relationships will form around our mission and service. But, when we don’t take the time to get to know one another as friends of God and friends of one another, we miss the joy of true and lasting relationships. 

Boards need to be filled with opportunities to share the state of our soul, the quality of our broader lives (beyond the board), and the needs of those for whom we love and serve. Learning how to share from the heart, listen attentively, and respond compassionately are relationship basics that serve boards well. 

The 50+ “one anothers” of the Scriptures (love one another, encourage one another, pray for one another, etc.) provide the best commentary for how boards are to build relationships. Only then will we be “with” one another, and also “for” one another as a board. Watch how your board flourishes when the quality of your friendships leads to laughter, tears, stories, and prayer—some of the best evidences of God in the center of your relationships.


STEPHEN A. MACCHIA is the founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. and the director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is the author of 15 books, including the Baker bestseller Becoming A Healthy Church, Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP), and Broken and Whole (IVP). Steve is on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. 

• List the names of your fellow board members and write down what you know of their personal lives. Note the gaps in your awareness and reach out to those for whom you desire more information about their family, vocation, hobbies, and interests. 
 Become a catalyst for ever-deepening friendships around your board table. Encourage your CEO and board chair to take time each meeting for personal sharing and prayer for one another. Note the ways in which relationships become central to your effectiveness.
 Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, Lesson 40, “You Made Me Better Than I Was.”


On Oct. 14, 2020, watch for the commentary by Michael Martin, ECFA President, on the Bonus Lesson, “How Healthy Is Your Board? Assessing your board’s performance is the first step to improving it.” 

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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