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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

LESSON 11 - Tap! Tap! Tap!

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, 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 Macchia is our guest blogger this week for the first of four lessons in "Part 4: Epiphanies in the Boardroom.”
LESSON 11 OF 40 - Tap! Tap! Tap!
When the Spirit nudges your board, does He hear a busy signal?

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 11, we are challenged to remain prayerful and attentive to the fresh movements of God’s Spirit in all aspects of our board relationships and specifically our meetings. And, we are reminded that God is an initiating God, who is tapping on the shoulders of our heart at all times. 

As a board, the more we are willing to look to God in prayer, the more we will remain united in relationship, mission, and service to the body of Christ. Healthy boards know that it’s best to remain mindful of God, especially when they meet together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

This lesson is critical to the spiritual vitality of any Christian ministry board. It’s the most essential ingredient and yet the most frequently ignored. Prayerfully reflect together on this important lesson and consider God’s invitation as a team.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 11, pages 54-58:
 “When the Spirit nudges your board, does He hear a busy signal?”
• “The nudge of the Holy Spirit is the ‘Tap! Tap! Tap!’ of the Spirit on our hearts.” (Stephen A. Macchia)
• “Share prayers of thanksgiving to celebrate God’s hand in achieving a significant goal. The arms of your CEO may be weary. Pray after your board hears the CEO’s report or when you sense the load is heavy.
• “When a board prays regularly, sincerely, and specifically during board meetings, God will answer these prayers and He will be glorified.”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
By far the most important role of any ministry board is to learn how to discern the fresh, empowering presence of the Spirit. This is not something most leaders are accustomed to, unfortunately. Instead, we live most of our days functioning on our human strength, insight, and decisiveness. We may begin or end our day with a short time in Scripture and in prayer, but the rest of our day—we are in the driver’s seat.

So it is with boards led by well-meaning, gracious-hearted, thought-provoking leaders. But, without a continual dependence upon God, we ultimately shift toward human wisdom and without meaning any harm, we end up missing the “tap, tap, tap” of God’s Spirit. It’s the “tap” that’s most important! That’s God at work, and we don’t want to miss His presence, power, direction, and peace.

As you reflect on the significance of this chapter, ask yourself and your board “when was the last time we were totally dependent upon God?” As you sit with that question, consider how to posture your meetings toward attending to the Spirit and responding to His loving initiatives.


THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY STEPHEN A. MACCHIA:


Stephen A. Macchia is 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 12 books, including the Baker best-seller, Becoming A Healthy Church, as well as Crafting A Rule of Life, and Broken and Whole, both with IVP.  

TO-DO TODAY: 
• What is the state of your soul and how are you growing in reliance upon the Spirit of God in your personal life? Do you have a prayer closet where you frequently practice silence and solitude, discerning the presence, power, and peace of Christ?
• Become the “Tap! Tap! Tap!” member of your ministry board team and remind your colleagues and friends to pause often throughout your next meeting and attend to the fresh move of God’s Spirit together. Your board experience will never be the same! 
  



NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On Feb. 7, 2018, watch for Mike Pate's commentary on Lesson 12, "Vision Growth Must Equal Leader Growth. Caution! Vision-casting often backfires."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, January 24, 2018

LESSON 10 - Prioritize Prayer Over Problems

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, 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. Jeff Lilley is our guest blogger this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 3: Nominees for the Board Member Hall of Fame.”


LESSON 10 OF 40 - Prioritize Prayer Over Problems
Create space for prayer—serious supplications for a serious work.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 10, the authors discuss how we spend so much time focusing on the work our organization does for God, and how, sometimes, we can minimize God Himself. The concept is that prayer shouldn’t just be a token ritual, or simply an agenda item (somewhere between the “Call to Order” and “Approval of Minutes”).  

Instead, this chapter suggests that how we come before God affects every aspect of the meeting that follows. It’s almost as if we’re acknowledging that God actually cares about what happens in our board meetings.  

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 10, pages 48-51:
 Dan Bolin’s prayer! It is inspired—and you can get it and use it for free! (See Lesson 40.)
• “Christ-centered governance has a boardroom distinctive that requires the right theology and serious intentionality about prayer.”
• “When you take time to pray…God promises to hear and act.”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
The first time I read Dan Bolin’s board prayer in Lesson 40, I instantly wondered if he had somehow secretly been listening in on every board meeting I’ve ever attended. It was as if he wrote the prayer because of events and issues our board has faced.  

It’s clear that Bolin knows well the challenges, temptations, and curveballs that come when you fill a room with influential men and women, and then ask them to come together as one body.

Though this chapter is about a time when I forgot to bring  “A Board Prayer” to our board meeting, I can assure you that it has never been forgotten since! 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JEFF LILLEY:


Jeff Lilley is the president of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, which serves the poor and broken throughout Seattle and King County in Washington State. Jeff serves on multiple other boards, and has been active as a board coach for the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust’s Board Leadership and Development Program. He also has 17 grandkids, who are all better looking than yours. His favorite books include The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, Humility by Andrew Murray, and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Jeff can be found on Instagram @JeffL7, or the Mission’s website here.

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Make photocopies of “A Board Prayer” (Lesson 40), one per board member, and have it ready for the next board meeting!
• Buy copies of your favorite book on prayer and send one to every board member, with a note that you are praying for them. (Which, of course, means you better actually pray for them!)
  



NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On Jan. 31, 2018, watch for Steve Macchia's commentary on Lesson 11, "Tap! Tap! Tap! When the Spirit nudges your board, does he hear a busy signal?"

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

LESSON 9: Serve with Humility and Experience God’s Presence

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, 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. Reid Lehman is our guest blogger this week for the second of three lessons in "Part 3: Nominees for the Board Member Hall of Fame.”

LESSON 9 OF 40 - Serve with Humility and Experience God’s Presence
One board chair creates a holy moment for his CEO Search Committee.

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 9, we’re reminded of the critical importance of humility, both as a follower of Jesus Christ and in board and CEO leadership.  

Read how an applicant for a rescue mission CEO position focused on humility in his job application, when most applicants would have focused on building their brand. A top book that new CEO asked his staff team to read was Humility, by Andrew Murray.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 9, pages 44-47: 
 Humility, by Andrew Murray, is a dangerous book and an important one. God is constantly seeking for the humble who will surrender their will and life to him.   
• The search committee used spiritual discernment over ordinary decision-making in selecting their new CEO and one member said a year later, “I will go to my grave remembering that holy moment as one of the top spiritual experiences of my life.”
• General Norman Schwarzkopf: “Leaders need two things—character and strategy.  If you can do only one, drop strategy.” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
This chapter inspired me to read Murray’s book. It’s powerful!  
   • Humility before people is the only real proof that our humility before God is more than just a figment of our imagination.  
   • The energy behind all spiritual growth . . . comes from a conviction that all we have comes from God.  
   • Let’s look at difficult people as God’s instrument for our purification.
   • The humility that brings a man or a woman to the point of being nothing before God at the same time removes every obstacle to faith.

Board leadership is a “group sport.” If we believe that God imparts wisdom by his spirit in a multitude of counselors, then we’ll come to board meetings more intent on hearing God’s voice in the group—than on pushing our point of view.   

My most fulfilling board meetings (both while serving as a board member and as a CEO) have come when no one pushed his/her agenda. All of us humbly sought God’s opinion, and His voice was made clear as those present shared what they heard from Him. When your board knows it has heard God’s voice, board members will have joy and confidence in the decision.  

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY REID LEHMAN:












Reid Lehman has served for more than 30 years as the CEO of Miracle Hill Ministries, a comprehensive ministry of rescue missions, addiction recovery centers, children’s homes, and foster care families caring for more than 650 children, women and men in South Carolina.  A Policy Governance® trainer/facilitator, Reid chairs the governance committee of the Together SC board, and serves as a governance coach with the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, training boards of rescue missions across the country.  He is the author of two books: God Wears His Own Watch and Are Those the Words You Meant to Use? His favorite books include, Pursuing God’s Will Together, by Ruth Haley Barton, and Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster.  

TO-DO TODAY: 
• Download Humility, by Andrew Murray (only 59 pages long, it’s in the public domain). Consider reading it in your devotions this week.  
• Answer the question, “How would you approach your board discussions and your board or CEO role differently if you were practicing true humility and listening for God’s voice?”
  



NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On Jan. 24, 2018, watch for Jeff Lilley's commentary on Lesson 10, "Prioritize Prayer Over Problems: Create space for prayer--serious supplications for a serious work."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

LESSON 8: Listen to the Wisdom of Many Counselors

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, 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 three lessons in "Part 3: Nominees for the Board Member Hall of Fame.”

LESSON 8 OF 40 - Listen to the Wisdom of Many Counselors
Don't ask board members to vote against God!

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 8, we learn the importance of a leader’s ability to listen to the counsel of others.  Yes, leaders are supposed to lead and produce a great strategy, hopefully from the Lord. However, the greatest leadership skill is not speaking. The greatest leadership skill is learning to listen.  We as leaders must lead in a way that invites wise counsel from others, especially our board.  

Ideas, plans and strategies must be clearly and compellingly presented to the board, in a way that allows board members to discuss, discern, possibly dissect, then decide.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 8, pages 40-43: 
 “The board wants you to lead, but it’s their job to define the parameters.”
• There is wisdom in many counselors. (Proverbs 15:22)
• “Listen, listen, listen.”

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
You’ve heard: God gave us two ears and one mouth. So we need to listen more than we speak. More wisely, James, the brother of Jesus, said: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak.”

I’m not, by nature, a good listener. I have to work at concentrating on the one who is speaking. I’ve been embarrassed at times when I’ve mentally checked out of a discussion, only to be called on to respond.

This is not good if you, as a leader, are accountable to a board. Good leaders take wise counsel. They pay careful attention to the advice of others and will process thoughtfully what is being said. 

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY WAYNE PEDERSON:













WAYNE PEDERSON has served his entire career in Christian broadcasting, leading radio ministries at University of Northwestern, Moody Broadcasting, and most recently Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB). He’s held leadership positions in National Religious Broadcasters and Mission America Coalition. He recently stepped aside as president/CEO of Reach Beyond. He likes to say he has moved from management to leadership; and now from leadership to influence. He currently serves on the board of NRB, The Joshua Fund, and ECFA. 


TO-DO TODAY: 
• As leader: Make an intentional commitment to listen to the words of others.
As board member: Resist distractions. Focus on the discussion and issues that impact the ongoing effectiveness of the organization. 
  



NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On Jan. 17, 2018, watch for Reid Lehman's commentary on Lesson 9, "Serve With Humility and Experience God's Presence. One board chair creates a holy moment for his CEO search committee."

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.




Wednesday, January 3, 2018

LESSON 7: Typos Matter!

Welcome to Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom Blog, a 40-week journey through the new book, 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. Jim Galvin is our guest blogger this week for the fourth of four lessons in "Part 2: Boardroom Tools, Templates, and Typos."

LESSON 7 OF 40 - Typos Matter!
“Pious shoddy is still shoddy.”

THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK:
 In Lesson 7, we are reminded that proofreading matters. It doesn’t have to take that long and it doesn’t have to cost anything. Often, someone already on your team is an effective proofreader.

We also learn about the value of using a proven stylebook together with a stylesheet developed just for your organization. The stylesheet will save more time than it takes to develop it.

Simply put—board documents, minutes, and policy manuals filled with typos make you and the organization look bad.

MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 7, pages 33-37: 
 “Graciously, my board chair said nothing about the typos that ricocheted across every page.”
• John Wesley: “'Our responsibility is to give the world the right impression of God.’ Well-proofed board materials help you do that!”
• Prayer: “Lord, thank you for publishers who give us your Holy Bible without typos!” 

MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
There is a certain sense of hollow victory in finding a typo in a professionally published book or a newspaper like USA Today. None of your friends will really care, yet it does reflect poorly on the publisher, especially if the typos are frequent.

Chapter 7 did a good job at explaining why proofreading is impotent. I will focus on the how. Typos make the board and organization look ignernt.

Use spell check. Today’s word processing programs have robust spell checking and grammar features that automatically correct typos. But sometimes they substitute a wrong word and unintentionally introduce errors. They also may have difficulty distinguishing between words like for, four, and fore. At any rate, ignoring the squiggly red lines underneath words in your document is stoopid.

Get fresh eyes. After your writing and editing is complete, find one or two people with a gift for finding typos and ask them to proof it. “Intuitive” people tend to do worse than “Sensing” personalities at this. You can find out more by looking up the Briggs and Stratton Personality Type Indicator.

Normally, I would ask my wife to do a read-through for me on a proposal to a client or a guest blog post, but no time today.

Gym Galvin

THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JIM GALVIN:













James C. Galvin, Ed.D. is an organizational consultant and facilitator specializing in strategy, board governance, and leadership development. As an author, Jim has been published by Zondervan, Tyndale House, Thomas Nelson, Baker, NavPress, Moody Press, and InterVarsity Press. He is also the co-creator and senior editor of the best-selling Life Application Study Bible. Jim’s most recent book is I’ve Got Your Back, a leadership parable with a compelling story that delivers a concise theology of leadership and followership. He is also the managing partner of the Alliance for Board Effectiveness.


TO-DO TODAY: 
• Identify the people around you who have a gift for detailed work and ask for their help.
• For bigger projects, locate one or two professional proofreaders looking for new clients.
• Never attempt to proofread your own writing. 
  



NEXT WEDNESDAY:

On Jan. 10, 2018, watch for Wayne Pederson's commentary on Lesson 8, "Listen to the Wisdom of Many Counselors. Don't ask board members to vote against God!

Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email (just above the date/day). Visit the Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom webpage and order extra 
copies for your board members.