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. Gregg Hunter and Ed McDowell are our guest bloggers this week for the third of three lessons in "Part 9: Holy Ground and Other Locations.”
LESSON 30 OF 40 - The Truck Driver Was No Match for the Faith-Filled Board ChairDon’t stop at “All in favor say aye.”
THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: In Lesson 30, we read how powerful a board member’s impact can be when he or she commits to intercede—and act—on behalf of the ministry. This lesson relates the story of how an early board chair of SAMBICA camp near Seattle followed up on the board’s vote to approve the building of a tabernacle—a place greatly needed for gatherings and worship.
The problem: the vote didn’t lead directly to funding and construction. Instead, the board chair at the time, Charlie Johnson, took action—going to the camp property to fast and pray for three days. Then, when it looked like God was delivering what was needed, Johnson grabbed the opportunity and brought the construction of the building to reality.
MY FAVORITE INSIGHTS from Lesson 30, pages 152-155:
There’s something very different about what Charlie Johnson did and a board focusing on camp operations. His actions were not geared toward directing how things should be done at camp, nor taking on pieces of its ministry operations himself.
With the board’s approval already given, Johnson saw a need and sought to meet it. Neither money, nor supplies, nor builders were lined up and ready to begin construction. So, Johnson acted: he went to the Source of funding and supplies and prayed. He applied his resources of time, passion and commitment and in the end got a front-row seat to God’s delivery—literally—of what was needed.
A board chair we know often says, “The board is first and foremost a spiritual community called by God to govern a piece of Kingdom work.” Johnson understood this and took it to heart.
OUR COLOR COMMENTARY:
A friend told me [Gregg] about how a new board of a local youth ministry gathered decades ago to see if they could bring the ministry to the high schools in their area. They all agreed to serve on the board, they agreed to attend the meetings and encourage the leaders—but they had no funds to hire a local director.
This friend recalls each of the four or five board members going together to a local bank and signing their name to a promissory note that would provide funds to pay the soon-to-be-hired director. He remembers some hesitation, but also recalls his commitment, first to the ministry, then to raising the money to pay back the note! He was invested, spiritually, emotionally, and financially—and he has stayed invested for nearly 60 years!
Countless kids have met Christ over those decades because of that ministry, and it all started because a group of board members took action to supply what was needed. They realized they didn’t need policies and a three-year strategic plan at that time—they were the plan!
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY GREGG HUNTER (CEO) and ED McDOWELL (Board Chair):
Gregg Hunter is president/CEO of Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA), and is responsible for the overall strategic direction of CCCA in its efforts to maximize ministry for its members. He is passionate about Christian camping because of the life-changing impact it had on his own life. At 17, he committed his life to Christ on his first trip to a Christian camp. Over his career, he has served in leadership roles at Georgia Family Council, Young Life, and The Boeing Company.
Ed McDowell is the CEO of Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center in Stanwood, Wash. He also leads Thriving Boards, a board coaching initiative of the Christian Camp and Conference Association. Ed also does consulting with a special focus on board development and problem-solving with fresh perspectives. He and his wife, Bev, live in Stanwood, Wash., where they enjoy their family.
• As a board member, take spiritual action in prayer and/or fasting regarding a significant issue for your ministry.
• Invite other board members to join you in this spiritual action.
• Expect to get a response from God, because He does answer.
On June 20, 2018, watch for the commentary by Al Lopus on Lesson 31, "Cut the Cord! Invite Board Members to Exit When They Don't Live Your Values. If you want a healthy board, recruit healthy people."
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