Board

Board 2018-03-19T15:20:11+00:00

“Hey Fletch” on Board Issues

From around the globe, people tune in on Fletch’s warm and sound advice. He’s a friend and “church doctor,” bringing an objective perspective, broad knowledge and vast experience. Your question will get a personal reply from Fletch.

Issues with a New Non-Profit

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Hey Fletch … I met you years ago. I continue to read and enjoy the columns and posts at XPastor.org but it’s been a long while since we were in touch. 

Recently, my husband and I started a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to help poor children and struggling churches in the Philippines: www.childandchurchpartners.org. We support sixty small churches, an orphanage, an elementary to high school, and a prison Bible school.

Could you take a look at our website and give us some thoughts? Also, could you suggest some best practices on how to get the word out to churches that are looking to partner with a global missions work?

DRF—It’s great to hear from you again. Congratulations on the new ministry. This is an exciting work that you have begun.

On the website, I loved your quote from Jose Rizal: “Youth is the hope of our motherland.” Many years ago, I enjoyed reading his novel, Noli Me Tángere.

The website has plenty of good photos and ministry descriptions. You have covered the ministry well.

When I looked at the site, it didn’t say that the organization was a 501(c)(3) and tax-exempt. You do say “tax deductible” but need to define that better. Consider joining the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). They have 7 Standards of Responsible Stewardship™ that affirm good governance of churches and non-profits. Their seal of approval would go a long way toward ensuring that your financial policies align with national standards. 

The site doesn’t list who the leaders are. Most newcomers want to read who is leading it and something about the board. I would encourage adding a page about you and your husband. Give some of your personal story and your passion for doing this work. On another page, list the board members.

It would be a good idea to have a page with references and endorsements. Who else likes this ministry and sees the value of it? 

I love where you are going with this. Good work and keep going.

Follow up

Wow, you have really done some great edits and additions to the site. Great work and God’s best in serving people in the Philippines!

Elder Role Description

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hey Fletch … This link does not work https://www.xpastor.org/staffing/job-descriptions/elder-job-description-at-northwest-bible-chuch-of-dallas-texas/. 

DRF—Thanks for catching that. We totally redid the job descriptions page. You can find it and other descriptions here: https://www.xpastor.org/staffing/job-descriptions/.  And, I updated the link.

Most churches do not have role descriptions for their Governing Board. The titles can be Elders, Deacons, Trustees or some other one. Yet, every board member needs to know, “What am I supposed to be doing here?” They also need to know, “What am I not supposed to be doing?”

Define the turf and set expectations. Using sales terminology, ask for the order. If you don’t ask for anything from a board member, you are likely to get less than what you hoped for.

Knowing the Giving of Congregants

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hey Fletch … What is your position on the XP knowing the financial giving of a) the entire congregation, b) volunteers and key leaders, c) staff & elders and d) none at all.

DRF—Whew, those are tough questions! The answers are based on the culture of each church. The congregations where I have served took the position that pastors should have no knowledge of any person’s giving or giving pattern. They based that view from this passage:

My brothers and sisters, do not show prejudice if you possess faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if someone comes into your assembly wearing a gold ring and fine clothing, and a poor person enters in filthy clothes, do you pay attention to the one who is finely dressed and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and to the poor person, “You stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor”? If so, have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil motives. James 2:1-4

The Bible Knowledge Commentary reflects on verse 4: “The illustration is followed by a penetrating inquiry: Have you not discriminated among yourselves? The question in Greek assumes an affirmative answer. James’ brethren must plead guilty not only to discriminatory divisions but also to assuming the role of judges with evil thoughts of partiality.” The fear in churches is that if pastors know a person’s financial giving, that they will receive preferential treatment. John says that “perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” 1 John 4:18.

There are ways to preserve anonymity while still helping major donors. You can get a list of the 50 top leaders, without giving data. You can help these folks learn how to give generously and strategically. Churches do a great deal of training, but not with these folks. We may spend 8 hours training someone to work in the nursery or with youth, but what training do we provide for people of means?

Brad Leeper at Generis would suggest that top leadership in a church know the giving patterns, so as to teach and mentor those folks on great giving.

Alan Wildes wrote this article for XPastor: A Pastor’s Guide to Accelerating Generosity in Churches. Brad Leeper has contributed many articles on Generosity (do a search on XPastor), like this article: Generosity Issues Every Church Should Consider for 2013. Brad also wrote this article: Making Unusual Generosity the New Normal.

All Scripture copyright NET Bible®

Solutions to Church Conflict

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hey Fletch … There have been some good developments and resolution on the ‘leading the leadership team’ front. A person from the denominational ‘church health team’ has spoken to our leaders. He used the term ‘architect of culture’ to describe the Senior Pastor role. It seems to have ‘clicked.’ A couple of people realized what they have wanted me to be and what I have historically been. That sidestepped one or two who had been imagining a very directive kind of leadership being in place if they referred to me as “leading the eldership.”

DRF—This is great progress for your church. Resolving leadership conflict takes time and energy. I am so pleased that you brought in someone from your denomination. Often when I consult with churches, just the process of hearing an external and objective voice can normalize the conversation. So many churches think, “We are the only ones with this issue.” While the specifics of issues are unique, the general dimensions of church problems are amazingly consistent around the world.

Continue to meet with and hold near those who disagree with you. Differences of opinion are not the problem—they can be an asset. Problems grow when we don’t validate the opinions of others and carefully consider them. We need to know that different views are vital. Issues get only larger when we leaders fail to acknowledge “the elephant in the room.”

I applaud your steadfastness. Continue on the path. Good discussion, coupled with competent outside counsel, can bring people together. We can do so much when we realize that our objective is to serve Christ, extend the ministry of church and love one another.

Can Our Church Join the ECFA?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’ve heard about the Evangelical Council of Finance Accountability. Is that something that a church can join and how could I find out if my church qualifies? Would they accept my church?

DRF—I’ve served in several churches that were a part of the ECFA. They enhance trust in churches with their Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™.  Those standards relate to Doctrinal Issues, Governance, Financial Oversight, Use of Resources and Compliance with Laws, Transparency, Compensation Setting and Related-Party Transactions, and Stewardship.

Over the past several years, I have served on one of their advisory groups. This allowed me to see them up close and work with Dan Busby (President) and Michael Martin (Vice President). They are all about honest and forthright standards for church finances and governance. I would strongly encourage your church to apply and be a part of ECFA—it will be a great help to your Board, Finance Team and congregation. Let me ask Michael Martin to respond as well:

Response from Michael Martin, Vice President of ECFA—David, thanks for the chance to chime in here and for your kind words about ECFA. You’ve been such a blessing to the ministry over the years!

Churches are not only welcome to join ECFA – today, churches are the fastest growing membership segment of ECFA, including over 40 of the largest churches in America.

ECFA.church is our new website just for church leaders with tons of free resources (webinars, podcasts, sample policies and procedures, and more). You can also check out testimonials from current members and learn more about the new short form membership application at ECFA.church/Join

Board Member Goes AWOL on Church and Family

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hey Doc … In your experience, what are the best practices for a church board when a fellow board member goes AWOL, wants his wife to leave the home and wants a divorce, and will not speak to me (the pastor) or the team?  Anything we can do, should do?

DRF—AWOL is the right term as that soldier is off base, literally and metaphorically. I’m so sorry to hear about this. Life is hard and then we mess it up even further. From the earliest days of humankind, we see God gently saying to Cain, “Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.” Genesis 4:7. In the next verse, we see Cain opening a murderous door.

Whether you have an Elder, Deacon or Trustee Board, the same scriptural concept in I Timothy 3:2 applies: “The overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher …” Your church constitution may have a clause about the qualifications of a board member as well. 

The Apostle Paul knew of issues like this. He says in Galatians 6:1-2, “Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness … Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” You have tried to meet with him and help him. You are on the right path. He may not want to meet with you because he “knows what you are going to say.” He feels guilt about his actions. Also, encourage some women meet with the wife for prayer and growth—she needs some Christian counseling from peers or a professional.

For the husband, set a season of time, perhaps 8, 16 or 26 weeks. In that defined season, ask the board to pray every day for the family, board unity and church health. It is a major issue when a board member goes AWOL. Contact the husband on a regular basis, perhaps every 10 days or so. Try phone, mail, email, text and personal visits. I would avoid social media unless it is a generic greeting and invitation to meet with no specifics. Don’t pester him but let him know that you want to talk and hear his story. You love him but not what he is currently doing to his family.

I he has not responded by the end of the season, then your board should consider formal action to remove him. As parents, we put our kids in “time out” so they an learn from their mistakes. Your formal action may help the man’s spiritual restoration.

Churches are villages. Everyone’s eyes will be on your actions—and if you lovingly but firmly take appropriate action. Take the utmost care what you say in public. You don’t want to be accused of slander. You may want to hold a “members only” meeting to inform the congregation of your action plan, steps for reconciliation and ultimate decision.

As WWII Fleet Admiral William Halsey said, “There aren’t any great men. There are just great challenges that ordinary men like you and me are forced by circumstances to meet.” Now is your time to face a great challenge. Be strong, loving and gracious. 

If I can help in this pivotal time in your church’s life, contact me again. Your church may need some strategic coaching with such monumental events. I’ll be praying.

Scripture from NetBible®

Elder Role Descriptions

February 3, 2018

Hey Fletch … When we have our coaching call later today, can we talk about role descriptions for elders?

DRF—Few churches lay out a role description for their elders (or deacons, trustees or other governing board titles). I’m a fan of listing the scope, essential elements, constitutional demands, expectations, delegated responsibilities, etc. List what elders do and what they don’t do. Here’s a great example in the job descriptions page that I helped create when we served in Dallas. I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas and talking about what best fits your church.

Elder Decisions in a Church of 600

January 24, 2018

Hey Doc … We have grown to a church of 600. Lately some of our Elders are asking, “Why did you two (the SP and XP) make this or that decision? I thought that we Elders were leading the church?”

DRF—One of the challenges of church growth is changes in situational leadership. The decisions that an Elder Board can make in a church of 200 is different from a church of 600, and will be even more different if your church grows to 1,200 or 2,400. I would suggest that you have a conversation and get elder input on that—what exactly do they want to decide and why?

As churches grow, Governing Boards need to set vision, policy and make strategic decisions. They need to empower staff to carry out vision and to take tactical action. A church plant is like an infantry platoon—small, mobile and with direct access to leadership. As an army grows, you need officers to carry out the leadership vision of the Pentagon.

Board Member Not Giving to the Church

January 18, 2018

Hey Fletch … I have a board member who wants a new vision and direction for our church. Also, he told me that he hasn’t given to the church in nine months. Now what?

DRF—I wish that I hadn’t heard that one before! I’d suggest that you set up a six-month period to walk with him through the vision and ministries of your church. Let him know that you hope he can get on board as you have focused discussions. If he can’t, then it is probably God’s time for him to rotate off of the Board. 

Giving to your church can’t be a weapon that is brandished to get one’s way. We give because we respond to God’s grace in our lives. My favorite Rabbi said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). So the board member is telling you that his heart is not in your church’s ministry. Seek to engage his heart.

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