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.

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.