Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Board and the Bachelor Farmer

As an observer at a recent board meeting, I watched the body language around the room as the CEO concluded his board report with, “And now I’d like to read a letter we received this week from an attorney.”

Most of us grimaced, “That can’t be good!”

But the glass half-full folks were right again. The lawyer’s letter announced—out of the blue—that a bachelor farmer had died and a gift from his estate was enclosed for this small ministry. But the unrestricted gift was large. More than $275,000!

Earlier in the meeting, ironically, after a team member reported on some amazing Kingdom results, the board launched into the Doxology in four-part harmony. 
“Praise God from whom 
all blessings flow.”

A second rendering of the Doxology almost broke out again.

At the end of the meeting, the board chair asked me to pray—and I was blessed with this Holy Spirit nudge to remind the board about governance faithfulness.

“Before I pray,” I began, “think back a few years to when this bachelor farmer was deciding where to invest his estate gifts. Undoubtedly he did his research and concluded that your ministry was worthy of a large gift.  But I’m guessing he also looked at the list of board members back then to discern if those men and women were faithful stewards of the ministry’s mission, vision, programs and funds.

“And today, I’m sure, more bachelor farmers, and dozens of other givers, are looking at your board—at your faithfulness—and discerning if your ministry is worthy of their giving. 
Board faithfulness, 
every day, every meeting, every year, 
counts for eternity.”

Traveling home from that exhilarating meeting, I was reminded of a column I had written in 2004, “Big Blessings Abound When Management Faithfulness Flourishes,” describing the faithfulness factors that enabled Joan B. Kroc, wife of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s Corporation, to bless The Salvation Army with a gift in excess of $1.5 billion. Click here to read more.

In Matthew 10:42 (The Message), Jesus said, “This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”

QUESTION: What stories of management faithfulness and governance faithfulness are you using to inspire and motivate your board members?

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