Friday, July 29, 2016

The Widow’s Mite Is NOT the Gold Standard of Giving!

Last year I wrote two blogs on “10 Fundraising Mistakes That Are Easy to Fix” with a follow-up post on “Board Giving and the Generosity Circle.” This issue keeps popping up in board meetings—so here’s a summer re-run on this important topic.

Fred Smith, Jr., president of The Gathering, has noted that there are at least seven models of giving in the Bible—and his insights will help you think biblically about your giving.

He writes, “A few years ago I heard an earnest, well-intentioned speaker present a message on the topic of the Biblical model of giving. It was the story of the widow’s mite and, as you might guess, the conclusion was we should be willing to give everything we have.

“I started thinking about that because I had heard almost my whole life that this story was the Biblical model for giving and, ideally, the gold standard. However, as I started looking at the different stories about giving in Scripture I realized there is a wide diversity of giving styles in Scripture—not just one.”

Smith lists seven examples: 
   • David (a leadership gift)
   • Solomon (the extravagant giver)
   • Elisha (gift of an opportunity)
   • The Wise Men (team givers)
   • Zacchaeus (exuberance and precision)
   • The Widow (giving even to a flawed institution!)
   • and Barnabas (powerful return on investment).

So how would you respond to Fred Smith’s question? “I hope you ask yourself which of these individuals would be most like your own style of giving, and in doing so, you begin to recognize how your giving is a part of God’s workmanship in your life.”

To read the entire blog from Dec. 28, 2015, click here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Before You Get Your Point Across—Listen!

Of the four social styles gathered around your boardroom table (Drivers, Analyticals, Amiables and Expressives), at least two of the styles prefer to talk than listen.  There’s help! Ruth Haley Barton lists 10 listening guidelines in her important book, Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups.

She writes, “Don’t take it for granted that people know how to listen. We live in a culture where people are much more skilled at trying to get their point across and arguing their position than they are at engaging in mutually influencing relationships. The following are a few guidelines for entering into and maintaining a listening posture that helps us hear and interact in ways that are most fruitful.”

Guideline #5 is the most challenging for me:
“Do not formulate what you want to say
while someone else is speaking.”

(Note: This is one of several “summer re-run” blogs. To read all 10 listening guidelines, click here for the entire blog from May 24, 2014. In a board meeting this week, I’m sharing a copy of the guidelines with each board member—and I’ll try to model it myself. Not easy!)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Aggressiveness Wins—But the Board Loses

At a debrief session with the board chair and the CEO, following a half-day board retreat, the board chair (gratefully) was elated:

“I don’t know how you did it, but one board member
engaged more deeply at this meeting—and spoke so insightfully—than
he’s done in a whole year of board meetings.”

To explain what happened, let me paint the picture with two scenarios:

Scenario #1: Aggressiveness Wins—But the Board Loses

Scenario #2: Equal Opportunity Talkers

(Note: This is one of several “summer re-run” blogs. Click here for the entire blog posted on Dec. 30, 2013 to learn about the “2X2” approach. It works—and I’m using it again at a board retreat this weekend.)