Evaluating Board Meetings – Coaching Session
We’re very clear as every church, and or, not just church but organisation, should be, when you have either elder or a board, whatever you want to call them, but when there’s this governing body here, however you comprise it, whatever names you want to call it, the most important thing of all is the decision that has to be wrestled with until you come to a point of whose purview is what?
Church governance can look a dozen different ways and all of them live or die on this clarity line, you know, where is this line? Who’s doing what? And you have, staff that’s down here, obviously, so the whole big thing is working hard enough to go, ‘This is clearly staff stuff, this is clearly elder stuff’, and every single time there’s something that bleeds into either you’ve got to have the little time out, try to get the emotion out of it and just go, “Hey, we’re wondering why do the elders want to mess with that when that’s a staff thing?” Or… “We’re wondering, why do the staff want to do the elders…?”
So that is an ongoing conversation. Now, we have that all kind of written out of what those rules are but what’s interesting is – as clear as we’ve been, and we’ve been working on this very hard for seven years – we still come in to new conversations where we go, “Wait a minute! Should that have been an elder issue? Should that have been a staff issue?” And when we do then we just stop and go, “Wait, before any feelings get hurt, let’s discuss whose purview it should be.”
Now again you’re going to think this is nutty. It’s just a fantastic tool for us. At the end of every elder meeting our chairman of the board slides these evaluations around to the people around the table and we do a ten point evaluation of how we did in the meeting. You know… Was Christ honoured by the way we interacted? Was there consensual decision making?
One of the questions is, did the elders violate the border and start going into what we call ‘means’? Did elders who are about ‘ends’, did elders mess with ‘means’? And they turn to me and I am the umpire or the referee as to whether or not I believe they tried to mess with staff stuff. And they ask me every single meeting, “Do you think we tried to do staff work in this meeting?” And if I feel they got close to it, I’ll go, “Well, you know when that one question came up I thought what was behind that was, you know!” And then we’ll talk about it a little bit but I really keep that line of demarcation really, really tight.
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