Browsing: Board Development

Leadership Is… A Servant Led Church #302

Paul uses a practical construction analogy, “In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord”. (Ephesians 2:21 NIV) You wouldn’t want to live and work within a building that is poorly constructed. The risks are obvious. Yet, many of us work in organizational environments that are ineffective.

The corporate world has been shaken with CEO’s and CFO’s who re-arrange budget and resources for their own benefit. “People value honesty and integrity in a leader more than anything else. Virtually every person they talked with placed integrity at the top of the leadership wish list.”  (James Kouzes and Barry Posner, quoted by Perkins in Awaken the Leader Within) The Servant led church integrates a service philosophy with integrity. Every member is encouraged to live a life of honesty, truthfulness and integrity. This is a church the world will notice.

The Servant led church is a learning and growing organism. It is characterized by a collective unity and interdependence of each individual and team. The teams define their goals, are delegated a budget and resources, and are accountable to each other and the overall Vision. Leadership, decision making, planning and goal setting are shared, not held by the faithful few. The Servant led church knows its own strengths, weaknesses and the gifts of its people. It also knows the power of people working tougher effectively, “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 TLB)

The Servant led church reduces the emphasis on the power hierarchy while encouraging team work and a service role for each leader. Each leader would interact within a team. The teams would be composed of divergent thinking people, different ages, different occupations, and ideally different cultures. Each would be committed to the Vision, working independently, yet supporting each other. Although the teams may appear leaderless, the leader is the Vision and the team works the mission as a group of equals.

Is your church a Servant led church?

Leadership is … serving individually and collectively. 

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is… Standing in the Gap #295

“Leaders are found everywhere. Demographics pay no role in whether or not someone is going to become an exemplary leader. Leadership is not a birthright. It’s not about position or title. It’s not about power or authority. It’s not about celebrity or wealth. It’s not about being a CEO, president, general, or prime minister. It’s not about being a superstar. And it’s most assuredly not about some charismatic gift. Leadership is not about who you are or where you came from. It’s about what you do.” (Kouzes, Posner, The Truth about Leadership)

Leadership is for today. The skills, abilities and character traits are readily available for those who choose and are willing to challenge the status quo and stand up to be counted.

Leaders are informed. They read, listen and learn. Their skill, knowledge and expertise increases as the topic moves closer to their area of specialty. When recruiting staff and volunteers, they look for competence in skill, character and personality. Leaders are motivated and excited about the future. They guide their people, followers and organizations towards a positive outcome. They realize talent is scarce and will encourage others to achieve success in their own lives. They strive for a balance where employee/volunteers receive a personal benefit by working with an organization and the organization receives a similar benefit by employing the individual.

The effective leader follows an ethical standard. Their personal values are consistent, supported and integrated within the organization they lead. They are strategic in their decisions. They evaluate risks depending on the outcome to their people and for the organization.

They serve on Boards to make a lasting contribution. They create job satisfaction.

God is looking for effective leaders. He wanted effective leaders in history, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV). He is still looking for effective leaders today.

Leadership is, knowing your calling and standing in the gap with God.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is Growing Your Church with Dynamic Teams #283

Effective leaders design and lead dynamic teams. These awesome teams build great churches by prioritizing Scriptural principles, people development and then program and organizational change. As the Leaders grow the people will follow.

Your dynamic teams will inspire each of their people to pray, seek God’s face and grow their church. The 80/20 rule (Pareto’s principle) suggests we get 80% of our results from 20% of our activities. Put it another way, 20% of your activities are responsible for producing a full 80% of your results. The beauty and challenge of this little formula is to concentrate on the work that really has an impact on your goals, then, reduce activities that don’t produce the results.

Church change and growth strategies have less to do with the latest dynamic program and more to do with prayer and relationships. As our Teams, Life Groups and Ministries work together, lives of character influence our family, friends and community.

“Most church growth occurs because a church effectively ministers to people’s needs. Its focus is on people”. (Ray Bowman and Eddy Hall, When Not to Build) The point is not to downplay programs. We need our programs. Yet, we have a responsibility to work with and build up our skills to ensure our programs are more effective.

Scripture tells us, For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5 NIV)

“Google commissioned their internal human resources team to identify and rate the attributes of their best leaders. They were surprised to find that technical knowledge rated dead last.  Instead, attributes like listening well and letting employees make relevant decisions attracted and kept the best people.” (Joe Manby in Love Works)

“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow. So that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)

Leadership is listening to and building up people.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is Honestly and Seriously Praying Daily #282

It was a fascinating devotional at our church Board meeting this week. My good friend and trusted business professional opened with a short personal message about changing his prayer life.

The rest of us listened intently while we reviewed a few scripture verses. Then, he said that in the past his prayer life seemed to focus on telling God about his issues at work, home, church and our community.

He had our attention. We could identify. He was describing all of us. In fact the research indicates that the average Christian prays three times a day. Sounds like praying before breakfast, lunch and supper.

My good friend went on to illustrate, “we need to get excited about prayer … everything is dependent on God … prayer is an obligation … as leaders, we need to pray.” (Francis Chan) Then, he used the most dramatic phrase. My friend further suggested that the “church whose Board members don’t pray for an hour a day is a church that has problems”.

There was silence at our table.

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV)

My friend then committed himself to honestly and consistently pray and seek God’s face in prayer for an hour each day.

The rest of our Board meeting was fascinating as we prayerfully shared our own prayer struggles. The potential benefits to our church and community would be phenomenal if all of us as Board members would pray for an hour each day. Then, as leaders we would set the example for all the people in our church to allocate time to pray every day.

“If you pray for leaders; if you have a heart to develop, lead, and empower people; if you’ve got a God-given vision, God will give according to your heart’s desires.”

(John Maxwell, Leadership Journal)

Leadership is an active and consistent prayer life.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is An Awesome Board #270

Laurie KennedyIs your Board awesome? The primary role of the Board is to represent the owner.  Hint! You are not the owner.

“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed:  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” (1 Peter 5:1-4 NIV)

The spiritual life of your Board members guides your people. I like the phrase, ‘As the Board is, so go the people’. In Coaching Leaders, encourage them to get their hearts right with our Heavenly Father. As the Board members deal with issues in their lives, the health of the church improves.

Here are 7 questions to help your Board become awesome.

    1. Does your Board pray individually and collectively for the Ministry staff and church?
    2. Does your Board provide encouragement, direction and accountability to your Ministry Team?
    3. Do all your decisions and activities lead to toward the Vision, Mission and Values of the church?
    4. Does your Board guide and encourage the entire church to minister effectively?
    5. Is your Board multi-generational and multi-cultural?
    6. Does your Board speak with one voice?
    7. Is your future focused with hands on the steering wheel, or focused on the rear view mirror.

“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.” (Romans 12:11-13 MSG)

Leadership is … focusing your individual and collective Board role towards God’s plan.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach


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Leadership Is Shepherd Board Members #267

Laurie KennedyCongratulations, you have been prayerfully asked to be a Board Member at your church or Mission. You are prayerfully considering the role. You know there are regular meetings, you also know there are other members but, what really is your role as a Board member?

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV)

The purpose of the Board is to represent the owner. That’s God! It is His church and mission. As a Board member here are 12 questions to regularly evaluate how effective you are.

  • Do you model spiritual leadership to the congregation?
  • Do you serve with integrity ensuring Board decisions are consistent with God’s word?
  • Do you love Jesus and demonstrate God’s love at home and work?
  • Do you pray consistently for your Ministry Staff, People and the church as a whole?
  • Do you provide encouragement and accountability to the Lead Pastor?
  • Do you represent the church, not your personal interests?
  • Do you encourage the established Vision, Mission and Values of the church?
  • Do you commit to the financial and volunteer needs of your church?
  • Do you actively memorize scripture?
  • Do you visit and communicate with individuals/couples within your church?
  • Do you shepherd and care for your people as the Biblical shepherd cared for his sheep?
  • Do you disciple people to know Christ better?

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 MSG)

Leadership is … praying and implementing God’s will for His church.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach


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Leadership Is Spiritual and Organizational Health #264

Laurie KennedyThere are over 14,000 moving parts in my car.

I love it when they all work together.

A symphony orchestra includes 90 musicians playing 82 different instruments together, solos or in small groups.

The sound of a full orchestra working together is awesome.

Our bodies have and require thousands of parts to function effectively. We each have 206 bones, our hearts beat about 35 million times a year. We have 5.6 litres of blood circulating three times a minute over 19,000 km per day. If all arteries, veins, and capillaries of the human circulatory system were laid end to end, the total length would be 100,000 km. The fastest nerve cells carry messages along their axons at an amazing 431 kph. There are about 700 muscles in the human body.

We all love it when our bodies work together in health.

Paul confirms the fascinating reality that the physical, spiritual and organizational health can and must work together. “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16 NIV)

Is your church spiritually and organizationally healthy, “fitly framed together” (Ephesians 2:21 KJV) to accomplish God’s vision? If it isn’t, Jesus tells us, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25 NIV)

My prayer for my church and yours is that each and every component of our ministries work together to accomplish God’s vision. We need to not only demonstrate God’s love but to do it collectively and cooperatively so that God is glorified in your community.

“In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvellously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” (Romans 12:4-6 MSG)

Leadership is demonstrating God’s love by working together.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is Partnering #236

Laurie KennedyThe Lone Ranger style doesn’t work. Working alone, carrying the weight, bearing the risk in today’s challenged economy is foolish. The pressure, risk of burnout and health issues resulting from increasing the daily challenge of working alone doesn’t work.

“I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless—a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” (Ecclesiastes 4:7-9 NIV)

God gave each of us strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities. When we work alone, we are prone to fail. We lack support. When we partner, there is more fun in the work; my strengths help another’s weakness and together we produce more.

In a former home church, we built a new building with 90% volunteer labor. Each of us had strengths and weaknesses. We found friends who were willing to help in their area of expertise. Working alone we could not accomplish much, yet when we put all our abilities, relationships and networks together we received free advice, volunteer time, effort and donated equipment.

Our relationship with Christ is similar.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV)
Solomon confirms. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV)

Leadership is … learning to partner as we work to serve God.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership is a God-Focused Chair (Part 2 of 2)

Laurie KennedyYour January Board Agenda needs an annual plan of which you as a Board can initiate, maintain or cancel as you work through your year.

As Board Chair you share responsibility with the whole team to maintain and encourage positive interpersonal relationships at the Board table and otherwise. As your friendship and trust grows, your effectiveness will reach new heights of accomplishment. I often remind Board Chairs, ‘As the Board is, so the people are’.

At the conclusion of your Board meeting prior to closing prayer, ask a challenging question to each Board member. Give them something to think and pray about prior to the next meeting. Sports fans know the rules, process and the score at any time during a game.  They also know that the Coach will adjust the play, provide encouragement and instruction as necessary during the game.

The challenge is many church or service organization rarely keep score.  Please ask your Board members to pray and think through this question.  How can the Board keep score and monitor the health of your Pastor and your church or mission at each Board meeting during this new calendar year?

Board Chairs often ask me to assist their un-healthy church to grow and become healthy. We can do that. Yet, the reality is the health of the Board will be reflected in the people. Hence, my role is to assist the Board to be spiritually and organizationally healthy. As the Board becomes healthy their influence in the church will be positive.

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought”. (1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV)

Leadership is … focusing your life and work on your God directed Vision.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership is a God-Focused Chair (Part 1 of 2)

Laurie KennedyBoard Chairs, this is my Annual Blog specifically for you. The growth and health of your church is directly impacted by your spiritual and organizational health. You have the most awesome privilege to serve other Board members, your Pastor, your leaders and those who attend or consider your church or mission home.

At your first meeting of the New Year you will need a detailed agenda and reading material distributed early. Your Agenda opens with prayer and an introduction to new Board members.

As Chair, you are responsible to lead the meeting, follow the agenda and keep members involved. Chairs tell me their role is also to vote to break a tie. Technically true. But, if your Board members are split on an issue, please re-think, pray, discuss and delay the decision until you can be unanimous. A division at the Board leads to a division in the church.

As the Board, you are responsible to carry out and live the Vision, Mission and Values of your church or mission. “Boards need to be sure the central idea (Vision) is clear and compelling and that every board member understands it.” (Charan, Carey, Useem in Boards That Lead)

“The most important work of any governing board is to create and re-create the reason for organizational existence. This is not simply the approval of a purpose statement. Nor is this a task once done, then forgotten. It is a perpetual obligation, deserving of the majority of board time and energy. The only justifiable reason for organizational existence (your Church or Mission) is the production of worthwhile results.” (Boards That Make a Difference, John Carver) Take time at this meeting to review your Vision, Mission and Value statements to be sure they are still valid, current and relevant.

Scripture confirms the relevancy of purpose to Boards and your people. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

Leadership is … always saying thanks for the dedication of your Board members.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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