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Call of the Chair Hardcover – March 31, 2017
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About the Author
David McKenna is retired as President of Spring Arbor University, Seattle Pacific University, and Asbury Theological Seminary as well as Chair of the Board at Spring Arbor University and Bakke Graduate School of Theology. Before and after retirement, he served as consultant for board development and presidential search at such institutions as Wheaton College, Gordon College, Messiah University, Asbury University, Huntington University, National Association of Evangelicals, and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. He and his wife, Janet, celebrate the gift of long-life with daily walks along the shores of Lake Washington from their home in Kirkland, Washington.
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Top customer reviews
“Quick! While Jane is out of the room—I move that she be elected the new chairperson of the board, effective immediately.”
And presto! Without warning, Jane returns to the boardroom only to be handed the gavel—accompanied by the delightful dysfunctions of a nonprofit or church board of directors.
Stop the madness, says David McKenna. His new book should be required reading for all nonprofit board chairs and CEOs. (Chairs of faith-based for-profit companies would also benefit.) “Call of the Chair: Leading the Board of the Christ-centered Ministry,” published in March by ECFAPress, is jam-packed with 119 pages of wisdom, insights, and practical help for the board and their board chairs. Example:
McKenna writes that “The chair for a Christ-centered ministry must be called of God as well as elected by the board.” That would eliminate the speed-voting trick that landed Jane at the head of the board table.
“When the time comes for a board to elect a new chair,” McKenna adds, “all business should stop while the members reflect in silence and ask that the Spirit of God might give them discernment in their selection.”
Then this: “In the induction of the chair that follows, there should be the question, ‘Has God called you to this leadership position?’
“The prayer that follows should seal that call with the sacredness of the moment. If done in a consecration service for the board, its officers, and its members, the significance of the chair is communicated throughout the organization.”
McKenna cautions: “Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit that comes with spiritual maturity. It may well be the gift that defines Christ-centered leadership.”
That defining moment—and that powerful question—will eliminate speed-voting and will weed out chair candidates who aspire to resume-building versus Kingdom-building. By the way, that solemn moment suggested by McKenna reminded me of the drama/comedy film, We Have a Pope (Habemus Papam).
McKenna has more—and it’s convicting:
--4 assessment questions for the board chair
--5 deficient ways that boards elect chairs: Successor, Exemplar, Rotator, Politician, and Dissenter
--Commenting on the Rotator chair scenario, McKenna notes: “The idea is that the ministry can survive incompetence for a short period of time.”
--1 priority: why being board chair must be that person’s number-one priority
--9 board chair roles: Missionary, Model, Mentor, Manager, Moderator, Mediator, Monitor, Master, and Maestro
--3 results when the board chair fails to focus on the clarity of the mission: “mushy, muddled, and almost meaningless”
--60 words in 30 seconds: Jesus’ elevator speech!
McKenna, retired president of two universities and one seminary, is author of numerous books, including Stewards of a Sacred Trust: CEO Selection, Transition and Development for Boards of Christ-centered Organizations. Read his book to learn how he helps boards segment CEOs into six descriptive categories (several are unsavory!).
In “Call of the Chair,” McKenna defines an important fork-in-the-road for boards: “A major difference between Christ-centered ministries and for-profit or nonprofit organizations is in the question, ‘Who gets the credit?’”
The Transcendent Moment
Trust me—this book is very, very convicting. I am privileged to serve as board chair of a faith-based credit union. But when I reached the last few pages of the book—ready to wrap it up and move on—I was blown away by “The Transcendent Moment” on pages 116-119.
Whew! I won’t spoil the drama and impact for you—but recently I asked our board’s vice chair (he has a great radio voice) to read those pages during our agenda segment, “10 Minutes for Governance” (a life-long learning feature at every board meeting). Here’s just one taste:
“…if the board is to rise to its spiritual potential, it needs a chair who brings the personal experience of Pentecost to the leadership of the board.”