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A Sacred Trust

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What a profound privilege and responsibility recently to lead the 2013- 2017 General Board, Church of the Nazarene, in a board orientation and development session. The 52 elected members of the board came from the six global regions of the denomination. The theme of the morning plenary session was: “The Ministry of the General Board: A Sacred Trust.” The presentation was warmly received and instructive, especially to the 31 new members of the board.

The outline of the session was:
The CONTEXT of the board
The CHARTER documents defining the responsibilities of the board
The CULTURE of the board
The COMPOSITION of the board
The COMMITTEES of the board
The CIVILITY of the board
The CONTRIBUTIONS of the board
The CHALLENGES of the board.

Of particular interest to the board was the “Civility” section, or the way relationship values characterize us at our best, and convict us at our worst. The outline of this section could have been the focus of an extended section of the General Board or with other boards. In relation to others, members desire to be characterized by:

A Magnanimous Spirit
A Positive Influence
An Inquisitive Mind
A Freedom to Ask Questions
An Acceptance of Board Decisions (no “minority” reports)
A Servant Mentality
A Courteous Response
An Appreciation for Protocol
A Reliable or Consistent Word

The “Civility” section continued with reflections on core Christian convictions about leading and following. Both the leaders and the led, reflecting their holiness testimony and lifestyle, desire to:

Speak Gracefully. They watch the words they use.
Live Gratefully. They don’t complain. Instead, they are grateful.
Listen Intently. They seek first to understand.
Forgive Freely. They are proactive in extending forgiveness.
Lead Decisively. They combine clear vision and deep humility with fierce determination.
Care Deeply. They value people, not power.
Pray Earnestly. They pray for change in themselves even as they pray for change in
others.

We reminded ourselves that board development is far more than a one-session event; rather it must be intentional and on-going. The board’s duty requires it to ensure that the denomination’s human and material resources are used for the benefit of the mission. After all, the Board of General Superintendents and the General Board hold the future and mission of the denomination in trust. A Sacred trust!

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