Gloom, Boom, and Zoom

By John Pearson

God Willing, the Post-COVID-19 Era Might Usher in an Unprecedented Response to the Gospel

Wow! All bloggers today (no matter the subject) are medical, financial, psychological, and pastoral experts. COVID-19 has unleashed the advice-giving genes in every LinkedIn and Facebook user. So…here is my three cents-worth:

#1. GLOOM. Even the newspaper comic strips have themed into the despair. (See “Pearls Before Swine” by Stephan Pastis for last Tuesday. Click here.) Some board members—one layer removed from the day-to-day action/survival plans—may inappropriately tilt toward gloom. Be aware!

But—when you are a student of your CEO’s, board chair’s, and board members’ “3 Powerful S’s” (click here for more on spiritual gifts, strengths, and social style), you’ll understand and balance their responses to crisis. For example, the way each of the four social styles act is different:
Analyticals are cautious.
Drivers are decisive.
Amiables are slow.
Expressives are impulsive.

Your board needs deep discernment from all members—before moving in the wrong direction to address your unique crisis. And—remind the drivers on your board—that you may need to stop and lament. (Read N.T. Wright’s thoughts on lamenting in Time magazine. He writes, The mystery of the biblical story is that God also laments.”)

#2. BOOM. Possibly, God willing, the post-COVID-19 era might usher in an unprecedented response to the Gospel. Are your board, CEO, and senior team making plans—not for surviving, but thriving? Maybe:
• Colleges and camps will become residential villages of revival.
• Churches will re-invent themselves.
• International outreach will be resourced with an outpouring of funds and volunteers.
• Christian ministries will innovate down Holy Spirit-led paths.

Maybe, one more time, we should read The Prayer of Jabez.

#3. ZOOM. (Note: I’m not an online meeting expert.) While there are hundreds of articles and columns on how to facilitate online meetings with Zoom, Skype, and other portals—is anyone actually reading these articles? I don’t think so!

Four suggestions:
Your screen presence. If I can see the ceiling in your office or third bedroom, repeat after me: “Position the camera at EYE level.”
Meeting agenda. Please email the agenda at least two to seven days in advance.
Should you postpone a decision? Hopefully, our business-by-bunker environment will end soon. But—caution! There are two enemies of sound board decisions—and one is to make major decisions online, and not in person. And if you must meet online, estimate the length of the meeting—and then double it.
Ask for feedback. Zoom meetings will unlikely meet the needs of all four social styles, but always (always!) ask for feedback. Every meeting can be improved.

BOARD DISCUSSION: Around-the-Zoom-room: What are you feeling today? What are your insights about the future? What is God saying to you?

MORE RESOURCES: Read Lesson 29 in More Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom, “The Two Enemies of Sound Board Decisions. Avoid being pressed for time and making major decisions remotely.” Click here.


This article was originally posted on the “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations” blog, hosted by ECFA.
John Pearson, a board governance consultant and author, was ECFA’s governance blogger from 2011 to 2020.
© 2021, ECFA and John Pearson. All rights reserved.


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.