I’ve been reading a new book about my alma mater, Whitworth University. In it is a piece about one of the school’s truly great trustees, C. Davis Weyerhaeuser. Not only was Dave a stalwart on the Whitworth board, but the same could be said for Young Life and Fuller Theological Seminary. Among the 200 organizations he is said to have supported was Youth for Christ, my ministry home for many years. It was my privilege to first meet Dave in the late sixties, and to have had on and off contact with him until his death a few years ago.
I was touched by these words:
In an era when many church-founded colleges turned away from their Christian roots and missions, trustees like Dave Weyerhaeuser helped Whitworth weather the cultural storm. President Bill Robinson, speaking at Weyerhaeuser’s funeral, said, “For 50-plus years, Dave quietly kept Whitworth from drifting, leading it to places where it could stand firmly on its mission. That was the life-giving hand Dave gave this college. With unmatched generosity and faithfulness, Dave watched over Whitworth.”*
I was touched by those words, and grateful to Dave for his life and witness to Christ. Whitworth truly helped form me, and today is very much a part of the fabric of my life. I continue to be grateful to my college and the way it continues to offer an education of heart and mind.
Dave was there to see that the mission did not drift. That’s what board members do. That’s what Dave did well. The other day I was sitting in on a board meeting and a topic came under discussion. At one point a member spoke up, “Does this in any way diminish our mission? How does this fit?” That is what board members do. They guard the mission. A best practice is that boards are passionately mission focused.
If you would like to get a better handle on governance, I simply offer a shameless plug for my book, Board Essentials: 12 Best Practices of Board Governance. A friend who chairs both a corporate and a nonprofit board suggests it as a great primer.
And for more information visit www.boardtrekconsulting.com