Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Called to Serve by Max de Pree

What is the Rector reading now? Called to Serve by Max de Pree, is what he's reading presently.

The book is a series of "letters" written by Max to his friend Verley (Dr. Verley Sangster is the president of the Center for Urban Theological Studies in Philadelphia). The letters address issues and matters related to those who volunteer their energy, money, and time, on non-profit boards.

While at a government sponsored workshop for non-profit organizations at Gander the Rector was introduced to the writing on Mr de Pree. "Image that."

For those who serve on a vestry, parish council, or executive committe, this is a helpful read. The big plus of this book is that it is short, it won't take you all month to read. While there are ten chapters the book is only 91 pages.

The book discusses and effective board, tensions with a board, the role of the chair, and why members are on a board.

This is a helpful book to read, if one has not read anything else in this area. Mr de Pree's insights are worth considering. His questions are likely to stir some thought. Through his experience sitting on various boards he know the questions to ask - he knows the time that can be wasted - he knows how effective, or ineffective a board can be! If you read this book, and I hope some of you do, note the questions and make a note of your own answers.

While to book is written for those who sit on boards, of colleges, etc., most that Max de Pree writes is applicable to the urban and rural non-profit boards and parish councils and vestries.

About mission statements, de Pree favours fuller mission statements over shorter one generally.

Here's a quote from the chapter entitled A Chairperson’s Guide:

Well, Verley, these are some thoughts concerning guidelines for chairpersons and for those who will be chairpersons in the future. It’s interesting how much of this is just horse sense and how most of it is relational rather than technical.

One chapter is entitled What the Board Owes the President. Which he writes of in terms of the "mandate, trust, space, and care."

The Rector recommends Called to Serve for wardens, secretaries, and any serving on executive committee.

WWW links: The book is listed with Google-Books and Open-Library. It can be purchased through Amazon, Chapters, or Eerdmanns. But I borrowed it from a public library, and have to return it soon.

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