Don’t let a committee kill your dream of expanding your ministry! I cannot tell you the number of times I have talked to a pastor with a dream of expanding his ministry only to have a committee kill that dream with questions, hesitations and road blocks. Committees are designed to enhance ministry not kill it. Yet the old joke of the ministry is that if you want something killed give it to a committee.
Why is it that smart business people who take risks all day long in their business fail to see a step of faith as just that, a step of faith? I see this all the time, smart people are put onto committees and then they seemingly check their brains at the door when it comes time to make a decision for their church. They get overly cautious and often miss the window of opportunity that God has placed in their path.
I doubt there is a pastor or church staff member reading this now that is not saying, Amen! However the reality for many is that you have to work with committees. Committees can be frustrating but they can also be a great aide to us in our ministries. Properly used committees can also help move the rest of the congregation to accept whatever proposal is being presented. For many of you working with committees is not an option. If you are in that camp here are some recommendations on how to work with a committee if you are thinking about a project and campaign to support it.
How to Successfully Work With Building Committees – Here are my suggestions based not only on 20 years as a Senior Pastor but with over 16 years of dealing with churches and their various committees across America.
- Start sooner! You just have to accept that it will take your committee longer to get up to speed on what you are proposing. Committees need time to process things so give them the time they need.
- Meet ahead of time with the key players. Whether it is the chairperson or another key player meeting ahead of time with them will help get them in your corner. The success of any meeting is the meeting before the meeting!
- Give them all the information needed. Prayerfully your committee is made up of mature Christians who can handle all the various aspects of your project. Don’t sugar coat the plans or hold any information back.
- Give them the time they need. While it might be frustrating you simply have to accept that it will take them time to process the information.
- Call them to prayer. The church is a spiritual institution and our process should be spiritual as well. Make sure your committee not only looks at the facts but also sees the project with the eyes of faith. That can only happen through prayer.
- Set a deadline for decision. Church committees are like a cow chewing her cud. If you let them they will talk and talk and talk. Talking is not deciding. Lead them to a point of decision by putting a timeline upon the decision making process.
While the above might not settle every issue you face with committees it could help pave the way for your next decision. For many pastors and church leaders working with committees is a mandate we cannot ignore. You have no choice in the matter. You do however have a choice in how you work with those committees.
Using the above points will help you have a committee that works with you not against you. Let’s see committees as the enhancers of a dream not the killers of a dream!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach