Pastors and church leaders must count on their leadership teams! The more you build intentional leadership in your ministry, the better chance of setting your church up for long term success – even after you’re no longer in leadership.
Whether you are a pastor leading a committee, a chair of a committee or a church committee member, here are ten principles that may help you focus, engage as a team and move forward.
Concentrate On Directions And Policies, Not Management
When a committee begins to manage details, it becomes overwhelmingly tedious and ineffective. Setting direction will get the most bang for the buck from your leaders and committee members.
Spend More Time On Future Plans Than Present Issues
Committees, as a general rule, should spend more time talking about future plans. Take a look at your next agenda and mark the items that relate to the future direction and vision of the church. If it’s too lopsided toward putting out current fires, figure out a way to solve present day issues quickly, then move on to planning, dreaming and strategizing for the future of your church.
Build Meetings Around Big Points, Not Small Ones
As you are creating your agenda, be sure to build the meeting around the big rocks – what are the foundational things that need to be discussed in conversation? Work on those first and foremost.
Craft Your Meeting Agenda Well And In Advance
Don’t have a meeting without an agenda. Be sure you know what needs to be covered and use the best practices for circulating the agenda in advance, holding the conversation to the topic at hand, etc.
A committee trying to plan out details together will take forever! It may feel like you are doing something, but in reality, valuable time is being wasted. Committees must delegate management, planning and other tasks to individuals, other leaders or sub-teams.
Refine, Don’t Design
Board meetings are not good places to design nitty gritty programming and ministries. There may be a time when some questions need to be asked of those in charge. There may be some needed accountability for an area of ministry or department that is lagging behind. Committees need to step in and help refine things, but don’t get involved in daily operations. It will become impossible.
Stay Within Time Parameters
Meetings should start on time and end on time. This is not only a good habit, but it’s a gift to give to your people and a great culture of which to be a part.
Schedule Some Of Your Meetings To Focus Heavily On Prayer
You should invest time at each meeting for prayer and you should encourage committee members to pray for their work together and the church. Additionally, some meetings should be set aside to focus solely on prayer. I knew of a church once where all the newly formed committees met in January (or for the first time) and just prayed for the church and the ministries. That was their only agenda item.
Agree On And Stick To Principles For Decision Making
It’s easy to come away from a meeting with very little decided. Determine the principles you will use for making decisions and stick to it. It doesn’t matter what system you use, as long as you all agree and use it effectively.
Communicate Committee Work To Your Congregation
Figure out ways to regularly communicate the important work and ministry of committees in your church. Highlight what is being accomplished. Thank people who are serving. Allow the work to inspire the congregation to continue serving in ministry and to encourage and strengthen those serving on the board.
Most of this list comes from a book I just read called High Impact Church Boards, and though this book is out of print, the author has offered to send a PDF to anyone who is interested.