What are your committees/ministry teams up to these days?
Are they acting as part of your church’s overall vision & strategy?
I’ve been in so many committee meetings in my church life that pretty much ended up with me saying “What on Earth did I even show up for?” Can you relate? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lead and been to very important, effective, meetings as well. Just seems like sometimes these meetings can get into a rut, go in circles, and no one really knows why they are there.
If it feels like the committees and ministry teams in your church are going nowhere and not showing the results they were designed for, it’s probably time for church leadership to make some hard decisions. They need to take a step back, evaluate if their committees and teams are really about the business they were created for, and if they fit into the current vision/purpose of the congregation… and fix them if they aren’t. If it turns out the group must be disbanded, while difficult, it must be done. This is one of the hardest tasks I know of, as I don’t know any committee or ministry leader who doesn’t think their group isn’t important.
Some things to ponder:
- Is the Hospitality Team helping people feel welcome when they come through your doors, and following up with new guests after worship?
- Are Evangelism/Missions Committee members being examples of how to minister to the community, and even coordinating full-church outreach events?
- Are education and youth leadership reaching those generations for Christ… teaching them the basics of Christianity, while also making it relevant to modern culture?
- Are your worship planning team and worship leaders working together to lead the people in meaningful & relevant worship?
- Are the Trustees or Grounds/Building Committee keeping the church property looking nice, and helping those who need tasks done such as cabling, hanging equipment, changing signage, etc.?
- Is your Technology/AV team effectively using computers, projection, sound & lighting to enhance worship and meet ministry and building needs?
- Is your council or leadership team leading the congregation’s direction, and individually being true examples of Christian living?
If your answer is “no” to any of these, it’s up to you, dear church leader, to find out why. No church has it all 100% perfect in any area. We’re all struggling. There also isn’t one perfect answer to how to fix issues in a local church. How we do things depends solely on how relevant we are to our communities. If the community doesn’t say we’re relevant, then we aren’t. Period. No amount of good music and pastors wearing jeans will fix that.
But, we can all do more to try to turn around the trend of people walking out the back door and never coming back… This is key. So many churches out there are almost begging people to never return by ignoring them, and not providing any substance.
We suggest having ministry covenants. Whenever someone joins a committee/ministry team, have them sign a covenant stating what your team is about, and what you expect of them. And enforce it! Essentially this is a promise, in the form of a type of contract.
Perhaps you have a rule that hospitality team members must not greet people at the doors or serve treats with a grumpy face or complaining. If you notice someone is doing this, they may just be having a bad day, so you can simply say, “It looks like your heart isn’t in this today. Why don’t you take a break. If you’d like to talk, let me know.” If it is a consistent thing, then they may be a person not cut out for hospitality, so have a talk with them. They could be in a rough patch in their life, and need a break. Have a talk with them, and stop adding them to the schedule if they need a break, don’t get it, or it’s truly not their thing.
One trap you do not want to fall into is grandfathering people currently on the team to not having to sign the covenant. Everyone currently on the team must also promise to uphold the requirements of the team. There will be some who don’t like it. Make it clear what you are doing, through meetings, personal letters, face-to-face conversation, etc. If people understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, they typically don’t have a problem signing a covenant.
Pastors/Leaders: First, ensure your church has a vision & purpose, and that everyone knows what it is! Take a look at your committees and ministry teams. I mean a really serious look. Attend their meetings, and most importantly, don’t come in to dictate, but help the group to own their ministry. Take some time together to explore how their ministry fits into the vision/purpose of the congregation. Finally, let them know you’re planning to hold them accountable to keeping within the purpose… Then do hold them accountable!
If you are clueless about where to start with any of this, please contact us! We’d be glad to set up a consultation with your leadership. We can also provide sample covenants, etc. to help you get started.