Before You Can Start, You Have to Get It Out of Committee!

Before You Can Start, You Have to Get It Out of Committee!

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 roadblocks. Committees are designed to enhance ministry, not kill it. Yet the old joke of the ministry is that if you want an idea killed, give it to a committee.

When it comes to building projects, I often find church committees get overly cautious and miss the window of opportunity that God has placed in their path. The cost is too high, the project too big, and other concerns can sometimes forever derail a project you needed yesterday! I have often found that smart businesspeople who take risks all day long in their businesses, fail to see a step of faith as just that—a step of faith. We don’t need our committees to rubber-stamp everything. At the same time, we don’t need them to talk about it for months without making a decision.

I doubt a pastor or church staff member is reading this now who is not saying, Amen! However, the reality for many is that you must work with committees. Committees can be frustrating, but they can also greatly aid 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 on my 20 years as a Senior Pastor and over 25 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 your proposal. Committees need time to process things, so give them the necessary time.
  • 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 you get them on your side. 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 sugarcoat the plans or hold any information back.
  • Give them the time they need. While it might be frustrating, you 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 also be spiritual. 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 a 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 decision point by putting a timeline during 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 dreams, not the killers of dreams!

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