For the love of God, don’t go back to ministry by committee!
If going back to church means re-launching committees that have been dormant for over a year, please don’t do it!
Resist the urge to pick up where you left off: begging people to serve or keeping people in the same committee for the past ten years as a life sentence.
This is not God’s will for the church.
Even if this is in your bylaws or constitution – don’t do it! Lean into loving God.
Make a better way:
- Create space to learn: Agree around the leadership table that you will suspend the past way of operating for another year, in order to try something new. Don’t hold a congregational meeting to make this decision. Don’t change your bylaws or constitution. Do experiment with a new plan. Act as if you have changed the organization before you vote so you know if it works.
- Focus on scripture: The essence of the church (Acts 2:37-47) is a learning church, a loving church, a worshiping church, and an evangelizing church. These four ministries are what it means to be God’s people, gathered and sent. Align your values with these four ministries. Consolidate the work or let it go. Focus on the heart of ministry by calling people into leadership. Stop voting on who gets to do what. Let that rest for a year as you move to calling leaders with the gifts needed to carry out the work. Thank those who have served in the past, and simply act as if you are living in a new world, because we are! We are living through exceptional times, so we act in extraordinary ways.
- Do what matters: When you gather to carry out ministry, keep reading scripture, praying and focusing outward. Skip the devotion and go straight to Bible study. Bring and keep your neighbors at the table, even if you haven’t met them yet. Pay attention to the needs of children, youth, and families, even if you don’t have many in worship right now. Be aspirational as you stretch beyond the ministry you have done in the past. Act as if you are the church you wish you were.
- Respect and maximize time: Hold regular tactical meetings on Zoom. Use in-person time for strategic conversations for deepening relationships and tackling a missional opportunity. Include an annual retreat away from the church and home, as soon as people feel safe doing this. Strengthen and build relationships, deepen faith, rethink practices, build skills for leading through change, and heal from the past year with rituals, stories, and integrity.
To support you:
Recently, LEAD offered a webinar on Decision Making at the Leadership Table. The feedback was so positive, that we have added the webinar back onto the calendar! We invite you to join LEAD and other congregations for this webinar where you will receive
- An overview of different models for congregational ministry and governance, with a recommended way forward.
- A workbook to use with your leadership.
- A check list to help you make decisions in real time.
The next webinar will be Tuesday, June 1st. Click here to learn more and to register.
Becoming the church we hope to be starts now. Because of our love for God, each other, and our neighbors, we must move forward with our understanding of why we exist.
The only thing that separates the church from other nonprofits is why we do what we do – we know we are loved and so we organize ourselves to love like Jesus.