So you've been asked to serve on a ministry team or committee. . . what a blessing! Teams and committees are central to organizing ministry through the local church. Unfortunately, many people cringe when they think of serving with such groups--and not without reason. Too often, church committees become dysfunctional and unfocused. Rather than multiply our efforts at ministry, they become a drag on a tremendously valuable church resource--the people. However, there is hope! Many church leaders have become much more intentional about cultivating healthy committees and ministry teams.
Healthy teams share several characteristics:
- The team understands the overall mission and vision of the church and how the team's tasks contribute to fulfilling the vision. The team needs to have clear goals.
- Team members understand their particular role and responsibilities. This might be accomplished through a job description or similar tool.
- Team members serve in an area of interest and giftedness and feel that they are making a meaningful contribution to ministry. Nominating groups need to focus on the people rather than filling vacant slots.
- Team leaders (chairs) focus the team on priorities, ensure that members remain engaged, and recognize contributions and accomplishments. Time and energy are valuable and shouldn't be wasted.
- Team members are active participants in the work as ministry rather than as detached consultants or advisors. It should matter if a team member is absent.
- The team accomplishes more as a group than the sum of members' individual efforts. If not, the church should reevaluate the necessity of the committee or team.
- CTC Committee Training Resources
- Book of Discipline
- Outlines the law, doctrine, administration, organizational work, and procedures of The United Methodist Church. Available online free of cost, or you can order a copy from Cokesbury.
- Guidelines for Leading your Congregation Series, Nashville, TN: Cokesbury, 2016
- This series of short booklets covers teams, committees, and positions common in United Methodist churches. Individual titles are available for less than four dollars.
- Discipleship Ministries (formerly the General Board of Discipleship--GBOD)
- This agency of the UMC provides helpful information and guidance for local church leaders.
- GCF&A Legal Manual
- Provides basic information about legal issues common to UM churches--especially relevant to trustees and members of staff-parish relations committees.
- Congregational Resource Guide
- An online database of useful resources to help congregations with common issues.
- What Every Leader Needs to Know about Leading Meetings, by Betsey Heavner
- Resource Guide for Building Projects by the Texas Methodist Foundation
- Local Church Lay Leader Handbook
- The conference laity team has created a reference handbook for local church lay leaders. It offers a helpful framework for new lay leaders as well as practical suggestions.