Monday, March 9, 2009

Help Wanted!

I used to wonder why some of the highest capacity people in the church refused to serve on committees. That is, until I realized that most of the hours I was spending in committee meetings didn't actually accomplish anything.

I saw a cartoon one time that showed a salesman talking to potential customers about a used church bus. "This one was designed for a committee," he said. "It has five steering wheels and seven brake pedals."

The reason most of our committees didn't really function is that we spent hours developing grandiose plans which we expected someone else to carry out. I finally woke up to the fact that the people we expected to do the work we planned were --sometimes at that very moment -- sitting in a different committee meeting making plans for still someone else!

Anyone who has worked in a business or government field where things get done intuitively knows that meetings such as I just described are totally fruitless! Why spend their precious time talking about things that will never happen?

Fast-forward some years to a huge change in the way we do ministry. Today our church doesn't really have committees. We find gifted people who want to make a difference, give them the best resources we can, let them plan their work AND THEN TURN THEM LOOSE! I'm no longer surprised to see well-educated, high-ranking leaders pour their lives out in service.

This relates to the "Help Wanted" title above. Our office is looking for a new Office Manager. Josh, who has done a very good job for us, couldn't pass up a great opportunity in the defense industry. He has significant experience in the specialization of his new job and I'm certain it will be a "win-win."

Consequently, we are looking for a new OM. The most important skill we seek? The ability to recruit, train and manage volunteers. Volunteers, some of them retired from very senior occupations, do the lion's share of our work.

These are often high capacity people we could never afford if we had to pay them. Instead, we will pay an OM who may not know nearly as much as they do, but will encourage them and provide them the tools they need.


Jailer said...

Sam -- Ooooh yes, brother! It's a wonder anyone actually came up with the idea of a "committee" as a system of church government. Most naturally devolve into debating clubs or socials, where little gets generated or decided but lots gets discussed. Meetings can be productive if tightly focused and controlled by an assertive leader, but that's a difficult skill set to find. I generally try to avoid committees where possible ...

Brian said...

There is a saying that we use on occasion, usually when we are stressed and short on time. I do not know who originally coined the phrase, but it goes something like this:>

"None of us are as dumb as all of us put together: Let's have a meeting."

Thanks Sam. We all appreciate you and your meeting and committee wisdom.