If We Love the Work . . . (Committee Edition)

Institutions have committees.

Most of our committees could be eliminated except for the fact that many believe that we can’t be a church/school/hospital/non-profit without committees.  Let’s do ourselves a big favor and get rid of:

  • Committees that meet for two hours when the work could get done in 30 minutes. Why does this happen?  Because some of us are not organized and some of us believe committee time = social time.  (Note: I’m not talking about brief connecting time – like “please pray for me because I just found out I need heart surgery.”  I’m talking about reminiscing, naysaying, sharing your vacation photos, etc. I am guilty of this myself too many times.)
  • Committees of one.  We say that we have lots of committees  – maybe – because it sounds like we are super active.  But the truth is often that Miss Irma is the de facto Christian Education Committee and Mr. Earl is the de facto Building Committee.  And then Committees of One bring work into the whole governing body as if committee work is their job.
  • Committees of grumpy people who do not want to be there, but “nobody else will sign up.” Stop the madness.
  • Committees with elected members who never show up. Maybe this isn’t a good time for someone.  There’s no shame in saying, “If this isn’t a good time for you to serve, it’s really okay to step away.”  Or if you are the committee member who needs to step away, do that.

Here’s my question for all volunteer coordinators, nominating committees, and leaders to ask committee people:  Do you love this work?  If you don’t, please leave the committee and then – if necessary – dismantle the committee.

If I love the work – whether it’s running a summer kids program or cleaning out closets or having a community barbecue – I will do whatever it takes to do it.  Friends: Divide up the prep work (i.e. construction estimates, speaker fees, buying pickles, etc.) and just do it.  If everyone is clear on:

  • Core Values/The Vision
  • The Budget (and the process for spending beyond the budget if necessary)

. . . then set people free to do the work without having to schedule a meeting.  And if meeting together is essential, honor people’s time.  Meet, Pray, Assign Tasks. Leave.

And if you have committees with zero energy or inspiration, ask them:

Do you love this work?

Because if we don’t, maybe God is telling us to let it go.  If nobody picks it up after us, maybe it needs to be dropped permanently.  And if it’s really important, believe me, someone will pick it up.  (Maybe they’ve been waiting for us to let go.)

Even the busiest people will do what it takes to make something happen if it means enough to them, if they love it, if we’ve discerned that God is leading us to do it.

Regarding Steve Jobs: treating our organizations as start-ups everyday is not terrible advice.

Image of Steve Jobs.


3 responses to “If We Love the Work . . . (Committee Edition)

  1. Love this article! So many things to think about. Question,Does not meeting give that “committee of one” more power and authority?


  2. Love this article! So many things to think about. Question,Does not meeting give that “committee of one” more power and authority?


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