It’s that time of year. If you aren’t already in the midst of it as a pastor, you will be soon. Nominating Committee Time. In many churches this is a dreaded time for those on the committee and for those in the pews. Members just expect to be questioned and pressured to fill positions in the church. The nominating committee members are like lions stalking their prey as they look for people to fill committees, teach classes, and lead ministries. But this time of year doesn’t have to be like this. Here is what I’m leading our church to do in an attempt to make this process more pleasant and hopefully make our church more efficient.
I will meet next week with our nominating committee to re-evaluate our committees and positions. We will look at every committee and every leadership role in the church and ask a few questions.
First, “Is this committee necessary?” Did the committee actually meet in the last year? If not, is it possible that this committee no longer serves a purpose in our church? If it has, then has the work this committee done benefitted our church in advancing the kingdom of God?
Second, “Does this committee need to be as big as it is?” Our church has lost members over the years. Some by death, some by moving letters, and some just because people stopped coming to church. It stands to reason that a committee that used to need 7-9 people when our church was larger could function on 3-5 people now that our church is smaller.
Third, “Could this committee better serve our church if we repurposed it into a leadership responsibility for one person?” The committee might serve a purpose in the church, but could that purpose be better served by an individual? Can the committee act fast enough to keep up with the pace of the ministry it is trying to accomplish? If it cannot, then maybe it is better to trust an individual with the responsibility that the committee once had. This individual could make quick decisions and no need for meetings.
Fourth, “Could this committee better serve the church as a team, instead of a committee?” Teams function differently in the church than committees. For business purposes, committees make decisions and many of them have to be presented to the church for a vote. But a team is commissioned by the church to perform a task or serve a purpose without the need for constant approval. A team works within boundaries set by the church, and functions at a faster pace than a committee.
The next step in our re-evaluation process is to re-evaluate positions in the church such as Sunday School teachers or VBS directors. Here are a couple guiding questions.
First, “Is this position still maintainable by one person?” Maybe VBS has become more and more of a success and the burden of running it would be better divided among two or three people instead of one. Maybe a Sunday School class has grown to the point it would be better to divide it into multiple classes. This is something to think about each year.
Second, “Has our membership changed in the last year to require new positions?” Maybe in the last year the church has brought in a lot of young adults, or men, or women. It might be that new Sunday School classes need to be formed. Maybe new ministries have developed that began as a movement of the Holy Spirit in the church and this is your time to focus on them, and determine an organized way to lead them.
Once you have re-evaluated your committees and positions you are now ready to try to fill whatever spots remain. So here is the process we will be using.
The Nomination Process
The process I will be leading the committee through is one I learned from a past church. I didn’t originate this idea, and I’m you may have a better way of doing it. I’d love for you to leave a comment and tell me about it if you do! I’m giving you the bones of this process, but know that every step has to be saturated in prayer and guided by the Holy Spirit.
First we make a list of every committee and position that needs to be filled. Next, we come up with a one or two sentence explanation of what the committee does, or what the position is required to do. This will be passed out to the church to pray over along with a form listing all the possible positions. We give these two forms to the church for ta couple of weeks and ask them to pray about where God has gifted them to serve the church. They then fill out the form checking any and all positions that they believe they could serve in. After a set number of weeks, the nominating committee meets again to sort through the responses and place people.
This process hinges on two assumptions. First, God has equipped the members of the body to serve the local church. Second, The church is most efficient when it utilizes the giftedness of its people.
So by working through this process we give the members a chance to seek God’s will for their lives and decide where they would best serve his body. This ensures that whenever positions are finalized, and people begin serving the church that they actually want to serve where they are at. They won’t be serving because they were badgered to death or pressured into it.
So once we have sorted through the results, placed people in their positions, we compile a list of the finished committees and positions to present to the church to vote on. But what if all the positions werent filled? What if a committee didn’t have anyone willing to serve on it? We take 1 week to present the spots that need to be filled and ask people to pray about signing up for them. At the end of the week, if no one has signed up. Then the nominating committee has to make a hard decision. Either the committee isn’t necessary to the functioning of the church and the church body has no desire to minister or serve in that way, or the position is vital to the functioning of the church and we have to get people to serve on it. If the position or committee is determined to not be vital, then it can be easily dismissed. It means that we just don’t need that committee or position at this time in our churches ministry. But if the committee is somehow vital and necessary for the ministry of the church to continue, then the nominating committee must either fill the positions themselves, or decide who they feel would best serve this committee and contact them personally about serving. This is absolutely a worst case scenario and last resort. We don’t want to pressure people into serving, but we need to ensure that the church can function. Also, in my experience at past churches that have done this, the problem is never having no one sign up for a position. The problem is having too many people sign up for certain positions and having to make hard calls as a nominating committee on who to place and who to deny a place on certain committees. But you need to be prepared for the worst.
I am praying that this goes well with my church this year, as it is drastically different for them. If you are reading this and dread the nomination process then maybe this will help you. Maybe you are reading this and your nomination process is phenomenal! Then please leave a comment and tell me about it. I’d love to hear how I could improve this process. Until next time…
Soli Deo Gloria