033 – How to Avoid Death by Committee [Podcast]

Let your structure reflect your vision

death by committee

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Welcome to Season 1 Episode 33 of the Your Church Matters podcast.  In today’s episode, I address a common struggle with churches: an unwieldy and ineffective committee structure.



Observations about Church Committees:

1. Most churches have too many committees.

2. Most committees don’t have a clear vision for why they exist.

3. A complicated committee structure is a possible indicator of a low trust culture.

4. Often  committees are created to fill gaps rather than to empower ministry passion.

5. Often the purpose of committees is not consistent with the vision of the church.

6. In unhealthy church structures committees are often formed out of perceived crisis.

7. In unhealthy church structures committees may result in entrenched power brokers and handcuffed spiritual leaders.

8. A church’s committee structure may actually keep ministry from happening.


A church's committee structure may actually PREVENT ministry from happening. Click To Tweet



Suggestions for Avoiding Death by Committee:

1. Introduce new terminology … (example: ministry teams). Terminology alone does nothing.  New terminology has to introduce a new framework.

2. Move from a model that says “we meet to discuss and decide” to a model that says “we organize to facilitate and act.

3. Instead of electing a committee to meet and discuss and bring recommendations back to be picked apart and voted on by people who have not been involved, empower a team to facilitate getting things done and give them the support they need to accomplish the task.

4. In many cases, a short term, single task team that focuses on getting one thing done is better than a standing team that focuses on a larger, broader, and less clear area of the church’s ministry.

5. Focus on empowering people by getting them involved in places where they can put their gifts, passions, and experiences to work in hands-on ministry experiences, rather than asking them to attend meetings.

6. Identify key leaders who are gifted in certain areas and empower them to gather a team to achieve desired outcomes.

7. Have a clear and compelling vision that the church is pursuing and make sure every ministry team’s focus is related to accomplishing that vision.


A Possible Streamlined Team Structure to Bring Clear Focus:

1. Stewardship Team (Budget, Finance) – Focuses on funding ministry and encouraging individual and corporate stewardship.

2. Staff Development Team (Personnel) – Focuses on developing the most healthy and effective staff possible.

3. Facilities Team (Buildings, Grounds) – Focuses on proper routine maintenance & cleanliness, best use of space, future needs for renovation, visual appeal.

4. Leadership Team (Administration, Operations) – Focuses on overall direction and keeping the mission and vision at the center of everything.


To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, argumentative, off-topic, or just plain unhelpful.