Position people for maximum impact

By Jim LaDoux
Church transformation occurs faster when all stakeholders make tangible contributions every month to its mission. People to contribute best when they know the big picture, the plan for moving forward, and how they can personally contribute in the next 30-90 days. Most people are "sprinters" rather than "marathoners." They prefer short-term commitments that can be completed in less than 3-5 hours in a given month. Listed below are three pathways for engaging members in ministry. Path 1 and 2 is primarily for "marathoners." Paths 3 and 4 are ideal for "sprinters."

PATH 1 | COMMITTEES (use to dream, decide, delegate, budget, set policies)
  • Committees focus on purpose, priorities (values and goals), and policies.
  • Committees spend time dreaming, deciding, delegating, communicating, and collaboration.
  • Committees align the church's assets, actions, and conversations with its purpose and priorities. Committees may meet monthly, every other month, or on a quarterly basis.
  • Committee members collaborate via Zoom, conference calls, email, and Google Docs. 
  • Committees delegate work to ministry teams, task forces, and project coordinators.
  • Committees pay attention to ministry outcomes and results. 
  • They have others manage day-to-day activities. 
  • Committee have setting short and long-term goals.

PATH  2 | TEAMS (use to carry out year-round or long-term projects/events)
  • Teams are "doing" groups that typically include 3-7 people, and may include paid staff.
  • Teams meet only "as needed," typically gathering no more than 4-6 times a year.
  • Teams coordinate plans between meetings via text, emails, Slack, Google Docs, etc.
  • Teams have clear goals and outcomes for the projects they oversee.

PATH 3 | TASK FORCES (use to coordinate short-term projects/events)
  • Task forces are doing groups that meet briefly to accomplish a specific task.
  • Task forces are often commissioned during worship when their term of service begins.
  • Task forces may be used to coordinate Vacation Bible School, leading a mission trip, coordinate a stewardship drive, conduct a congregational survey, redesign a website, create a communications plan, or conduct a year-end financial audit.

PATH 4 | PROJECT COORDINATORS (use to carry out small, specific tasks)
  • Project coordinators do NOT typically attend meetings.
  • Project coordinators oversee projects such as maintaining the church database, creating promotional brochures, updating web pages, coordinating an event, serving as a mentor, sending birthday cards, making home visits to designated households, reviewing curricula, overseeing the congregations social media pages or posts, posting polls or caring conversation questions on the church's Facebook page, orienting newly-elected leaders about faith formation principles and practices, serving as a liaison to ministry teams, coaching lay leaders, tracking goals, sharing faith stories, taking pictures at events, etc.
  • Project coordinator may team up with other coordinators to fulfill larger projects.
  • Include project coordinators on your leadership roster.
  • Assign someone to support and resource them

3 suggestions for leaders who assess and restructure work flow
  1. Write brief ministry descriptions for every "active" ministry project.
  2. Recategorize work and work groups based on the types of individuals/teams that are most suited for each task.
  3. Review and restructure committees; then align/assign all other work to a specific committee; update roster.


  1. Are we being good stewards of the people we invite into ministry?
  2. How will we discern what types of teams we need to manage ministry?
  3. Do we know our servants well enough to honor their gifts and serving style?
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