I had a great consultation with a local church last week. The topic was starting an endowment fund and a planned giving program. By the end of June I will have had this conversation with four different churches this month.
When I do these, I am interested to see who the group is that I’m talking with. It is often a committee, generally finance or the trustees, sometimes stewardship. But last week it was the leadership team. Chairs of various committees, most of whom do not get financial reports, were there, as was the lay leader, even the delegate to Annual Conference.
The pastor had made this conversation a priority for the church leadership as a whole. As a result my confidence that this project will succeed is higher than average.
Too often, I think, important issues in the church get sent to a committee rather than a larger group like the Administrative Board. Clearly a strong endowment program can help the congregation as a whole, so the leaders as a whole should be involved.
If all your Ad Board does is receive reports, then it’s following the work of the committees. But if it as a whole is taking on major projects and developing the vision of the church, it is truly leading.
We put many of our best leaders and visionaries on our Ad Board, then build a structure that prevents them from leading.
In the example from last week I am sure that most of the work around endowments and planned gifts will be handled by the appropriate committee. How frustrating would it be if the Missions Committee meetings were full of endowment policy and not missions work? But by elevating the initial conversation to the top tier of church leaders it adds importance to the effort and helps the church as a whole buy in to the idea.
As you consider where the important work in your church, do it in a way that gets the whole church get behind the issue and let your leaders lead.
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