Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why did we Create New Teams and not Committees?




    Most of us who “grew up” Methodist or who have been a part of The United Methodist Church for any length of time are accustomed to church business being conducted by all sorts of “committees.”  But sometimes, like now, we hear of new groups that are called “teams” and we wonder what the difference is.  The simple answer is that the name implies a difference in the way that these groups are organized.  The Book of Discipline, which defines the basic organization of the church, specifies a few committees (such as Finance, Trustees, SPR, and Administrative Council) that are required under our system.  These committees have a defined membership that is elected on a rotating basis, with members elected for a three year term.  For years, most churches followed this model for all of their groups.  But in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to find people who were willing to serve a three year term on any sort of standing committee. 

    But teams are different.  Churches do not ordinarily have a committee to organize Vacation Bible School, but year after year, VBS happens because a few leaders organize a team of people who are willing to step in, have a few meetings, and get the job done.  No one is obligated for a three year “enlistment” or feel they must attend regular meetings over a long period of time.  The VBS “team” comes together for a short time, gets the job done, and then goes on their way. 

    The plan is for these new teams to operate in a similar way.  Team leaders will make up a list of people who are willing to help for a limited time, and will call them to enlist volunteers for each project that they are planning.  Being a “member” of one of these teams might mean that you help on every project, or it might mean that you can only help on one particular project.  When you get a call from one of these team leaders, instead of being asked to volunteer for three years and lots of meetings, you might be asked to help plan a dinner, attend one or two meetings, show up for the dinner, and be done.  In our busy culture, it is a lot easier for people to volunteer for short projects than to make long-term commitments.

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