Tips for Getting Things Done

I’m at the 220th General Assembly of the PCUSA and am reminded that God so loved the world, God didn’t send a committee.  And yet working with committees/groups/teams is crucial for including multiple perspectives,  sharing the responsibilities,  and holding each other accountable.

Whole books have been written about Getting Things Done.  But here are some thoughts I have after just a couple days at GA.  If you want a team or committee to get things done, try this:

  • Do not fill a committee or council with people who represent specific demographic or interest groups. Albeit all racial/ethnic/age/special interest groups have passionate ideas to support and achieve their vision.  But we need people with passion for the whole vision – not just the vision of disparate groups with individual agendas. For example, we want people with a radical passion for new church development because they all believe that Jesus commissioned us to make disciples of all and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Note:  I also believe it’s a mistake to have a congregational council/Session made up of the Chairperson of Mission, the Chairperson of Christian Education, the Chairperson of Stewardship, etc. because it makes the elders push their individual ministries rather than the ministry of the whole church.
  • Expect the best of volunteers because God deserves no less.  Yes, people are not getting paid to study issues, attend meetings, read articles, listen to stories.  But it we are going to serve, we need to serve with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love – like we promised.  (Even those of you on the Review of Biennial Assemblies Committees.)
  • Make it fun.  My colleague B. joyfully ordered personalized water bottles for our commissioners.  Some of us wore green wigs to a party last night as a tribute to another friend for a job well done. (It made sense to us, but maybe you had to be there.)  Make it a party.  Or at least finish with a party.

This is the Mother of all meetings every other year in my denomination.  I am praying that many faithful things get done.

Photo by Erin Dunigan.  See more here.

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One response to “Tips for Getting Things Done

  1. Jan, your first bullet point contains so much wisdom, and is applicable to the management of the secular world as well as the spiritual. When we ask someone to serve on a committee/group/governing body only for one aspect of their being, we create a product that has the potential to be less than the sum of its parts. Additionally, individuals selected because they are of a certain race/gender/socioeconomic background/etc. feel compelled to pursue an agenda they feel serves the perspective of group of individuals they represent, because “isn’t that why I was chosen to serve?”

    It can be a touchy subject, and one that needs a lot of love, support, and patience to approach with clarity. Unfortunately, since passion, clarity in discernment, and vision are primarily internal characteristics and difficult to demonstrate/articulate to others on the behalf of someone, we tend to go with the more obvious/visual/easily communicated characteristics and hope they achieve the same ends.

    Thank you for this post.

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