Organizing Your Church Building Committee
Organizing Your Church Building Committee
Selecting the right leaders, assigning the right responsibilities to the right people, recruiting, training, evaluating, and retaining the working body are some of the keys to a successful church building project. The first step is organizing your building committee.
The leadership, after thoughtful prayer and discussion, names the Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and Secretary (Recorder) of the Building Committee. This comprises the Steering Committee or Executive Building Committee members. These are the people who will be responsible to communicate to the leadership and perhaps to the church body. The Steering Committee should then, with the Pastor’s and other leaders help, determine individual sub-committee chairpersons.
Once those individual sub-committee chairpersons have been proposed, the chairperson together with the Pastor should jointly call each potential sub-committee chairperson in order to enlist that person’s service. Some may accept right away, some may want a few days to think about it, and some may decline. Have backup names prepared.
After each chairperson has accepted their role, it would be wise to assist the chairperson in selecting potential sub-committee members. The leadership should agree that each committee chairperson should enlist one or two key persons whom they want on their committee, and then provide an opportunity for every person who wishes to volunteer to serve on the committee in which that person is most interested. In some cases the Church Building Committee appoints members for all committees, and then attempts to secure their agreement to serve on the committee. Whatever method is used it is important to involve as many persons as possible in this phase of the church building project. Do not rely on public announcements or newsletter articles alone to secure volunteers. Some people who ought to be involved will not volunteer. Members of the Church Building Council should make personal calls on any persons who have not volunteered, and encourage them to “sign up” as a member of the committee of their choice, or one suggested by the Council. Smaller committees are typically easier to manage than larger ones. Some committees will need more workers than others. Therefore a committee may range from 3 to 10 people.
Once the chairperson of each sub-committee is organized it is time to have a general meeting to get everyone on board. It is strongly recommended that the Building campaign be discussed early in the planning phase of the program. There must be no question of unity or purpose. If someone is not 100% on board and in unity on the need to build, then they should not be part of the building program. Members can and will disagree on many details, but they must be unified in the purpose and goal for building.
The next meeting of the group should be for training and education. Each committee should be instructed as to the specific responsibilities in the presence of other committee chairpersons. The purpose of this meeting is so that each committee understands how it works together as a part of a larger whole in order to make the campaign successful. Each committee member has a circle of influence, and as they spread the information about what they are doing and enlist the support of others, they will be able to do so in the context of the entire program. This process builds consensus and confidence in the success of the program.
Remember one of the goals of the campaign is to increase member involvement in the church. Increasing member involvement increases ownership in the church. Increased ownership in the church increases stewardship.
Set Target Dates:
Set target dates for progress reports, and for the committees to have their work completed and their written reports presented to the Governing Body.
The Governing Body of the church should provide the committees with as much resource material as possible for their work. Churches similar to yours that have recently gone through a building program can be a great source of information. The Internet is a great place to start. Trade publications for furnishing and interior design also provide excellent information. Professional consulting services should also be relied upon. Progress Reports: The committees should make regular progress reports to the Executive Committee according to the target dates for such reports, and the Executive Committee should make progress reports to the congregation.
A Church Building Committee could be composed as follows:
- Chairperson of the Church Building Committee
- Recorder (secretary) of the Church Building Committee
- Pastor(s) of the church
- Chairperson of Prayer
- Chairperson of Property
- Chairperson of Promotion
- Chairperson of Finance
- Chairperson of Facilities
- Chairperson of Furnishings
- Chairperson of Legal
- Chairperson of Construction
IF YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN TECHNICAL COMPETENCE AND SPIRITUAL MATURITY ALWAYS CHOOSE SPIRITUAL MATURITY!!!
I cannot emphasize this point enough. Inevitably, in any construction project, there will be issues that arise that were not anticipated. The manner in which conflict is resolved will often determine the success or failure of the project! With that in mind and with great appreciation to the Institute for Christian Conciliation, I offer the following review of conflict resolution for Building Committees.
Conflict as an Opportunity Conflict is not necessarily bad or destructive. As people reconciled to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are called to respond to conflict in a way that is remarkably different from the way the world deals with conflict. (See Matthew 5:9) The most important question in conflict is, "How can I please and honor the Lord in this situation?"
As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks, or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
We believe that glorifying God happens when we take time to remember God's role in our conflict and then respond to it His way. As Christians, we believe that God sacrificed dearly, involving himself in all our conflicts. Therefore, we have the privilege and responsibility to consider God's perspective on the issue by trusting, obeying, and imitating Him. (See Proverbs 3:4-6; John 14:15; and Ephesians 5:1)
Negotiate in a Biblical Manner:
According to the Institute for Christian Conciliation a biblical approach to negotiation may be summarized in five basic steps:
1) Prepare (pray, get the facts, seek godly counsel, develop options)
2) Affirm relationships (show genuine concern and respect for others)
3) Understand interests (identify others' concerns, desires, needs, limitations, or fears)
4) Search for creative solutions (prayerful brainstorming)
5) Evaluate options objectively and reasonably (evaluate, don't argue)
Get Help From Wise Counsel:
l We strongly recommend that the Building Committee Chairperson and each of the subcommittee chairperson’s become familiar with the basic principles for conflict resolution found on the website www.hispeace.org.
About the Author: Glen Trematore is the Principal of Church Development Services Inc., which provides off the shelf church building plans & consulting services. Mr. Trematore may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://www.churchdevelopment.com.