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By Steve Widmer
November 29, 2021

Putting together a committee to lead your church’s effort for a new building or expansion seems like it should be easy enough. When tasked with a major church construction project, most church leaders operate under the assumption that the staff and congregation members with a combination of church tenure, love for the ministry, and experience in, say, real estate, business leadership, finance, and other relevant skills, are ideal recruits for such a committee. Depending on each person’s level of experience in their respective field, some might even believe they’ve assembled a “Dream Team” that will grab the reigns and steer the project to a smooth, effortless, problem-free completion.

The unfortunate truth is that proper vetting of prospective church members and staff for a church building project is too often and too easily overlooked. Moreover, many church leaders become confused about what to look for when vetting a building project team. Without an understanding of what makes for the right project committee, what may look like that Dream Team on paper can more often than not end up being a dysfunctional, opinionated group that ultimately leads the project into a quagmire, if it doesn’t end up killing it altogether.

Obviously, no one wants that. And in defense of the many church leaders and building committee members who have fallen into the trap of opinionated dysfunction, no one sets out with the intent to drive their church’s building project into a proverbial brick wall.

So in order to avoid the fallout that inevitably results from poorly chosen, inadvisable project committee members, Catalyst Construction brings you four valuable considerations for recruiting the most effective people for your next big God-inspired church building project.

Start With A Written Committee Description

Before making any recruitment decisions or even thinking about potential candidates for your building committee, you’ll need to define your terms with a written description of what the committee you’re assembling actually is. The description should summarize the committee’s purpose, its composition and selection procedure, and each member’s specific duties and expectations. First and foremost, team members should see their role as a high calling to serve God and the church and, second, see themselves as ambassadors to the vision and leaders in moving the project forward.

Select the Right Committee Lead

This role is critical, and the person chosen needs to be willing to be the face of the committee. They should have proven leadership skills that are well respected in your church, demonstrate your church’s values, and align with the vision for the project and its impact on the future of your ministry. They must show maturity in their faith, confidence in their leadership, and humility in their approach. They should be leaders who understand the importance of the process and can confidently guide committee members to accomplish tasks within an allotted timeframe. The committee chair must put the church’s goals ahead of their own and be unafraid to address conflict but do so with a spirit of love and in a Biblical manner. Like any good leader, a good committee chair will draw out the best in the people they lead.

Give Leadership and Discernment the Edge Over Experience and Expertise

Churches tend to put experience and expertise ahead of leadership and discernment gifts. Empirically in most church building and renovation projects, the latter has proven to produce much better results and lends itself to a much smoother process. Members with strong leadership skills and good discernment are typically able to establish a more collaborative workflow and have better communication among themselves and with church leadership and the congregation. This is not to say that people with experience and expertise have no place on your building committee. Of course, they do. But members who demonstrate leadership and discernment should be considered a bit more favorable, while those who may have experience and expertise may be a better fit for an “as needed” advisory role.

Find Church Members Who Have “Skin in the Game”

Every church has casual members. They’re the ones who have maybe been members for several months or even years and who may even participate in some of the ministry’s events and activities. But they’re not genuinely committed to the church and its mission.

But how do you determine if someone has “skin in the game?” How do you know if their actions are demonstrating the values and culture of your church? One of the best indicators you have of a person’s maturity in their faith is being faithful with their time AND financial resources. Ask yourself, does this person demonstrate a genuine commitment to the vision and direction of the ministry through their generosity and faithfulness in serving? Those willing to demonstrate putting God first in their finances, are generally people who have learned to recognize what God has given them. Being good stewards is a sign of someone who is mature in their faith and their trust in the Lord. They’re the ones who will see service on a church building committee for the honor and privilege that it truly is.

Assembling the ideal members for your church building project committee is a task that is well worth the time and effort that it takes to do it right. Attributes like leadership, commitment, and humility, more often than not, will trump experience and expertise and will carry your building project from beginning to end with better cooperation and less frustration. Organizing and managing people toward a specific goal is a skill. Some have it, some don’t. But if you use these valuable considerations as a guide when selecting members for your next church building project committee, you’ll find it makes the process a whole lot easier.

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Steve Widmer
Steve is Principal at Catalyst Ministry Solutions. CMS exists to help churches, schools, and non-profits create the roadmap to reach their next level of impact. Steve brings 20+ years of success as a leader in Corporate America and 15 years working on staff in church leadership and consulting with churches in the areas of generosity, leadership, and staff development.