If excellence is your goal, where can you start?
I suggest you begin by scheduling two meetings, one for review,
the other for planning.
Before the end
of the year, gather the faithful (the committee, clergy, and significant
workers) to review the year’s activities. Identify what worked
and what didn’t. Think about what you think might work well
next year. Can you identify potential additions to the committee?
This should be a festive occasion. After all, the “fall begathon”
is over for the year! Serve food and plan to enjoy yourselves. Regardless
of the outcome of your efforts, God loves you and knows you struggle.
Whatever you do, however, do not leave this meeting until you have
scheduled a planning session to take place no later than the end
plenty of time for reflection and contemplation for your planning
meeting. The best such sessions are overnight at a retreat center.
If this is not practical, consider an almost-all-day Saturday which
takes place somewhere comfortable. (Some church furniture is of
the sort that outlasted the Inquisition.) Try to invite a stranger
to facilitate (“Strangers,” commonly known as consultants,
may be available in your own diocese. If not, check with the Office
of Stewardship, Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue, New
York, NY 10017 1-800-334-7626. They may have some suggestions.
and other lay leaders (vestry, etc.) to join you. Begin with inductive
Bible study. Share stories. Dream boldly! And before the session
is over, have a rough, general plan for the next three to five years
as well as a specific plan for the current year.
Do not be surprised
if you encounter resistance to attending these meetings. People
are busy. I encourage you to be persistent. Excellence takes time
and effort. In the long run it saves both.