Minister’s Column – May, 2019

No one ever joins a church because they want to serve on a committee,” is common wisdom. It is even largely – though not always – true. This is part of why folks who study church dynamics (and there are people who make a living at it) suggest churches move away from forming more committees. In our very busy, often over-committed (over-committeed?) world, the word feels off-putting, hide-bound, and, well, tedious. Folks in the WWII generation and even the Baby Boomers joined committees and changed the world. Yet many today are more comfortable with shorter-term work that doesn’t necessarily mean meeting on the third Wednesday of every month. Because of this, UU Ventura is slowly changing titles of the groups that form to help us live out our mission. Though it reflects more than a change in nomenclature, and a few people have expressed confusion about it. So here is a glossary: Committee – a formal group that meets regularly – usually monthly – and likely publishes formal minutes. The best example for us is the Finance Committee; we definitely need them to meet monthly and their minutes are vital to keeping us all informed and aware of budgets and finance. Team – a group that meets on an as-needed basis. They likely take notes to keep team members on track, though don’t need published minutes. A team’s work is also likely more dynamic, more nimble. A good example at UU Ventura is the Personnel Team. There are times their work ramps up and they meet regularly, although not necessarily monthly. There are times they do work by email, and times they touch base with each other, the board, or the minister to make sure things are on track. Task Force – a group gathers to complete a task and disbands when the task is done. They may keep notes, though not necessarily minutes. They likely write a report for the board, committee, or team that empowers them. The Five Year Vision Task Force has five members, so we affectionately call the 5-4-5 Force. It was formed by the board to take the congregation through a mission and vision process. The end result will be a Five Year Vision Plan which will be created by committees and teams and a perhaps a task force or two. The plan will be approved by the board and then by the whole congregation. The 5-4-5 Force will then disband, rest a while on their laurels, likely move on to other church work. My great hope is that we have a vibrant combination of committees, teams, task forces, affinity groups, and social groups that all actively engage people’s hearts, minds, spirits, and sense of devotion to the congregation and to creating justice in the world. That’s all, With Love, Rev. Dana