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Think about it: the most valuable asset people can give to your church is their time. If a man or woman comes to me and says, "Pastor, I have four hours a week to give to the church in ministry," the last thing I'm going to do is put him or her on some committee.

Committees discuss while ministries do. Committees argue while ministries act. Committees maintain while ministries minister. Committees talk and consider while ministries serve and care. Committees discuss needs while ministries meet needs. We must minimize maintenance in order to maximize time for ministry.

Maintenance is church work: budgets, buildings, and organizational matters. Ministry is the work of the church. The more people you involve in maintenance decisions, the more you keep them from ministry.

We have no committees at Saddleback. We do, however, have 150 different lay ministries. Our paid staff does the maintenance, and our lay ministers appreciate that the time they volunteer is given to actual ministry.

In streamlining your structure, it's better not to vote on ministry positions. There are several good reasons for this:

1. It avoids personality contests and attracting people who are only interested in power or prestige.
2. It allows new ministries time to develop slowly, out of the public spotlight.
3. It allows new members a chance to get involved more quickly.
4. It makes removal easier should people fail in a ministry.

Not voting on ministry positions also allows you to respond more quickly to the Holy Spirit's leading. Once a woman came to me and said, "We need a prayer ministry."
I said, "I agree. You're it."

She said, "Don't I have to be elected or go through some approval process?" She had imagined having to jump through all kinds of hoops first.

I said, "Of course not. Just announce a formation meeting in the bulletin and start it."

She did.

You shouldn't have to vote on whether or not a person can use the gifts God has given him or her in the body of Christ. I'm sure you realize how radical this approach is. In the typical church, members handle the maintenance (administration) of the church, and the pastor is supposed to do all the ministry. No wonder the church can't grow!

This article is used by permission from Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox
by Rick Warren. More information available at

Author Biography

Rick Warren
Web site:
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Beginning with just his wife, Kay, in 1980, the congregation now averages 22,000 attendees at its 5 weekend services.

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