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Critical Issues the Committee On Ministry Faces
Congregational Administration, Congregational Administration

From “The Committee On Ministry (COM) Model” by Rev. Robert T. Latham

I. Source of Power

A successful COM needs no other source of authority aside from its processed wisdom and the impact of the work it performs. Its authority should and must derive from its:

  • Stature
  • Purpose
  • Posture
  • Policies
  • Recommendations

The only stated authority given to the COM via its mandate is that of assessing the work of the congregation and its minister which it does within the context of its ongoing assessment of the function of all congregational agents of ministry. Out of such assessing it makes non-binding recommendations. Thus, while this is specific it is not exclusive—it is done within the context of the whole. Since it assesses the effectiveness of the professional minister it may also recommend changes in the minister’s compensation package.

II. Sources of Failure

  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Lack of ministerial support (low ministerial ego strength)  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Lack of definitive policies governing every aspect of its function  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Inability of its members to rise above private agenda or friendship issues.  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Poor congregational visibility  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Poorly structured  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Failing to be pro-active  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Losing sight of its purpose  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Lack of courage  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Low congregational stature  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated  
  • Practicing therapy  
  • Allowing itself to be triangulated

III. Policies

Policies are critical to the COM’s success and inevitably play a role in any of its failures. Therefore, having the right policies, having these policies well defined and refusing to back down from these policies will contribute significantly to COM power, stature and success. 

  • Internal Function Policies  

    • How the COM uniformly interfaces with congregational members  
    • How COM members interface with its own members (covenant)  
    • How the COM makes recommendations to the congregation’s ministry agents  
    • The intent of all COM interactions  
    • How all processes will be determined  
    • How triangulation will be avoided  
    • How follow-through will happen  
    • How and when assessments will be made.  
    • How conflict will be managed  
    • How ministers will be engaged in COM deliberations  
    • How visibility will be maintained.  
    • How functions will be managed  
    • How confidentiality will be kept and its distinction from secrecy  
    • How the COM chooses its internal leadership  
    • How the COM recommends replacement of its members to the nominating body  
  • External Function Policies  
    • How congregational members may process their suggestions and issues beginning with the COM and moving to the board and finally to the congregation  
    • How the membership of a congregational member may be terminated  
    • Certification and Ordination

Since the COM has no authority aside from that of its stature and capacity to assess and recommend, these three policies need to be authorized by the congregation’s board. They can be created by the board or by a joint committee of the board and members of the COM in order to reflect the broadest possible wisdom.

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