Even Jesus Needs a Project Portfolio Manager

For the second time in my life, I’m on a church council.  For those of you who’ve been on a church council before, you understand that’s two too many!  They’re political.  They’re emotional.  They’re at times completely irrational.  Even though opinions usually come with good intent, it doesn’t take long for our group of 11 to have 14 different ones.  Meetings can quickly go off the rails and nothing gets done.

Our Pastor says, “Jesus calls us to our strengths.”  In the case of a church council, Jesus needs a project manager.

As a council member, you will never, ever, make everyone happy.  Don’t even try.  I gave up on the first council I was on.  I instead focus on my strengths that add value.  These include:

  • Meeting Management: we go to enough meetings, so we know how to create agendas and keep them on track
  • Budgeting: a problem for 99% or churches but on the surface we understand what money we need to run operationally and additional funds required to deliver new projects
  • Prioritization: there are 100 requests coming in every year with enough money to fund 2; we’re good at helping prioritize so the right things get done at the right time
  • Accountability: if you commit to doing something, you’re committed to doing it and we’ll make sure you do; no we’re not being mean, this is just what we do
  • Follow-ups: “I don’t know” is a perfectly good answer, but we’ll follow-up on it and get an answer
  • Future-looking: there is more than what’s happening today and this year; we know how to talk to people and understand changes, both internal & external, that will impact us in the future
  • Communication, Communication, Relationships, and Communication: congregational members are our shareholders and I don’t get a lot of time in front of them.  I’ve learned to deliver a quick, crisp message as well as finding informal ways to meet with members during fellowship time.  They know who I am and I do my best to build relationships.

But, amidst all this chaos and countless hours I put in pro bono, I actually feel OK about doing it because I’m serving a larger purpose.  A company focuses on profits.  Though money is always a concern with churches, you’re serving a community and helping leave a legacy.  But helping lead that legacy is no small task!

If Jesus calls us to our strengths, then He definitely needs a project manager on His staff to get things done!


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