Responses to question 2 at TH #4

Grouped and consolidated Responses to b) What are three things consistory can do that would help/encourage make it easier for you to volunteer for a leadership position at CCC?

Restructuring or reorganizing how we run the church

In this category there are numerous suggestions for doing things differently. They generally point to wanting fewer meetings, shorter commitments, more independence (less oversight), changing the terms on consistory had lots of support. Notice that these are generally “technical” solutions. Some of them hint at adaptive needs.

    • Task Force” model vs. traditional “board” model
    • Create functions / roles without meetings
    • Allow for greater flexibility in responsibilities, many assignments without formal role
    • If I can get small portions of tasks to do
    • Get not-active elders to do tasks (eg. House visits)
    • Organizing things better / guidance
    • Organize tasks into smaller chunks to make it more appealing for people to volunteer
    • Shorter time-frames of service on committees etc.
    • Shorten terms to 2yr terms – up to 3x in a row instead of 2 – 3yr terms; staggering of terms
    • 2 yr terms up to 3 times
    • Break duties into small segments which they already do
    • Provide jobs that fit our age
    • Shorter terms (2 years)
    • Less meetings to cover everything, possibly shorter & smaller focussed meetings
    • Flexible terms & overlap – good idea
    • Less pressure on people to renew terms all the time
    • Terms may be too long
    • Less years on term
    • Assistant deacons
    • Have perhaps a person as a student to follow & help a deacon for a short period of time (what is the workload)
    • Activities after church or Saturdays, instead of evenings
    • Do “home”visits so one feels more comfortable – approachable to engage. Also then have a better understanding of all the needs the church has
    • Consistory should be there to do more personal house visits. Find out where people & issues are at before it becomes a problem
    • Outsource administrative functions
    • Get more support for the consis – they need help to perhaps solve some problems
    • *Perhaps people from cong. Could help out in this area – redistribution of duties
    • Trying to do too much
    • Ask people to help!
    • Asking to serve based on gifts/desires rather than because it appears I have the time
    • Enabling more open communication to facilitate info sharing

Doing our meetings via video conferencing:

This category is really a sub-point of the above. It addresses the concern raised in response to question one about distances.

    • E-meetings, E-meetings, Conference meetings

Clarifying roles and expectations:

There was significant talk about a lack of knowing what was involved in particular leadership roles. I am not sure what exactly this points to but want to take it seriously. It begins to point to the next category, the one I find most worth pausing and reflecting on.

    • Have reasonable guidelines to follow
    • Share guidelines with everyone to be well informed.
    • Not overloading my schedule; making meetings shorter or less of them
    • Make sure there is a (duty) job description
    • Define expectations
    • There is a vacuum of information on responsibilities
    • Have membership classes
    • Job desc to make things clear. – I see merit in this but don’t like it a lot. It leads to “Not my Job” responses instead of doing what you can. (comment is by the original writer, not Pastor Pete)

More Flexibility and creativity: 

These responses have some pain in them to my ears. They imply that people have experienced an inflexibility in past leadership that stifles creativity. Whether true or not, it is their real experience and it took some courage to write it down. It seems quite related to the grouping called “Lack of familiarity & support & encouragement” in the first set of responses.

    • Be open to suggestions in a “Listening way”
    • Freedom to contribute without being told it should be done a certain way
    • Try not to drive volunteers away with being over controlling
    • Willingness to investigate differing viewpoints instead of waiting to be “defeated” in a debate
    • Be willing to make changes
    • Ability to be flexible with a program that is different
    • Willing to let people be less monitored
    • Biblical (or Christian?) approach instead of bylaw focussed one for ideas

Volunteers need more encouragement and affirmation than they let on publicly: 

These responses struck me because of their common call for encouragement. The first two really belong in other categories, but I just found it significant that people were calling for it.

    • Encourage congregation to help in areas where often its the same people doing it over and over
    • Encourage different opinions & respect that opinions may differ
    • Encourage people
    • Affirm those who are contributing/recognize that many do volunteer and contribute
    • Be supportive
    • Work together
    • Pray
    • Having formal/informal recognition / appreciation opportunities

Vision and Mission casting, gifts orientation to role assignments:

This calls for Vision finding and Mission naming.

    • Help clarify our vision
    • Focus on what’s really important to us as a congregation. Don’t try to do too much
    • Find out where people’s passions are to see if there are opportunities to serve
    • Better communication of direction & timelines

Leave this location:

This one needs to not fall out of our awareness. It actually might be good to deal with this suggestion at some point. Maybe if we identify 4 or 5 choices for the congregation to have consistory investigate and have this as one. It can be helpful to seriously deal with it.  It may seem scary to talk about, but I see it as worth it.

    • Sell building and rent only for Sundays

Loose ends:

These are a few comments that I could not easily see fitting in the above categories.

    • There is nothing they can do. They are working very hard, and my difficulties are for me to solve
    • Focus on outreach – need to bring in new people
    • Small study groups to help people grow.
    • Cannot help with the age factor, we get older ???
    • Legal areas to deal with 
    • Utilize small groups to allow people to know each other
    • Hold some things in the afternoon so people with night blindness can volunteer
    • Help with getting more involved – what this meeting is about
    • Office presence more often than once a week
    • Many congregants do things (outreach) that are not known – share this

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