Thursday, June 30, 2005

minimizing tactics

The structure of each church varies, but when you step back and look at all the sugar cubes that make a church work like a well oiled machine,piled up, you've still got a pile of dissolving grainy cubes, or in this case, I am referring to the overabundance of committees.

Some would say, "But Church Chick, everyone knows that it takes a village...." So I guess it takes a village of committees to feed the congregation. Ah,yes. Let's get every member involved. Let's assign a spot for all 3,899 church members on a committee or some distant relative of one.

Figuring the ins and outs of committees can sometimes make me feel like pulling out an old blanket, throwing it over a card table and climbing inside. The committee system is its own multi-tasking monster. I mean you have to go, and sit still, act like a grown up, on a regular basis. It's tough, very very tough. But in some ways necessary. to a point. There is no question about there being an over abundance of committee reproduction in this country. You may wonder why no one is taking a strong and visible stand on this important issue? Well, in the first place, I couldn't find anyone who wasn't already over committeed to get on board, and in the second place, well there really is no second place, now is there?

I've heard there's an underground effort working towards anilating the complications of over committee-izing the church.

I'm here to tell you that you can breathe easier, as I have seen some of these tactics in action and baby, we're on our way...

Some committees collect large groups of people, then break them down into sub-committees, and then further into the flu-like ad-hoc committees. If you create enough subs, the committee itself implodes into its own core and evaporates.

Another tactic is to use Handout Strategy-create illegible handouts, perhaps in handscript, or another language. This type of offering opens the floor for broad interpretation. " I thought this said we'd be here NEXT week, not tonight, sorry I missed it.." or " I'm processing the agenda right now, can we postphone the meeting til next month?" If enough people miss enough meetings, you can eventually ask the age old question, " If no one comes will it still be a committee?"

If you can't reduce the numbers of groups to meet, then the other option is to try to cut down on the time the meeting is sucking out of the environment...

For committees such as finance or budget committees, a sure fire way to break up a meeting in a hurry is to create a microscopic spread sheet. I have a friend who has a degree in that skill. He never has trouble finding work, because with that amazing talent listed on his resume, businesses of all sort recognize the value of that ability and they often time fuss and quarrel over who shall hire him first... I mean consider this- You are accustomed to spending a good hour and a half each month going line by line through the budget. Those who haven't fallen asleep by the time you get to the end, are usually seeing double. Add the confusion such a task creates, and you've got a room full of cross-eyed, mixed up committee dis-members.

So, this guy, this amazing friend of mine, has come up with a perfect solution.

He creates little spreadsheets. little. little
He can put the entire US budget into a spreadsheet the size of a stick of gum. Oh, not impressed, yet? Well, think Trident Gum, Dentyne, or.. how about chicklets? Remember those little chews?

Yeah, picture a line item on that, buddy.

This process speeds up the budget part of any meeting considerably. If you have to meet, might as make it quick and productive, right? No one questions numbers they can't see? So the meeting breezes on.

I think this has really shortened some time, and has no doubt increased business at the local opthamology office.