Create an advisory team

Create an advisory team

One of the most vital things leaders need to do is listen to our church members.  Listening shows them we are eager to understand and meet their needs. As we listen to our church members’ trials and challenges, and also their ideas, they will grow much more confident in our leadership. 

These two verses confirm this important teaching:

Each of you should look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (1 Peter 5:5)

When I served on an elder-evangelist team in Palm Beach, Florida, we not only sought to listen on a personal level to our members, but we also created an advisory team. This team was composed of representatives from the diverse groups of people in our church. We designed the groups to represent people in every age and stage of life, from our young and middle-aged members to our most mature members, whom we called “Prime Timers.” Both single and married people served on the team. The group was racially diverse, representing all the different cultures in our vibrant congregation.

We broke our advisory team into multiple small groups. We met with each group every three months or so. When we met, the elders and evangelists would share some of our future plans and ideas and invite their responses and input. They offered encouragement and enthusiasm along with fresh perspectives, ideas, and suggestions for ways we might want to consider adjusting our plans. Sometimes they helped us to consider our plans in new ways, bringing up ideas or concerns we had not yet considered. The final decisions still rested with the elder-evangelist team, but the perspective of our advisory team members was invaluable and instructive. We often adopted a version of their suggestions. This teamwork helped the entire church to feel far more positive and confident in our plans.

If your elder-evangelist team has felt somewhat disconnected from your church members, or if you’ve been seeking new ways to “take the pulse” of your church as you lead and plan, forming an advisory team will be a huge help. An advisory team can help your leadership team to lead more effectively by staying connected to the real feelings and needs of your members. May God bless you in your efforts to shepherd your church from the heart!

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