For a more complete essay on the committee issue: The Doodler's Discontent
Here begins a small experiment. I've decided to brush up on my essay writing skills by writing a weekly essay/essay outline in response to someone's blog post. This is the first outing, complete with tiny training wheels :-) We'll see how long the stamina will last...
Essay Fodder: Committees Re-visited at Jesus Creed

A culture of individualism hinders proper committee functioning, and proper committee functioning requires communal decision-making.

Point One:
A culture of individualism inhibits the development of communal decisions-making skills.
  • Sub-point A: Such a culture provides few opportunities to develop these skills.
  • Sub-point B: Such a culture has few who are able to teach communal decisions-making skills.

Point Two: A culture of individualism assigns low value to communal decisions-making skills.
  • Sub-point A: Communal decision-making skills are of little practical use in such a culture.
  • Sub-point B: Communal decision-making skills add little to the bottom line in such a culture.

See CC License

“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” http://www.esv.org/


  1. Are you busting me for individualism? I was in a conversation with someone yesterday to whom I explained my issue with committee work, and she began to explain to me a session she had been in recently on creative leadership and that a distinctive trait of such folks is that they have trouble with the pace of committee work. Well, I'm busted.

  2. Scot,
    Na. I'm not busting anyone; I'm busting our culture. I'm on the CE Committee at my church, and I find the process frustrating and often (frankly) useless. So maybe I am busting myself.

    I've been thinking about humanity as created in the image of the triune God. This has raised some questions for me as to how we do committee work. I think it ought to be much more like a pub gathering than like a lock step march to Robert's Rules.

    I wonder what "committee work" looks like in more communal cultures.

    [btw, thanks for unknowingly serving as my first essay fodder blogger]

  3. Did you know that the collective noun for vultures is a "committee" ?

    It's against your point I know, but I couldn't resist.

    :-D :-D

  4. Mark, that explains a TON!

    I was going to move on to another topic for next week's tiny essay, but I'm becoming increasingly intrigued with this topic. I'm beginning to wonder: if these things don't really work, why do we keep having them? Isn't that normally defined as CRAZY?

    Are we just stuck? Hmmmm

  5. Another thought: could it be that those of us who find committee work unbearable are longing for something that is more human--could it be we know, either thoughtfully or intuitively, that committees (as they now stand) are a meager attempt at being communal in a culture that has been individualistic for too long?

    Another hmmm

  6. The problem I have with committees is that they tend to stifle Holy Spirit. They elevate man's decision making process.

    I have friends who are challenged to have been placed into a church that runs by committee. They debated at some length whether the church should have Biblical leadership rather than committee, and then they put leadership candidates out to vote by the congregation. I won't even go into the details of how they chose the candidates!

    A community of believers should function as neither a democracy nor a dictatorship, but should be able to collectively agree that "it seemed to good to the Holy Spirit and to us".

    Or am I a hopeless optimist? ;-)

  7. Mark,

    I think you are both realistic and a hopeless optimist. I started working on this essay again this morning (I hope to post a more finished product on Monday) and came up with this basic thesis:

    Committees are the broken creation of a culture of individualism, awkwardly stumbling toward communal decision-making.

    One thing I will now include--thanks for the head thump--are submitting to the Holy Spirit and practicing biblical leadership.

    I think there is an essential relationship between our creation as "humanity in the image of the Triune God" and communal decision-making. Done rightly, such decision-making is an expression of who we are as the people of God.

    I'm stopping now before I write the thing in the comments.