Larry R. Evans is presently the president of GeorgiaCumberland Conference.

I once tried moving a mountain! The inspiration came from a Sabbath School class I had attended as a small boy. I had never seen a mustard seed, but I knew it was small. Surely my faith was big enough to move the big hill in our backyard. With childish courage I walked outside, away from everyone, and boldly shouted, "Move!" There was no earthquake. I shouted again, but again I was confronted with silence. I went back into the house very happy that I had not announced what I had intended to do. I was also sobered by what I thought the whole episode said about my faith.

Challenge Your Assumptions.

Somewhere along the way I was given the idea that the responsibility of the nominating committee was to fill church office positions for the coming year. That's an impersonal, mechanical, and limiting way of looking at a very important task. Now I'd rather look at it as an opportunity for building people and a dream for the church.

Go for the Gold.

Although it's not usually said verbally, willingness is often the first criterion in the selection process. It is obviously important, but it isn't enough. Research shows that churches on the growing edge work hard at preparing future leaders. Spiritual gifts, not only a spirit of willingness or availability, should be the first consideration. We are not simply talking about talented people. We are talking about individuals who can minister effectively within a particular church body. The first elder of a university church, for example, may not be qualified to be the first elder of a small church.

It Doesn't Have to Be Long and Boring

A glimpse into the meaning of eternity can sometimes be gained by being asked to serve on the nominating committee. We changed this by choosing a large enough committee that could be divided into two groups. Before dividing, we met as one large group to discuss particular needs and the general philosophy of a church dedicated to "building" people. Then one group took charge of church offices and the other took Sabbath School offices.

After a couple hours we came back together for a bread and salad supper to discuss what recommendations had been generated and to work out duplications. The stimulus of meeting a defined church mission, the social of supper, and the enthusiasm on unexpected progress carried the day. No, we didn't finish in one or two meetings, but we did cut in half the petty debates and the number of late-night meetings.

Roles Are Important Too!

The nominating committee is only a small part of an ongoing process. It is sometimes helpful to form a leadership development committee that among other things has the responsibility of implementing a mentoring system for new leaders and helping every member find a meaningful role or group. From this year long process comes recommendations for the nominating committee.

Larry R. Evans is presently the president of GeorgiaCumberland Conference.