Many years ago I approached the chairman of our church’s Finance Committee to see if I could join the committee. I figured that my accounting and systems background would be useful skills for the group. He seemed surprised but gladly accepted my offer. After several fairly boring meetings it became clear to me that most of the committee members had been on the committee for more than ten years, and that the group in general was stuck in a rut with no fresh ideas.
Since I was new to the committee I was hesitant to suggest a fundamental change in the way the committee operated, but I knew something had to be done. I suggested to the group that we institute term limits (three year terms with a limit of two sequential terms). I was surprised by the reaction. Every member of the committee enthusiastically agreed.
It turned out that many of them wanted to get off the committee but did not want the other members to feel like they were being abandoned. We were able to work out a schedule of replacement for the longer term members and with some enthusiastic new members were able to implement some new church-wide communications and fund raising campaigns.
Consider using term limits for your church’s standing committees. It will help generate enthusiasm and new ideas, and it also helps in recruiting new members because they know to what they are committing.