Author: Valerie Morris
Have you ever tried to herd cats? I have literally tried this when we got three kittens a few years back and I can attest that the expression is true to its meaning 100%. Cats are fast, agile, smart, and have a mind of their own. This is often how many Young Life committees can feel too. Committees are often full of fast-moving, savvy and smart adults, who all have their unique perspectives and expertise. This is a true gift if you’ve got it, but when you have so many perspectives coming together, how do you get going in the same direction? The answer is in the Committee Chair.
The Committee Chair is a vital role within any Young Life ministry. You might be surprised to find a few parts of this role that you hadn’t considered before. It might just change how your entire committee operates moving forward.
I asked a few of my friends around the mission about what the role of Committee Chair entailed and here are a few common themes that kept popping up in these conversations:
Bridge - Young Life ministries need their committees, and committees need staff and volunteers who are on the front lines each day doing ministry. The Committee Chair is the core bridge, or liaison, between these two groups. He/She comes together with the Area Director to truly partner and help make sure that both groups of people are all going in the same direction.
Encourager - Committee Chairs have the opportunity to encourage committee and help them to stay engaged and focused, throughout all seasons of ministry. They also are vital encouragers of the area director and staff too.
Organizer - Organizing meetings, logistics, and schedules is often where we first go to when we think about the role of the Committee Chair, but the reality is that this is just a small part. Albeit an important part, it’s just a fraction of what the Chair’s role involves.
Accountability Partner - The Committee Chair is the ultimate accountability partner in the area. A Chair will meet regularly with the main staff in the area and help keep them accountable to life, ministry, and spiritual goals. However, a Chair is also there to keep the committee accountable to doing what they said they were going to do.
Friend: Young Life is all about relationships, which is why it is no surprise that the Committee Chair is a friend and focused on being intentional in relationship with the Area Director and committee. That friendship can have a business side to it, yes, but it also is focused on transparency, longevity, and partnership.
Visionary - It can get lonely at the top, which is where many of our staff operate from. The Committee Chair is someone who has committed to invest in an intentional relationship with the Area Director. Together, they can dream and cast vision for what Young Life could look like in the local area. Since both the committee and staff/leaders can’t do it without the other group, it makes sense that the Committee Chair AND Area Director would cast vision together.
Shepherd - The Committee Chair is someone that has spiritual maturity and discernment. He/She is someone who is seeking wisdom and willing to pursue that. They are there to help ensure the spiritual/financial/emotional health of the staff, committee and the local ministry.
Mobilizer - Every person on a committee is vital and brings different skills to the table. Committee Chairs speak into the strengths of those on the committee and find opportunities for them to shine and thrive.
Cat Herder - Committee Chairs ultimately help pull people going in different directions (leading, ministry building, fundraising, networking, praying, event planning, etc.) and attempt to get everyone moving in the same direction.
As I got all these descriptions and perspectives in from leaders in Young Life from all over the world, and from all types of roles, it became pretty clear to me that the Committee Chair is one of the most vital roles within a local ministry. It’s a role that does many of the unseen things and overall direction of the ministry. It’s easy to read a big list like this and get overwhelmed by all that you could be doing. But, as soon as I got tempted to go down that road in my head, I turned it back to what a possibility this role is and the impact one role can have on Young Life ministry and the gospel.
Special thanks to a few folks for creating this picture of the Committee Chair role: