Write me: Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches, 409 Third Ave South, Kent WA 98032
Marcia’s Musings: Unintended Consequences
When we developed by-laws for Evergreen we gave priority to the caucuses. It was only after meeting for a while that I realized one advantage of our organization is that we do not have a nominating committee. In most organizations and certainly within the church the nominating committee (or the committee that operates as nominating committee) is often the most powerful group in the church. And this is seldom acknowledged. Churches may argue about who holds more power the deacons or trustees or some other group. But the nominating committee is the gatekeeper for who gets into leadership positions. This is power in and of itself. If someone can’t get through the nominating committee then opportunity to share their skill will be thwarted.
Evergreen has no nominating committee. Every caucus acts as its own nominating committee for its part of the Executive Committee and for the officers as needed. In some ways this is good, in others it can be challenging. Each caucus needs to learn to consider the whole of Evergreen when it comes to naming people to committees. Some caucuses have done well with this over the years, others have yet to understand what this may mean. One of the realities is that an Executive Minister will have less control over who might serve on the Executive Committee than would be the case if there was a single nominating committee. And it definitely means that the power of a nominating committee to be gatekeeper to leadership is broken. It once again gives power to the caucuses and challenges an individual caucus to not just think of itself but the good of Evergreen Association.
Another unintended consequence of Evergreen is that some local church members have so liked what they have experienced in Evergreen that local churches have adopted making decisions by consensus. This has given power to people in the pew in ways that have not before been experienced. On occasion it has challenged churches to listen to all of their members.
I’m sure we are creating other such “unintended consequences” as the Evergreen Way takes hold.