a ministry description for local church leaders
God asks the church to be a community of people sharing a common purpose and fellowship, continually growing in faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. Paul describes the church as “his body, the fullness of him who filleth every thing in every way” (Eph. 1:22).
Thus the church is a servant body. Created for service, it serves the Lord in praise, serves one another in love, and serves the world in humility. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
Shortly after Pentecost, the gift of sharing with those who have not, otherwise known as the gift of hospitality (Rom. 12:13; I Tim. 3:2; I Peter 4:9), was first exercised specifically for the body of Christ and the world Christ died to save. As the believers praised God in this fellowship, they had favor with people. Their love for one another attracted those who observed their fellowship and “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). These new converts did not all have wealth; consequently, these new believers met together in one another’s homes, pooled their resources and shared what they had with those who possessed little or nothing.
God supplies each person in the church with the resources for ministry—scripture, spiritual power, God’s character, and spiritual gifts. The members of the social committee are equipped for their ministry by the gifts received from the Holy Spirit. These spiritual gifts are special abilities given by the Holy Spirit to make their ministry effective and build up the body of Christ.
Duties of the Social Committee
Although the program varies from church to church, the ministry of the social committee can best be described in the following ways:
1. Planning. It is important to plan well ahead. In today’s world many church members have busy, packed schedules and if they do not have advance knowledge of an event for several weeks, they will not be able to attend. It is also true that to produce an excellent activity that makes people feel good about their church family and really enjoy themselves, it takes time for careful preparation.
2. Hosts and hostesses. Do not forget that the most important element in any church social is the people. Committee members should be assigned to serve as hosts and hostesses for each event, and those with this assignment should be freed of details like preparing food, setting up tables and chairs, etc., so they can concentrate on greeting each person as he or she arrives, introducing those who do not know one another very well, watching the flow of conversation so that no one is left out, and generally supervising the relational elements of the activity. These little communication tasks are sometimes ignored and as a result new people in the group feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.
3. Details and arrangements. Each event requires a lot of errands, purchases of supplies, setup of furniture and equipment, creation of decorations and handouts, and many other preparations. The members of the social committee are all expected to share in these tasks, and it will destroy the value of the event if some one on the committee has to carry an undue share of the burden. It is essential that the coordinator assigned to each event make up a detailed check-list well in advance and assign each item to someone on the committee. Then check regularly on their progress, or you will be embarrassed!
4. Recruiting and managing volunteers. The crew that does the work at any church social is made up of volunteers, not paid employees. It has to be recruited and supervised with the utmost care. Successful social committee chairpersons are those who learn how to see that volunteers “get paid” not with money, but with friendship, a sense of usefulness, opportunities for creativity and the joy of seeing church members come closer together and enjoy times of real fellowship.
5. Creativity. The congregation has a right to expect the social committee will plan and produce events that have a touch of beauty, quality and creativity. A sense of “specialness” must touch each freshly baked roll, bowl of fruit, decorative flower display, and linen tablecloth, as well as the high school photos of the honored guests mounted on the bulletin board or the favorite hymn of the new pastor sung by the guest musician, or whatever item is appropriate! Remember that our God is the creator of all that is spectacular and winsome in the world around us and that He wants us to share with Him the joy of the exquisite. It takes a little extra thinking and effort to come up with these special touches, but it is worth it because it tells those who participate that your congregation cares.
Although now out of print, you may find in your church library a copy of Recreational Plans prepared by the old Missionary Volunteer Department (1943, Review & Herald Publishing Association). It has some very interesting Adventist traditions for social occasions.
Visit AdventSource On-Line at www.adventsource.org for a complete list of the latest resources available for local church leaders. You can place an order or request a catalog by calling 1-800-328-0525.
For information about additional resources and answers to your questions call the Adventist Plusline at 1-800-732-7587 or visit them on-line at www.plusline.org.