Most churches have too many meetings. Think about this: What is the purpose of your church? If you know God’s answer, it goes something like this: To make disciples (devoted followers of Jesus Christ), and to minister (serve) those in need. These things don’t happen much in meetings!
When I work with pastors who are planning their retirement, I ask them, “What have been the most fulfilling, effective areas of your ministry? They never mention all the meetings they had to attend. No one finishes the ministry wishing they had attended more meetings.
Some meetings are necessary and important to any organization, including a church. Here are some guidelines:
- Keep the number of meetings to an absolute minimum.
- Make your meetings efficient: prepare everyone well.
- Make sure you have the right people at the meeting: some people are not gifted for the group.
- Take care of reports before the meeting, in writing or by audio recording. Use meeting time only for questions about reports.
- Have the necessary meeting-before-the-meeting. If you know someone in the group who will derail the progress of a certain subject, meet for lunch the week before the meeting and get it settled.
- Set a spiritual tone for the meeting.
- Spend time clarifying the mission of your church, to provide focus for the discussion.
- Begin your meetings asking for each person to share what God is doing in their lives. This provides inspiration—God is at work!
- Interject light humor. If Christians can’t laugh and have a good time, who can?
- Keep the group on task. Don’t allow people to wander off the subject.
- Begin on time. Don’t penalize those who arrived early or reward those who came late.
- If someone is out-of-line or the discussion becomes inappropriate, take a time out, and talk to the person privately. Or take time to spend in prayer.
- Provide a good atmosphere: comfortable chairs, the right temperature, light refreshments.
- End at the appropriate time. Respect the busy lives of others.
If you had a meeting at church, always reflect: Was it really necessary? Did we really accomplish ministry? Will it really make a difference? Remember this verse that is NOT in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He did not form a committee to have a meeting.”
What suggestions do you have for effective church meetings? We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, or you can visit www.churchdoctor.org.