Proverbs 21:5 ESV
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
Ever been in a terrible board meeting? A few years ago, Pastor Lee McCloud and I were asked to meet with the leadership of one of our churches that was struggling. It was our understanding that there was some serious strain between the pastor and church board, and they were seeking our help. I still remember walking into the room, greeting everyone and before we could even pray, one of the members pointed at the pastor and said, “We want him out of here!” Now how’s that for an introduction? I immediately said, “Let’s pray,” asking God for wisdom and guidance. We needed it big time. What started out as a terrible meeting actually turned into a profitable meeting. With God’s help we were able to arrive at a proper and positive resolve to a very tense and damaging situation. Since that day many years ago, the church has made several beneficial adjustments and it is now in a season of significant growth and blessing. Their meetings are now meaningful and unifying.
I have been in thousands of meetings since starting out in pastoral ministry at 21 years old. I have discovered that healthy churches have meaningful meetings. That means every meeting has a productive purpose that assists the church in fulfilling the divine mission of the church. What will help your next meeting to be meaningful? Here are a few elements that I would encourage to include.
1. Establishing a consistent schedule: Announce dates and location well in advance for members to be able to calendarize. This will help remove confusion about when the meetings are. Local church boards/elders do well to meet at least six or more times a year. Church teams do well to meet two or more times a month.
2. Include a prayer focus: Taking time to pray for specific areas or special needs will unify a meeting quickly. Even when there are differences of opinion, taking time to ask for wisdom and clarity will always unite hearts.
3. Announce the purpose of the meeting and mission: Begin with enthusiasm. It is vital to being by restating the mission, the topics to be discussed and the desired outcomes of the meeting. This keeps discussions and decisions useful.
4. Have a prepared agenda: Having a prepared guide for a meeting will make them more productive. This gives direction and keeps everyone on the same page. It may include: Prayer, Enrichment, Reports, Financial Information, A Dashboard of Key Stats, Discussion Items and Action Items requiring official action.
5. Have a precise start time and a projected adjournment: Having a start time and a targeted adjournment time will assists in keeping discussions concise and constructive. It is appreciated by time conscious members.
6. Expressing thanks to those who serve: Boards and teams do the heavy lifting for ministries. Taking time to express thanks and appreciation to members who serve is always significant and also motivating. Giving honor to members for service, birthdays or other accomplishments creates a healthy team spirit.
I have found that no meeting is perfect, however using these elements will contribute to having a meaningful meeting.