By Jonathan Howe
Meetings can be effective tools to get all the staff or volunteers on the same page. Some church staff meetings, however, are colossal wastes of time.
Regardless of how well-run or poorly-run your church staff meetings are, there is always room for improvement. These seven keys can help:
1. Have an agenda.
Meetings with no agenda are like road trips with no map. You won’t know where you’re going or when you get there.
An agenda makes it clear what will be covered in the meeting and helps you stay on topic. Prepared agendas also provide opportunities to add items for discussion at the next staff meeting. Fewer things fall through the cracks when everyone has a plan.
2. Set a regular time.
Consistency in church schedules is critical for ministerial staff and volunteers. Having a set date and time for your staff meeting allows for better planning by everyone involved.
You may consider longer meetings on a monthly basis if you have a large staff. Even still, try to make those as consistent as possible.
3. Have a set end time.
Meetings will fill whatever time you alot for them. Set end times also make the meeting more efficient. You’re less likely to chase rabbits in a meeting if you know you have a strict end time for the meeting.
Definite stopping points also frees participants from the worry of it going late and conflicting with another appointment.
4. Keep confidence.
Confidential conversations and details get shared in staff meetings. Church staff deal with very personal issues related to church members that sometimes need to be discussed amongst other staff.
When someone confides personal information to a staff member, they need to have assurance that it will remain confidential. What is said in those meetings should stay in those meetings.
5. Include long-range planning in short-term meetings.
Staff meetings often focus only on week-to-week issues. I would encourage you to carve out at least a small part of your time for long-range planning and discussion.
Not for things years away, but for large, church-wide events that may be months away that require greater planning. This allows you to plan ahead and to better anticipate needs further down the road.
6. Review and follow up with actionable items.
Someone should be taking notes throughout the meeting. Use the last few minutes of your time together to review all actionable items that came up.
This list should also be your starting point for the next meeting. Knowing what needs to be done and what has been done is critical to getting results between meetings.
7. Focus part of the meeting on personal discipleship.
Any company can have an action-oriented staff meeting. But church staff meetings should not just be focused on getting the business of the church done.
Take the time to include an element of discipleship with the staff. Whether that is studying a passage together as a staff or reading through a book on a certain aspect of theology, learning together as a staff can be invaluable.
If you don’t already hold staff meetings, this could be the start of something new. Find the date and time that works for your staff and get started.
If you have staff meetings, what would you add to this list?
JONATHAN HOWE (@jonathan_howe) serves as director of strategic initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources.