From all accounts, in today’s culture, people are tired of meetings. According to INFOCOMM, 11 million meetings occur in the U.S. every day. That’s a lot of meetings! Unnecessary meetings cost our companies productivity dollars, drains employee focus, creates frustration, causes malaise on staff teams, and can bog projects down. All of this causes us to develop a negative approach to meetings and often work to avoid them. This immediately puts us in a defensive mode when meetings are scheduled and suggested. Some would humorously argue that most of those happen in and around churches. Churches host lots of meetings. While some meetings are unnecessary, there are some that are warranted and needed.
Without a doubt, some of these meetings are huge time wasters and amount to busy work. But there are clearly some meetings that every church should host on a regular basis. I’d like to suggest 8 meetings that every church, regardless of size, should regularly commit to. Each meeting should be clear on who needs to be at the table and what the end result should be.
1. Strategy Meetings: Without clear strategies, systems, and effective execution, church vision’s become nightmares. Every church must identify the gathering place for those that are committed to working on ministry strategy and planning. These big picture conversations should be thought-out and approached in a way that is structured, yet fluid. These meetings are also important to help clarify what to say ‘Yes’ to on our calendar and activities and also what to say ‘No’ to. The recommended frequency of these meetings should be monthly.
2. Budget Meetings: Facts are your friend and numbers don’t lie. Vision is awesome, but without the funds it becomes a daydream. How you allocate, save, and direct your dollars and resources speaks to your values, priorities, and ministry philosophies. It’ll be important to review your budget to determine what you done, but also what you have room to do. For every program and activity that becomes a yes in your ministry, there are some programs and activities that will become “stop doing” because of your budget. These meetings should happen weekly.
3. Development Meetings: People love a church where they are not just being asked to give something, but also being developed as people. If you have leaders, how do you regularly develop your leaders? If you have entrepreneurs, how are you helping to develop your entrepreneurs? If you have musicians, how are you helping to develop your musicians? These meetings could include training sessions, seminars, Bible studies, video tutorials, roundtable and panel discussions, and a host of other approaches. The point is that you commit to a plan to regularly develop your multiple communities. These meetings should be planned throughout the year based on budget and calendar events.
4. Technology Meetings: Technology has become a major cornerstone of our society and it has not left the church untouched. Websites, blogs, social media, building wiring, Wifi, AV needs, television broadcasts, radio spots, video announcements, printing needs, telephone and voicemail approaches, and the list goes on. If there is no planning around technology for your church you will be on either one extreme of being severely behind the trends or you will attempt to stay on top of the changes that you’ll be spending too loosely and unwisely. In either case, there should be regular conversations with your staff, consultants, and/or business professionals who direct these efforts for you. These meetings should happen quarterly.
5. Celebrating/Fun Meetings: Everyone needs times to let their hair down. Do you have regular times where you, your ministry leaders, and members gather just to enjoy life? If we believe John 10:10, we must believe that we must approach our member with organizational fun. This can include church-wide picnics, Drive-In Movies, Date Nights For Couples, Dance Classes, and the like. These meeting should be planned minimally four to six times a year.
6. Vision Sharing Meetings: There’s a clear reason why the federal government launched the concept the State of the Union address. They understood that there needed to be multiple times where the leader (The President) shares vision and direction for the next few months. In the church’s case, there must be consistent times where the Pastor and Leadership share vision and clarify direction for the church. It’s better to clearly state it than to have members guessing about it. These meetings should be held in a way in which the vision, mission, core values, and strategic approaches for the ministry overall are shared and communicated. These meetings should happen minimally twice a year.
7. Networking/Connection Meetings: Although social media has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, we are still people who crave personal connection. Face-to-face contact and interaction is a must for a healthy ministry. Every member represents a story and unique experiences that should be shared with others. This encourages faith, builds community, and expands everyone’s reach. Further, it is only when personal connections are made that accountability is established, gifts are determined, and growth is probable. These gatherings should happen as frequently as your calendar with allow.
8. Evaluation Meetings: Whatever your ministry evaluates stands a greater chance of improving. Anything that is not evaluated becomes a recurring phenomenon that may or may not be working to its highest capacity. This includes evaluating programs, people, and processes. Without a clear process of evaluation, there becomes a standard of assumptions that may not be accurate. Evaluation confirms or denies whatever those assumptions may be. The recommended frequency of these meetings should be quarterly.
Ministries that minimally offer these gatherings and meetings afford themselves the opportunity to be a balanced ministry, by promoting biblical growth at every level of their ministry. The ministry will have effective buy-in throughout the organization, and will have great clarity and enthusiasm about what God is doing in the life of His body. You’re free now to start planning. You’ve got meetings to organize!