Meetings: Meetings are purposeful, planned, structured and facilitated to add value to participants and provide maximum impact to the organization.

We Have To Stop Meetings Like This!

I’ve got to get our here, this meeting is a waste. I’ve got better things to do with my time!

How often have you found yourself saying something similar?

Bad meetings not only waste time but they drain our passion and enthusiasm for ministry.

Even worse, ineffective meetings result in lack of action, poorly analyzed decisions and misuse of precious church resources.

Think about a recent meeting you attended. Did you observe any of these dysfunctions?

  • The meeting started late and ended late.
  • There was no agenda or the agenda wasn’t followed.
  • Not everyone who needed to be present was in the room.
  • There was no meaningful discussion.
  • One person dominated.
  • No minutes were kept.
  • Items were covered that weren’t pertinent.
  • Key challenges and opportunities were not addressed.
  • No decisions were made.

Sound familiar? Too often we tolerate poorly planned and facilitated meetings and allow them to be the norm in our church culture.

Application: Twenty-Five Tips For More Meaningful Meetings

How do you make your meetings more meaningful? Focusing on what happens in the meeting is certainly important but in these 25 P’s for Meaningful Meetings take note over half involve what you do prior to the meeting.

  1. Prepare:  As a rule of thumb, spend at least as much time preparing for the meeting as the length of the meeting.
  2. Purpose: Determine the purpose of the meeting. Too many purposes create lack of focus.
  3. Produce: What are the outcomes or deliverables?
  4. Predetermine: What issues and opportunities need to be addressed?
  5. Prioritize: List the agenda items in their order of importance in the event you run out of time.
  6. Prune: Purge from the agenda any items that could be communicated via email or memo.
  7. Pertinent: Make certain each agenda item is relevant to all participants, otherwise schedule off-line meetings.
  8. Pace: Estimate an allotted time for each agenda item allowing more time than you think required.
  9. Portion: Assign responsibilities for making presentations and facilitating discussion.
  10. Prevention: Set ground rules for how you will handle discussion, dysfunction and disagreement.
  11. People: Who needs to be there? Make certain they can attend before you schedule the meeting.
  12. Place: Secure an appropriate room and set up for the size and purpose of your meeting.
  13. Page: Keep your agenda to no more than one page.
  14. Provide: Send an agenda at least three working days in advance of the meeting.
  15. Prayer: Pray as you plan the meeting, to begin the meeting and as you end the meeting.
  16. Power: Remind participants of why they are in the meeting, the important role they play and empower them with authority to act on the agenda items.
  17. Process: Agree upon the process for making a decision.
  18. Participate: Ask engagement questions that encourage discussion around each agenda item.
  19. Preside: Make certain no one dominates and each participant is heard. Keep the meeting on point.
  20. Park: Note and set aside any item that is better considered off-line or in future meetings.
  21. Products: What are the mutually agreed upon deliverables?
  22. Progress: What are the next action steps for each deliverable?
  23. Propose: Who will be responsible for each next action step?
  24. Postscript: Provide documentation of the outputs and assignments from the meeting to each participant within 24 hours.
  25. Pulse: Ask meeting participants ways they found the meeting meaningful and ways it could have been improved.

Stop Bad Meetings Now!

Action: Consider raising the bar and declare war on bad meetings in your church culture by discussing and agreeing on some or all of the 25 P’s for Meaningful Meetings. Your team will thank you for it!

Posted on July 22, 2014

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5