Take a look at your calendar for the next month. See all of those meetings? You are about to cancel most of them.
Seriously, right now in the next 30 minutes. If you are the person responsible for calling the meeting, you are going to send it to the guillotine. If you were invited or expected to attend a meeting, I am going to give you permission to excuse yourself. Politely.
See, I am convinced that most meetings in your church are toxic. Most meetings interrupt the work that you are supposed to be doing. Most meetings allow people to dream without taking ownership. Most meetings are called to help us drown out the urgent instead of challenging us to step up and do the important.
So let's reimagine what meetings look like in your church. My next post will give you a template for leading a great meeting. But today I have three meetings that I want you to excommunicate from your church.
1. The 'I don't like to read and write' meeting
'Hey, let's get together and talk about an idea because it's easier than writing everything down.' My friends, easier does not necessarily mean better. You are interrupting people's lives to tell them what they could read in a memo. And whatever short-term value is gained by meeting face-to-face becomes lost when you want to refer to the conversation later on.
2. The 'justify your job' meeting
'Hi everyone, I'm pretty sure my job is to get everyone together to talk about what you're doing and to learn from each other.' The truth is that your job is to create a fertile environment for creative people to do great work and to clear out anything that threatens that work. And I am sure that you did not do this on purpose but this meeting is a threat to actual work. Whatever value there is in sharing advice and status reports is lost by the cost of the interruption.
3. The 'let's hang out' meeting
'Good to see everyone. Since our team is growing, I called this meeting to give us an opportunity to connect. We only have one agenda - to get to know each other better.' Relationships are vital, but the reason you need to get rid of this meeting is because it is artificial, and it does not scale. You might want to take the time to chat, but that does not mean that everyone on your team wants to interrupt work in order to hang out.
Great organizations encourage conversation, share updates on their work, and foster human connection. They simply don't use meetings to make those things happen. Use online tools like Slack (internal communication) or Asana (project management). Encourage people to connect over lunch, after work or on the weekend. Just don't interrupt their time at work to make those things happen.
Do The Next Right Thing
If you have called a meeting for one of these three reasons, either find a good reason to meet (i.e., make decisions) or cancel the meeting.
If you are invited to one of these meetings, politely decline.
If you are expected to be in attendance, ask if you can miss the next one because of all the work you need to accomplish. Offer to provide any necessary information about your work beforehand and promise to get notes from someone who will be there.
What will you do right now to excommunicate disruptive meetings from your church?
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