Leaders in your church should love meeting together.
Perhaps you think that's a pipe dream. 'Nobody likes meetings'. 'Meetings are an instrument of the devil'. 'I would rather watch a Rob Schneider movie marathon than go to another meeting'. To all of that I say, 'balderdash.' I am convinced that you can create a culture where leaders enjoy meeting together so much that they look forward to them. Great meetings are the result of doing the right work the right way.
1. Have More Meetings
In his book, The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni, says that many leaders act like inept cooks throwing random ingredients into a stew pot. In an effort to eliminate or reduce time spent in meetings, we create a nasty porridge called the 'staff meeting' where Bible study and pastoral care and administrative issues and tactical decisions and creative brainstorming and strategic analysis and shepherding discussions all take place at once.
Because the human brain is not wired to process so much divergent information at once, the traditional church staff meeting leaves us feeling like we just ate fish tacos from a food truck in the middle of a desert. The solution to this 'meeting stew' is to have more meetings with greater focus. Yeah, I know. More meetings.
Keep your weekly staff meeting to help each other get things done. When issues come up that have long-term impact or require significant time and energy to resolve (usually once a month), set aside a few hours to meet and focus only on that topic. Get out of town for a day 3-4 times a year to review progress and recalibrate your team. Consider using an online tool like Slack for team members to check-in each day to go over their schedule and provide status updates on projects and other admin issues.
More meetings with greater focus minimizes the time spent each day attempting to resolve issues that come up because you don't have the right meetings in place.
2. Have Better Meetings
Not only does your team need to have the right kind of meetings in order to be effective, those meetings need to be done the right way.
Daily check-ins should happen at the same time every day ('everyone checks in before 9am on Slack'). Weekly meetings should take place at the same day and time each week. Before the end of a quarterly meeting, you should decide the day and time for the next quarterly meeting.
Every meeting should have a clear time to start and finish. And the meetings should actually start and finish when stated. Everyone in place and ready to work when the meeting starts. Finishing a meeting when you have said the meeting will end.
Every meeting should have a consistent agenda. Daily check-ins share the same information every time (What are you working on? How can we help you?). Weekly staff meetings review the previous week's work and produce action plans where individual members of the team take responsibility to get work done.
Every meeting should have the right people in the room. Determine who needs to be in the room in order for your discussion to lead to the right decision. Do not rely on your church's org chart to figure out who needs to be in the room. Clarify the issue and pull together people with the experience and perspective needed to produce great results.
Do The Next Right Thing
Take a piece of paper and make three columns: Meeting, Right Now, Next Month.
Under the Meeting column, list all of the meetings you currently lead (elder, deacon, staff, senior management, group leaders, etc.). Under the Right Now column, list the current purpose for each of the meetings you just wrote down. Then under the Next Meeting column, write down any change in purpose you want to make before the next meeting.
Are there meetings you believe you need to add or eliminate? Have a conversation with another leader who would be impacted by that change and get their perspective.
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