It’s hard to make ministry meetings exciting. But they are necessary and there are ways to make them more effective. Here are some thoughts on effective ministry oriented staff meetings.
Prayer is essential. It helps us stay dependent on God! Charles Spurgeon taught, “Sometimes we think we are too busy to pray. That is a great mistake, for praying is a savings of time.” Martin Luther said, “The less I pray, the harder it gets; the more I pray the better it goes.” E. M. Bounds said, “Prayer is our most formidable weapon; the thing which makes all else we do efficient.” The absence of prayer likely means and absence of power. Prayer is the most effective weapon we have as leaders. Yet, it is often the one thing we neglect. Give prayer it’s proper time in all of your meetings. It’s hard to have effective meetings if we don’t have a foundation of prayer!
Use an Agenda
I know it’s boring, but sometimes the most boring things are the things that help us see the holes in the way we are doing things. I actually have a google docs template called Staff Meetings. All of the mundane things you find on a typical agenda are there. Date, attendees, ongoing discussion items, new discussion items, and action steps.
I don’t know what prompted me to start using an agenda for our staff meetings, but I do know our meetings have been more effective than they use to be. Some weeks are awesome! Some weeks are just OK. But at least we have a running agenda of things we have been and are talking about.
Invite the Right People
Every church is different. Each churches staff has different needs. Large churches might need multiple staff meetings for each department. Smaller churches may have a pastor and a few volunteers. Every church has to adapt to their situation and needs. Really small churches may only meet monthly. Larger churches may meet in a weekly staff meeting and daily check-ins. Our staff meeting consists of the Pastoral Staff, our resident in training, our primary secretary, and our facilities director. We meet each Monday for our regular staff meeting and the first Monday of every month for a longer Strategic Meeting.
Review the Previous Week
I know it might seem obvious because it is. There’s nothing sophisticated about these meetings. We tend to begin asking questions at this point. Example questions are:
- What went well last week?
- What needs attention?
- What was missed?
- What didn’t get done?
- What was the best part of your last week?
Prepare for the Week Ahead
Everyone should have a clear direction for what the week ahead looks like. This is an opportunity to share goals for the week ahead with the rest of the staff. Nitty gritty isn’t the goal here. Big Picture is. Questions can help each person identify what needs to be shared.
- Think about your area of influence:
- What’s going well?
- What’s not?
- What is confusing?
- What is missing?
- What’s one thing you absolutely have to get done this week?
- Is there anything the rest of us need to know?
Address Big Picture Ministry Items
This is where we address ministry items that affect the entire church. The most recent items we discussed in our staff meeting were our ministry check-in process, our Sunday morning facilities checklist and technology checklist.
These may not seem like big items. They do, however, affect our ministries in significant ways. Our check-in process helps us identify attendance trends and connect new people to the ministries of the church. The facilities and technology checklists help us train people on every step of getting ready for a service. Checklists make it possible for everyone to know exactly what needs to happen to get ready for a service. If our pastors or key people are gone, everything is more likely to move along without hiccups.
Actions items usually happen outside of the meeting. These are the things people commit to doing between now and the next meeting. Action items should focus on what needs to be done, who is going to do it and by when.
If a meeting is going to be effective then we should spend more time praying about what needs to be discussed and acted upon. Coming up with an agenda 5 minutes before a meeting is bound to be ineffective. Planning for the next meeting begins on the day your most recent meeting is finished. I usually start putting things on our next meeting agenda right away. I review my notes from the meeting, identify items that we need to continue thinking about, and make some notes for our next meeting.
Planning for the next meeting begins on the day your most recent meeting is finished. I usually start putting things on our next meeting agenda right away. I review my notes from the meeting, identify items that we need to continue thinking about, and make some notes for our next meeting.
Here are some resources that can help you think more about good meetings:
- 5 Tips for Great Church Staff Meetings – from theBreezeChMS Blog
- How to Structure a Great Church Staff Meeting – also from the BreezeChMS Blog
- How to Run Great Staff Meetings – Christianity Today
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective Staff Meetings – Thom S. Rainer Blog
The Best Books on How to Have Effective Meetings
Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni is one of the most recommended books on this subject. It’s an enjoyable read because it’s a fable that is enthralling and full of instruction all at the same time. It provides a framework for great meetings that is applicable to ministry and life. It also focusses in on a cure for bad meetings.
In Death by Meeting Lencioni makes a case for good meetings and how they can invigorate an organization and eliminate wasted time and energy.