Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a two-part article.
You can lead a ministry team meeting at church that people love to come to.
You scoff? You doubt that people would ever love a board meeting or a committee meeting?
Granted, we're not usually eager meeting-goers. Meetings at church, like in the business world, have a bad reputation. They can be the archetypal waste of time.
People may show up at your meetings because they love Jesus and they are committed to ministry. Then again, they're volunteers, and they can skip it if it's not worth their time.
So what's a church leader to do? How can you lead successful meetings?
I have good news for you. Leading a good meeting is a leadership skill and you can get good at it.
You can be the leader who leads meetings that people don't skip. Your meetings can build enthusiasm and momentum. Things get done and things get better after your meetings.
Now pick a meeting that you lead to have in mind as you read this article. And be sure to pick up the free download at the end of the article.
9 Things You Need to Know About Leading a Fantastic Ministry Team Meeting
Let's break it down into three chunks: preparing for the meeting, leading the meeting and following up after the meeting.
A good meeting begins with good preparation.
1. Decide on the purpose for your meeting and the desired outcomes.
If you have in mind a meeting that's been on the calendar since Noah built the ark, you may think the purpose is to keep the deacons at the same table and the desired outcome is to avoid bloodshed.
But I know you can do better than that.
Having a clear purpose sets you up for a productive meeting. Knowing your desired outcomes shows you the decisions you must make and the action items that will need follow through.
2.Write an agenda.
An agenda format is pretty standard, but I like the words Michael Hyatt & Company use for their agenda headlines.
The first section is basic information.
This includes the meeting title, the date and time, meeting participants and key roles like meeting leader, timekeeper, note taker or administrative facilitator.
The next section is the meeting purpose.
This is where you write down why you have invited this group of people to this place for this allotted time.
Hyatt reminds us to be thoughtful and specific because this is how you measure the success of your meeting.
Thomas Kayser, in his book Mining Group Gold, recommends that a regular staff meeting always has the same purpose: "to share and process information on topics of mutual interest to the entire staff."
The third, and biggest, section of your agenda is the program.
This is where you list the agenda items and budget your time.
Don't be sloppy and scratch out a few topics with a name jotted next to each. That's not enough preparation to be truly productive.
Instead, you want to think through the flow of your meeting, give the players time to prepare and know what you want to accomplish.
1. Start by grouping items that are just about sharing information people need to know. Give enough time to run through those items quickly.
You may want to start the meeting with a section called "Around the Table". It's a chance for each person to engage by saying what they're doing as it pertains to the whole group.
2. Then move to items that will require some discussion, but no decision-making. Give each item 5 or 10 minutes, then move on.
3. Then tackle a few bigger topics that need some time for the group to process the information. Each of these topics should have a Desired Outcome.
For example, think about the Board talking about the budget. There may be some lively discussion as they process the pros and cons. The Desired Outcome is that the budget is improved and approved.
3. Send the agenda to the attendees at least two days before the meeting.
I used to hesitate to send the agenda ahead of time because I was afraid it made it easier for people to decide not to come.
That's just chicken.
Seeing the agenda early shows people they can trust that the meeting will be a valuable use of their time. It builds anticipation, shows them what they'll miss if they don't come, and gives introverts time to think about what they think about it.
Besides, it's unprofessional not to send an agenda beforehand. Your volunteers get meeting agendas ahead of time for their meetings at work. Your early agenda will impress them and make them love being on your team even more.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
Hal Seed is the founding and Lead Pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, CA. Hal mentors pastors to lead healthy, growing churches. He offers resources to help church leaders at pastormentor.com.
This article originally appeared at pastormentor.com.
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