By Tony Morgan
Tell me if you can relate to this:
You’re sitting in your third meeting of the day; the previous two lasted more than 45 minutes each, and the one you’re in now is stretching towards lunch time. You’ve heard a lot of opinions. Your to-do list has increased in length every quarter hour. It would be one thing if this were an anomaly, but this routine invades more days of the work week than it doesn’t.
As I consult with churches across the country, I grow more and more convinced that churches have too many meetings–meetings that prevent us from getting things done instead of meetings that help us organize for the mission.
Not all meetings are bad, but they should be approached with a strict filter. Here are some ideas for creating a healthy balance between meetings and ministry.
- Make sure every meeting has a purpose. Don’t meet simply because you have a standing appointment on the calendar.
- Set an agenda ahead of time, and invite all attendees to contribute what they would like to cover. Every suggestion won’t make it on the agenda, but this gives you an opportunity to predict rabbit trails in advance and schedule one-on-one time to discuss things you know won’t be relevant for a group.
- Always end on action steps. Make sure every individual understands what needs to get done, and whom is responsible for advancing what.
- Don’t meet just to share information or give updates that could easily be emailed. Set an expectation that meetings are for making decisions and determining courses of action.
- Keep the invite list short. (We recommend fewer than eight people.) Brainstorming, meaningful discussion and decisions all become more difficult with too many people at the table.
- Schedule meeting-free days. Your team will thank you! Everyone needs uninterrupted time to work on their assigned tasks. A whole day without meetings can feel like a creative breath of fresh air.
What other tactics does your church use to make the most of meetings and prevent them from cutting into ministry time?