5 Strategies for Compelling Church Staff Meetings

Posted by Aaron Buer on April 7, 2022

One of the biggest complaints in any work environment is meetings.

Meetings are boring. Meetings keep people from getting their actual work done.  Meetings are pointless. Meetings…we could go on and on.  

How do people feel about meetings at your church? How do you feel about the meetings you lead?  

Here’s the deal, meetings are critical to team success, and they don’t have to be a terrible experience.  In fact, they can be energizing and momentum-building. 

You just have to lead a good meeting, that’s all. So, how do you do that?  Here are a few ideas.  

Decide Who Needs to Be There

It’s possible that you have been in great meetings that were well-led and purposeful, yet you were still frustrated or bored. 

Why? Because you didn’t need to be there. The topic of conversation didn’t pertain to your work.  

One of the mistakes leaders make with meetings is including everyone. A much more effective approach is to only invite people who NEED to be there. 

This approach will lead to fewer meetings for everyone, and a more productive and happier church staff because they don’t feel like their time is being wasted by pointless meetings.  

But if everyone isn’t in the meeting, how will everyone know what is decided? Send out a summary after the meeting. More often than not, people just need to know what was decided.

 

Determine What's at Stake 

If you want to lead compelling meetings, ask yourself, “What’s at stake here?” 

In other words, why does this meeting matter? Why does it HAVE to happen? If you don’t have a good answer, you probably don’t need the meeting. 

Here’s another angle on this question, “What won’t happen without this meeting?”  

All I’m saying is this: Define the purpose. 

Identify what’s at stake and clearly communicate it. When there is tension, people will be engaged. If you can’t identify a compelling purpose, it’s possible that the meeting is pointless and people are bored.

 

Give the Agenda in Advance

I learned a lesson early in my leadership that people process at different speeds. 

There was a guy on my team who was very intelligent, a strong leader, but never contributed to team meetings. Frustrated, I challenged him on his lack of participation.  

What I learned through a conversation with him was that he was a slow processor. In other words, he wasn’t contributing because he needed time to think through ideas before sharing his thoughts on them. 

The problem in this situation was not him. It was me. 

I was surprising everyone in the meeting with the agenda. They found out when they showed up.  

If you want to lead better meetings, make sure people have advanced notice of the topics of conversation. Send out an agenda the day before. 

I’m sure you have slow processors on your team. Giving them time to think and consider could significantly increase the amount and quality of conversation in your team meetings.  

 

Show Up With an Open Mind

As the team leader, do you walk into a meeting planning to tell everyone the best idea or do you walk into that meeting planning to discover the best idea? 

In other words, and in very blunt terms, who is the smartest person in the room? Do you already know that it’s you? If so, there’s a problem.  

Great leaders use meetings as a space for discovery and collaboration. One of my fundamental beliefs as a leader is that “we” are smarter than “me.” 

If you want to lead great meetings, you can’t show up to a meeting having already decided what needs to be done. You must show up with an open mind, believing that the conversation will reveal what needs to be done.  

If you are in the habit of telling your team what to do, you will slowly erode trust, collaboration, and the joy of good work.  

 

Provide Clear Next Steps

Let me share one of my weaknesses as a leader. 

I’m a good collaborator. I love discovering the best idea with a team. However, my weakness is moving the idea forward. 

Great conversation and healthy collaboration aren’t really very helpful unless they lead to something.

As a leader, you need to wrap up a meeting with clear next steps. Who is going to do what by when? 

If you don’t do this, the people you lead will eventually view meetings as pointless because although they are engaging and perhaps even fun, they don’t lead to results.  

I have learned to wrap up meetings by verbally articulating key next steps—assigning projects and deadlines, setting up another meeting with a clear purpose, and sending out summary emails.  

 

Wrap Up 

Staff meetings can be compelling, and I look forward to these meetings.  If you can see that people are bored or even annoyed in your meeting, try a few of these strategies. I think you’ll find them helpful in creating more compelling staff meetings. 

Topics: Advice

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