Three Ideas For Better Church Staff Meetings

Posted by Aaron Buer on September 6, 2018

There are times when a staff meeting is a phenomenal experience.

And then, of course, there are those staff meetings...boring, pointless, they take know what I’m talking about.

I put a lot of thought and time into leading my team and I still feel like “good meetings” are an elusive target.

There are seasons where everyone agrees that our team meetings are solid and then there are seasons, like this summer, where they honestly weren’t.

Maybe you’re in a season where staff meetings could use a little creativity. I’d like to share some ideas that have helped (or I’m hoping will help) provide a little spark.

1. Who are These People?

If you’re like me and you lead some sort of team, then building trust among your team members is crucial.

A weekly staff meeting is a great place to slowly build trust over time.

Every week we start off our meeting with some sort of relational question:

  • What is God teaching you right now?
  • What was the highlight/lowlight of last week?
  • If you were an animal, which would you be and why?
  • What was the best [insert whatever holiday is nearest] of your childhood?
  • Who is one volunteer you are really excited about right now?
  • These questions are all over the spectrum from weird to serious. The point is to slowly and consistently build trust over time through sharing and listening.

    If your staff meetings feel stale and impersonal, you may want to add a relational element.

    But, here’s a warning: these questions take time so you’ll have to tighten up and perhaps even shorten the rest of the meeting.

    2. What, How and Why?

    Here’s something that we have been struggling with this summer: Our meetings are forever long! Ugh.

    The reason is that I haven’t done a great job managing the WHAT, HOW and WHY.

    Here’s what I mean: The WHAT is the content of the agenda items.

    Example: In our staff meeting, we’re talking about adding a second service.

    The HOW is discussing the implications of an idea and/or solving problems that come up about the idea.

    Example: If we add a second service, we will need double the volunteers. We could put on a volunteer fair!

    The WHY is the debate about whether or not we should be implicating the idea presented as an update or agenda item in a meeting.

    Example: “I really don’t think we should start a second service."

    Here’s where I dropped the ball this summer: You can’t do the WHAT, HOW and WHY in the same meeting.

    If you do, your meeting will go for hours, you’ll waste everyone’s time, and everyone will hate you.

    Ok, that last part probably isn’t true, but it can feel like it!

    Of course, it is really important to present ideas, debate them and decide how to implement them but WHAT, HOW and WHY should each be a separate meeting.

    Here’s what I plan to do in staff meetings this fall: Whenever a WHY or HOW conversation flares up in a staff meeting, I will let it go on for about a minute.

    At that point, I’ll walk over to the white board and add it to the HOW or WHY list.

    Then, I’ll say something like,

    This is an important conversation, but we’ve moved into the HOW so let’s table this for now and move on to the next agenda item.

    Near the end of our staff meeting, I’ll assign each HOW and WHY item to a person on our team and choose a due date.

    Whoever has been assigned an item will be responsible to bring the right people together to decide either the best way to implement an idea or solve a problem (HOW) or to recommend whether or not we should implement or continue doing something (WHY).

    In other words, our staff meeting will only be for sharing WHAT and identifying when something needs to be moved to a HOW or WHY meeting.

    These distinctions are crucial because everyone needs to know that they can (and should) bring up questions, and disagreements and they should be assured that if they do, the meeting won’t descend into an hour long debate.

    Of course, this whole thing is a new idea so it may be amazing or terrible. But, I have a good feeling about it!

    If you’re an early adopter, you may just want to give it a try.

    3. Add a Twist

    Most people like consistency and predictability.

    However, no one likes to do the exact same thing forever.

    Something that we do that helps breathe life into our staff meetings is reinvent meetings every few months.

    Sometimes, just adding a twist will help people refocus and see value in your staff meetings.

    Here are a few examples of twists we’ve added over the last few years...

  • Create a rotating schedule of meeting leaders. Instead of having one person lead every week, what if it rotated? This could also be a good leadership development opportunity.
  • Add a learning element: Read and discuss a book together or bring in a specialist.
  • Every once in a while, change your meeting location to an area coffee shop or take your meeting outside to add a little spice.
  • Create a snack schedule for your meetings. Food makes everything better.
  • Consider different types of meetings during different seasons. For example, our school year staff meeting is different than our summer team meeting.
  • Ask team members to research creative ideas and deliver a 10 minute presentation.
  • Bring a staff member from a different department and interview them.
  • All I’m saying here is that adding a twist to your staff meeting every few months can breathe life into your meetings and make them more meaningful.

    Wrap Up

    Well, there you go: three ideas for better staff meetings.

    I hope something in this post sparked an idea for your team or church.

    We’d love to hear your ideas on great staff meetings. Feel free to leave a comment below.

    Thanks for reading.

    Topics: Advice

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