While we encourage churches to move their meetings off the church campus to be more visible to the community, we don’t encourage churches to have more meetings!
It is a truism that fewer meetings means people have more times to be in ministry or to grow as disciples.
So here are some ways to reduce the number of meetings.
1. Be more organized and formal in your meeting structure:
— Have a written agenda for every meeting that identifies every item to be considered, who will be presenting, and what the outcome, action or decision is needed.
— Limit routine verbal reporting. Ask responsible persons whose items are on the agenda to provide needed reporting in writing before the meeting. During the meeting answer questions and highlight extraordinary celebrations rather than routine reporting of church activities.
— Publish to the committee written minutes of every meeting, but never read them in the meeting unless there is a dispute about their contents.
— Start on time and end on time. Each meeting should have a defined and published length. Keep the agenda moving. Don’t waste people’s time.
2. Move to a single board model of church governance. Churches of every size can handle the high-level governance of their system with a group numbering around 12 people. When your denomination requires that you have many committees, designated one of the board members to be the chair of that committee and represent your church to the denomination for that committee’s function. When the time comes for that committee to work, that person chairs the single board for completing that committees work.
In this way, you can accomplish the work of several committees in one meeting.
3. Claim a meeting night once a month and accomplish all your administrative meetings that one evening. If you have a pastor or other leader who has to be present for more than one committee, stagger-start the committees. Discern how much time the committee needs the pastor or other leaders and delay the next committee that needs that person by that amount of time. Here is a sample schedule:
6:30 pm – Finance Committee Meeting – continues after the pastor leaves to attend
6:50 pm – Trustees Meeting – continues after the pastor leaves to attend
7:10 pm — Staff-Parish-Relations Meeting continues until
8:00 pm – Church Council Meeting
9:00 pm – Pastor meets with chairs of the committees as necessary to coordinate information, decisions and action requirement
4. Meet less often. Instead of a meeting night once a month, meet every six weeks, every other month or even quarterly. To meet less often, define the plan for carrying out the work of the church until the committee or council can meet again.