I was recently asked how to conduct a church business meeting. Planning annual church business meetings are important to help keep the congregation informed and engaged in the mission of the organization. Planning a church business meeting is very similar to planning any other church event so taking the time to think through those things that would be of interest to church members can help ensure their time is well spent and that the meetings are known for being a good use of a member’s time.
7 Keys to Planning a Successful Church Business Meeting
1. Make Church Members Aware
One of the most important things to do to prepare for a church business meeting is to make church members aware of the meeting and the importance of their attendance. Use every church communication tool available and continually make congregants aware of the meeting for at least three weeks ahead of time.
2. Communicate What’s In It For Them
It’s really important that church members understand why they should take time out of their busy schedule to attend yet one more meeting. Think about what information would be important to them and make them aware of the benefit they will get out of attending. For example, let members know if a topic of interest will be discussed, ie; capital campaign update, new building progress, etc. Throw a carrot out to increase interest in attending.
3. Create Church Business Meeting Agenda
An agenda is one of the most important parts of any successful meeting. Take time with church leadership and think through those points that would be of most interest to church members and find ways to reinforce the church mission and strategy. Stop and think about questions that are asked of church leaders and naturally incorporate those questions into the agenda points. The goal of a meeting like this is to answer questions before members think to ask them.
Sample Church Business Meeting Agenda
Where We’ve Been
Offer a review of the last twelve months, what has been accomplished and how the mission is being fulfilled.
Where We Want to Go
This is where you can restate the vision and mission and get the members excited about church strategy and the direction the church is going.
How Members Can Help Us Get There
This is when you can reinforce the importance of member participation and value that church volunteers bring to facilitating the church experience.
Questions and Answers
It is important to always allow time for member quesitons and answers. If there are difficult issues going on in the church it is important to address the elephant in the room during the meeting portion to help head off some questions at the end of the meeting and to minimize the time needed to restate what has already been spoken.
4. Set the Atmosphere
It’s amazing how setting an atmosphere for a successful meeting really affects the mood and response of participants. Select music that can set the tone your meeting is striving for and have it playing as members arrive. Whether the music is upbeat and celebratory or low key and calming – take the time to consider the feel you want when people show up.
5. Provide Handouts
It is always important to give people something to take away from the meeting. Some people like to take notes so provide the necessary resources to make that as easy as possible. Share information in print so people can have a resource to refer back to later and most importantly take the time to proof the material to eliminate typos in the printed material. Typos can create a distraction for attendees that you can’t afford.
6. Provide Time for Fellowship
Providing a time for fellowship after the meeting helps to encourage relationship building and tightens connections between members. Offer snacks or beverages to encourage members to hang around after the meeting is adjourned.
7. Provide Church Business Meeting Minutes
After the meeting, take the time to write minutes, points covered and questions asked and answered. Set up an email distribution and email business meeting minutes to members who attended. This makes record of the meeting and helps the members feel valued for taking the time to attend and for their participation.
Everyone is busy so taking the time to strategically plan the meeting, organize the agenda, provide clear error-free handouts will help to ensure that the annual church business meeting is a good use of time and adds value for church members.
photo by: CBHL