Many churches meet with members to share information, cast vision or train volunteers.
This is done in an attempt to keep members engaged and is part of a structured communication management process.
These church meetings often share information about what the church has done, how it is performing and what it hopes to achieve in the future.
Business meetings should appeal to members and have a reputation for being well run, efficient and effective.
When organizations demonstrate efficiency and effectiveness – trust and credibility follow.
Effective communication is the result of taking the time to think through what kinds of information should be shared – with whom, when, how and in what format.
Once it is determined what kinds of information should be shared, a church meeting should be scheduled and marketed to members, volunteers and employees.
So what should an agenda for a church business meeting look like?
Most business meetings have a purpose and the first thing to think about when planning an agenda is to answer the question, what is the goal of this meeting?
Example meeting goals
- share church vision
- explain policy changes
- introduce a new church employee
- share church strategy and goals
- share budget information
- share plan for a building expansion
- orient new volunteers
- train volunteers on a new process or procedure
Effective meetings have a specific agenda and time allotments for each agenda item. There should be a basic agenda format that is adapted based on the goal of the meeting.
A basic meeting format might look something like this.
5 Tips for a Successful Church Business Meeting
1. Respect People’s Time
Most people are busy and have a limited amount of time. Being sensitive to this fact, helps to reinforce the importance of being respectful of the attendees, by beginning and ending the meeting on time.
Being timely can become a cultural norm if members understand that being late means missing the first part of the meeting. This can be tricky, but can be done if there is a determination to consistently begin and end every meeting at the scheduled time.
Once the organization demonstrates discipline with meeting facilitation, members feel more inclined to participate which will increase attendance.
2. Stick to the Agenda
Every organization has unresolved issues and members often take advantage of time together to bring them up for discussion.
Spend time before the meeting anticipating possible issues that might arise and naturally work an update into the agenda.
If someone attempts to hijack the meeting, politely offer to discuss at a later time to keep with the meeting agenda.
3. Assign a Time Keeper
This takes the burden off of the presenter to communicate information while watching the time.
Get creative and use a bell or buzzer as a reminder of the agenda schedule.
Be diligent with doing this for a few times and people will learn that when the buzzer sounds its time to move on.
4. Table off Topics
Occasionally a member might bring up a topic for discussion that doesn’t fit with the agenda.
Keep a flip chart at the front of the room and make note of these outstanding items and follow-up by putting those items on the agenda for the next meeting.
Some topics may require a separate meeting so be sure to follow up and schedule a time to discuss. Follow through is critical to establishing and maintaining credibility with members.
5. Note Taker
Assign someone to take notes of the meeting, particularly in follow-up of any outstanding items. If possible, send meeting notes to attendees as an additional measure of communication and accountability for follow-up. Once things are in print, it becomes more difficult to neglect follow-up steps.
Finally, employees, church members and volunteers are the lifeblood of the church. Members fund the church, volunteers do the work of the church and employees facilitate the process. This is why it so important to maintain good communication and information sharing. Being deliberate and strategic with meeting planning is one way to honor those who support the church and include them in the process.
An editable copy of the agenda and other necessary church documents can be found here.