Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Many churches meet with members to share information, cast vision, or train volunteers.
A church business meeting agenda can help keep the gathering organized.
Churches do this 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 performs, and what it hopes to achieve.
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 results from taking the time to think through what information should be shared – with whom, when, how, and in what format.
Once it is determined what 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.
The first thing to think about when planning a business meeting agenda is to answer the question, what is the goal of this meeting?
There should be a specific purpose and takeaway for those who attend the meeting.
For example, a meeting could be focused on sharing church goals or the church budget.
Example meeting goals.
- Share church vision.
- Explain policy changes.
- Introduce a new church employee.
- Share church strategy and goals.
- Share budget information.
- Share a 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.
Example Business Meeting Agenda
|7:05||Goal of Meeting||Pastor Steve|
|7:10||Speaker Introduction||Pastor Steve|
|7:15||Content Presentation||John Smith|
|8:00||Questions/Answers||John Smith/Pastor Steve|
|8:15||Other Business||Pastor Steve|
|8:25||Closing Prayer||Pastor Steve|
7 Tips for a Successful Church Business Meeting
1. Establish Meeting Ground Rules
Every meeting should be conducted with pre-established ground rules.
These rules for behavior help to keep the meeting professional and objective.
For instance, a ground rule might be to not talk out of turn. This type of courtesy helps to maintain meeting order and control over the dialogue.
Communicate ground rules prior to the meeting beginning and have copies available for attendees. Or post the ground rules at the front of the auditorium, so everyone can see them.
2. 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. Demonstrate this respect by beginning and ending the meeting on time.
For instance, if the meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm, take the mic and open the meeting before the clock hits 7:01.
Help members understand a cultural norm of being timely. Do this to help members understand that being late means missing the first part of the meeting.
Creating a cultural norm can be tricky but can be done if there is a determination to consistently begin and end every meeting at the scheduled time.
When the organization demonstrates discipline with meeting facilitation, members feel more inclined to participate, which will increase attendance.
3. Stick to the Agenda
Every organization has unresolved issues. Members often take advantage of the time together to bring these issues up for discussion.
Spend time before the meeting anticipating possible concerns 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.
For instance, you might say something like this, “Thanks John for bringing that (their concern) to our attention. We don’t have time on the agenda today to discuss this, but I would be happy to meet with you after this meeting and work to resolve this issue. Would that be acceptable to you?”
4. Assign a Timekeeper
It is always helpful to have someone designated to watch the clock and keep the presenter on schedule.
A competent timekeeper takes the burden from 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 a few times and people will learn that when the buzzer sounds, it’s time to move on.
5. Table off Topics
Occasionally a member might bring up a topic 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.
6. Assign a Note Taker
Assign someone to take notes of the meeting, particularly in the follow-up of any outstanding items.
If possible, send meeting notes to attendees as an additional measure of communication and accountability for follow-up.
After follow-up points are in print, it becomes more difficult to neglect agreed-upon next steps.
7. Encourage the Social Aspect of a Meeting
The church is a community of believers. These valuable members seek fellowship with others.
Factor time into the meeting before or after to allow participants to socialize with each other.
This time of community helps to strengthen relationships.
Honor The Pillars of The Church
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 is 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.
SCM members can access an editable copy of a church business meeting agenda by logging in here.
If you are not a member but would like to access an editable copy of the agenda you can learn more here.