Communication Leadership Making Church Matter Team Building

Death By Meeting

August 23, 2013

“I suppose the title of my friend Patrick Lencioni’s book (see above) came to mind because I just spent the better part of today in a meeting. It was a staff meeting, with our senior team, to discuss a reorganization of our team and some of our meetings.

Now I will be the first to admit that we have definitely not cracked the code when it comes to staff meetings. We have struggled with this, especially as our staff has grown. Besides one on one meetings between direct reports, here is (a probably partial) list of the meetings we currently have going on that we will be keeping:

Weekly Staff Meeting

On Mondays the entire pastoral staff gathers to review the weekend from the perspective of weekend “wins” (ways in which we saw God move and/or our church work). We have lunch together and share announcements and information.

Chris (our youth minister) chairs this meeting.

Weekend Review Meeting

This is a look back at the weekend that was with some of the key players who made it happen. In this meeting we are looking at the weekend with a very critical-analytical eye. Here we also look ahead to the coming weekend. Barry our weekend director chairs this meeting.

Weekend Check-in Meetings

On Wednesday at noon, Saturday at 4pm, and Sunday at 8am and 5pm everyone on staff (who is here) meets for a brief discussion of where we are in terms of the weekend. This also is chaired by our weekend director.

By the way, you might want to note that most of our meetings are about the weekend, because…it’s all about the weekend.

Department Meetings

Each department (Adult Discipleship, Family, Creative, and Operations) meets as a team to look at what they’re doing and remain accountable, as well as plot strategy for what they will be doing moving forward. Department heads chair these meetings.

Learning Meetings

Departments meet on a regular basis, and the staff as a whole does too, to simply take time and learn more together on a variety of topics.

Strategic Meeting

Once a week our department chairs come together with Tom (my associate) and me to look at the big picture, where we’re going, what we’re doing and what we’re about. This is the only meeting of the week that I chair.

Today we took time to look at additional meetings we are going to be adding, to bring people together across departmental lines to work on key areas together, like staff development and our (upcoming) capital campaign.

The point isn’t meetings for meetings sake, its meetings with a plan and a purpose:

Collaboration: insisting people look up from their own tasks and interest to the larger landscape and the bigger picture.

Evaluation: What is really going on, how well are we doing?

Motivation: What more can we do, what are we missing?

Inspiration: Where is God leading us ? What is his vision for us?

Our meeting today, by the way, was one of the best meetings we’ve had in a long time. It was chaired  by our Mission’s Director Brain, and he did an excellent job.  What made it so worthwhile ? Off the top of my head I would say:

–       everyone wanted to be there, and was committed to staying there as long as was needed

–       everyone cared about the subject of discussion

–       everyone was genuinely interested in what everyone else thought, and a spirit of mutual respect prevailed

–       along with vigorous debate and flat out disagreement (including disagreement with the pastor)

–       a willingness to stick with something until a decision was made and there was buy in (even from the people who didn’t agree).

Three other things helped this rather exhausting exercise: frequent breaks, humor, and food.





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