Staff Meetings Done Well

Recently we were invited into a church consulting experience wherein the clergy, church staff, and lay leaders recognize the need for significant change in how they do what they do. Given the post-modern world in which we live, this church is exploring ways to be church differently. At the same time, they recognize a need to improve their effectiveness and productivity when it comes to team and individual staff functioning. In other words, they believe the church needs them to be effective, while they want to raise their productivity level. Through the steps of this consultation, a new approach to staff meetings and staff development evolved. This new approach calls the lead pastor to function more as a team leader and staff coach. Following this article, you will find three pdfs which provide the structure and format which this church staff is finding to be very effective and productive.

We are sharing this with our readers mostly because of requests from a few of you; and complaints from many others. We often hear that clergy and church staff dread their weekly staff meetings. So, perhaps it’s time to assess the effectiveness and productivity of yours. First, some definitions.

Effective = causing a result, especially the desired or intended result (Encarta Dictionary)

Productive = producing something abundantly and efficiently (Encarta Dictionary)

With a few questions, accompanied by non-defensive listening, one can assess the effectiveness and productivity of church staff meetings.

Here are examples of responses regarding dreaded meetings.

“Our meetings are long, but very little is accomplished.”

“We tend to so many details, but I’m not sure they help advance the church’s mission.”

“Our meetings are cathartic and even therapeutic; we feel so good afterwards. But we never seem to get around to advancing the mission.”

“My energy is way down after these weekly meetings.”

“Some team members go on long tangents about things that are basically irrelevant to the rest of us.”

“When we miss a meeting for some reason, it makes no difference at all. We can do in a couple emails what it takes us two hours to do in person.”

When staff meetings grow effective and productive, here are comments we tend to hear.

“Irrelevant and tangential talk is now minimized, saving us so much tedium and boredom.”

“Team members come to the meeting expecting to gain something which will help them move ahead in ministry.”

“We experience synergy most meetings now, resulting in a great energy boost for the week.”

“We are so much better at caring for each other in our meetings, because we are not afraid that’s all we will do in each meeting.”

“We push each other sometimes, resulting in greater progress for this entire staff team.”

“We have never experienced unity like this around our mission and vision as a staff.”

“We come out of our meetings focused on moving the ball down the field.”

The church with whom we consulted, is using the format in the attached pdfs. It’s awkward and strange at first, yet it has sharpened their process dramatically. I’m certain they will innovate after a while.

The point is making each interaction in church, including team meetings and individual performance coaching for staff, meaningful and substantive. God’s mission in this world, along with the church’s part of that, is far too important for anything less.

Mark Tidsworth, President, PLA