5 Components of Productive Staff Meetings

It’s Monday, and you know what’s coming. At some point this morning you are going to find yourself sitting in a room with your team talking about what went down on Sunday. You might go over prayer requests about turning the volume of the band down or discuss the never-ending need for more volunteers in children’s ministry. You’ll probably discuss that greeter who keeps referring to everyone as “honey baby.” Who’s going to talk to him? 1-2-3-Not it!

This is staff meeting. You will get together and talk about how you’re going to better reach people with the Gospel, so it is an important time of your week.

But what if your meeting seems aimless? How do you keep on track? Do you feel like you talk about the same things and rarely see change? High-caliber leaders do not respond well to these types of meetings, regardless of how important the content. So here are five components of productive meetings that your staff will begin to look forward to.

The meeting space.

If you expect your team to take notes, bring laptops, or to write on paper, then don’t set your meeting in that cool coffee shop area with recliners and low tables. Give them a space to actually write!

Sure, a meeting space with a large conference table may feel less “creative” to you, but your meeting space needs to serve your purpose. You do have a purpose in mind, right?

Find a creative space if you like, just make sure that it actually functions as a place that actual work can be done. Sitting in a wing-back chair and holding a laptop is like trying to hold a large puppy in your lap while small kids run and scream in front of you.

The Right People.

I once heard Andy Stanley say, “Call talent to the table, not titles.” This is YOUR meeting. So, depending on what you’re trying to get done, you decide who needs to be there. The “right” people are usually the “relevant” people.

Staff meetings usually consist of everyone, but if you know that you’re going to mainly focus on some issues in children’s ministry, then other staff members may not need to attend. No doubt they could use the time to catch up on other things. If they need to know what was decided, then catch them up later.

If your meeting is primarily about the new design and brand of your church, call in people who have design backgrounds that you trust. Guests in staff meetings are really cool. It adds a new dynamic to the meeting that gives everyone a refreshing energy. Meetings are for decision-making, so let the decision decide who comes to the table based on their skill set and passions.

An Agenda.

YOU SHOULD HAVE ONE. It should cover the specific decisions that you need to make in that meeting. Type it up, make copies, pass it out to everyone, and STICK TO IT. If you’re not sure where to start, then type “great church staff meeting agendas” into Google and see what happens.

A guy I worked for who lead our staff meetings once decided that our conversation dominators were eating up our meeting time and implemented a few guidelines. We always gave personal reports on how life was going and ministry reports about the previous Sunday. He put his phone on the desk, set the timer to 5 minutes, and said “go.” I loved it.

Don’t like that strategy? Then decide on some way to let your staff know that all rabbits will be shot on sight. You’ll be surprised how much time you have at the end to catch up in more detail. That’s when the bunnies can go free!

Assignments.

Meetings are for decision-making. Don’t leave until tasks and deadlines are assigned. If no one knows what their job is after a meeting then what was the point?

Your high-caliber leaders want to make a difference and their time is precious. Leaving a meeting without a responsibility feels like you’ve just wasted the last hour and a half of their day. If you don’t have a responsibility that you’re going to assign to a person, then consider leaving them out of the meeting or let them leave early.

I like to keep my meeting notes in Evernote. That way, when I come back the next week, I have last week’s notes in front of me. This is very important for follow up. How many times have you hand-written notes in meetings and immediately lost them?

My friend Alison says that at Pantego Bible Church they also value follow up on assignments. She added that one of the worst things that can happen is to give assignments in meetings and then Voldemort them. You know, he-who-must-not-be-named? If you never speak of the assignment again, then don’t expect that it will be completed.

Let your staff know in tangible ways that you really do understand how precious their time is. Then when you require their time, you’ll find that they are more willing to give it cheerfully.

Laughter.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, doesn’t it? Or it could make him a psychopathic killer. But mostly it just makes your staff meetings dull. Start your meetings with some fun together or from time to time, cancel the meeting to go play laser tag or mini golf.

Think about how important relationships are to what we do. Your relationships with each other as a staff are just as important. We don’t need to look like a family, we need to actually BE a family! When a member speaks poorly about you, don’t you want your staff to defend you because they know you? I know I do.

“Hey, I know Seth. He probably didn’t mean you were fat. He probably just meant that the pants were fat.”

Well, at least they can try. Playing together is easily the fastest relationship-builder I’ve ever seen. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually model all that community we’re always telling our people they should have?

Relationships are the things that allow the real Spiritual work to be done. For some reason, the fact that you’ve shot someone with a laser pistol in a dark, smoke-filled arena makes them feel like they can call you when all hell breaks loose in their life.

So there you go. Five components to productive meetings that your staff will begin to look forward to. Maybe I missed something. What have you tried that worked? Leave comments below and let’s help each other out! Sign up for my email list to receive updates and more content that you’ll enjoy!

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  • […] tools. It may be time to ditch the printed agenda (which I know you have because you’ve read this) and go to an emailed or shared document version. Evernote, Dropbox, or Google Docs are all great […]

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