Church business meetings are not necessarily my idea of a good time. While some churches and leaders manage to conduct business meetings quite well, others are more difficult. Whenever a group of people must make decisions it can be touchy. Church business meetings can leave you charged up and ready to face a challenge or throw in the towel. Each church is different, but here are a few things I’ve learned over the years that may be helpful to pastors of small to medium sized churches. You can read Part 1 of the series here.
- Set The Tone. As the congregational meeting begins you can set the proper tone with a relevant Scripture reading, prayer asking for wisdom and guidance. A quick reminder of the biblical responsibility of the church is often a good idea. However, this isn’t the time to preach or scold.
- Make A Sandwich: It’s best not to begin with controversial matters, but don’t leave them until the end either. Beginning with potentially heated issues can sidetrack the other issues on the agenda. And, ending on a potentially bad note isn’t wise. Start with a positive matter of business and stay positive. When addressing touchy issues, be mindful of your countenance, body language and tone of your voice. Put people at ease rather than on edge. If it becomes heated or the discussion is too lengthy, remain calm and suggest that the item be tabled for re-examination and will be addressed at another date. Ask someone to make a motion to do so. Save a positive piece of business until the very end if possible.
- Watch The Clock: Keep the meeting moving by holding it to a predetermined length of time. This gives you incentive to move the meeting along. If it stalls on one issue, move on to the next. Stay focused on your agenda.
- Know The Rules: Some churches operate by some form of parliamentary procedure for opening a discussion and making decisions. Whatever form of order your congregation has adopted, try to honor that procedure. While I’ve seen some work well with Roberts Rules of Order, I’ve seen others do quite well without them. Whatever your church uses try to stick to them consistently.