Church business meetings aren’t things I particularly like to do. I’ve never heard anyone say they really enjoyed them either. Some congregations and pastors can conduct business meetings without a hitch, while others don’t fair as well. Making decisions for any church can present opportunities for misunderstandings. I’ve experienced an entire spectrum of emotions dealing with church business meetings over the years. Each church is unique, but here are a few things more things I’ve gleaned that could be helpful to pastors of small to medium sized churches. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.
Read The People:
Anticipate potential problems before they start by watching facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. You can also read boredom, frustration and irritation as well. Eliminate personality clashes, and move the meeting in a positive direction. If you are the moderator, most people key off of you. Stay positive, smile, keep an open posture and keep it moving before it gets heated.
Don’t Be Rude:
As hard as it can be sometimes, it’s important to listen to everyone. Don’t “zone out” while they are talking. Listen for their heart. Often people voice opposition when they are really expressing their fear. This may be a time when they need reassurance. Bring other team members into the discussion if necessary.
More The Merrier:
Some members are more outspoken than others. Often this can be counterproductive. Just because a person is boisterous doesn’t necessarily mean they have the best idea, nor does it mean they represent the majority of the church. So, either wittingly or unwittingly they wind up as church bullies in business meetings. An overly zealous or highly opinionated individual can attempt to dominate a meeting. If this happens, keep your composure and ask if there are others who would like to express their opinion as well. If you see that someone is hesitant, ask their opinion and encourage them to speak. Sometimes the quiet ones are those with the best perspective.
Cool it down:
If a meeting starts to get a little tense you have several options. You could recommend that before preceding the church stop and seek the Lord in prayer. The use of a little humor, if used wisely, can also be used to defuse or distract a potentially heated situation. Or suggest moving on to the next item and revisit it at another time.
It’s important to remember that you’re doing the Lord’s business. Make sure the meeting doesn’t get sidetracked. Keep to the subject at hand. Discussion is great, but only when it serves the purpose of the business at hand. Avoid “rabbit trails” and stay focused.