I’ve spent much of my life leading a church and constructing congregational meetings. Over the years, I have learned there are effective as well as non-effective ways to do this. Many times the destructive ways outweigh those that are constructive.
Poorly planned and executed meetings frustrate everyone involved and harm our leadership.
These are suggestions which have worked best for me over the years.
First, know how your group works. For example, do you have policies or by-laws which govern your meeting? Follow your established policies. You will always be on firm footing when you do, and the people you are leading will appreciate your leadership.
Second, carefully set an agenda and follow it. Attempt to have a set time for a meeting and finish on time (most meetings, even committees, should finish within an hour).
Third, construct your agenda to deal with easier items first. Routine items should be considered first and finished, well, routinely. By dealing with easy or routine items first, you get the meeting established without dealing with difficult or divisive items right off the bat. Move these easier items along so that the people see that you are making progress.
By leaving the hard items to later, you will not crowd out the routine but necessary areas that you need to cover.
Fourth, know what your group feels before you begin the meeting. In other words, you want to know the outcome of the meeting before it begins. How do you do this? Ask people. Ask what they think. If you find yourself in questionable areas, you probably don’t want to bring the issue to a vote at the current meeting.
Fifth, prepare people before hand. The pastor underwhich I grew up was a master at this. He included people in decision making. He explained his ideas and asked for guidance. He listened. He did not have to get his way.
The result? People loved him and followed him. Isn’t that what you want?
Finally, trust the people. If they don’t buy every idea you have, don’t get mad or get even. Thank them for their participation and follow their decisions.
In other words, be magnanimous. They will be more likely to follow in the future if you are kind and grateful.
Every group has to make decisions. Be sure to pray and ask God to help you help the people to accomplish His will.
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