One of the biggest complaints we hear from committee chairs is that their committee members don’t come to the scheduled meetings. When we hear that, we almost always know that the primary issue isn’t about having a bunch of members who are slackers without integrity. We tell the committee chair, “The reason your members don’t come to your meetings is because your meetings just don’t matter.” Only after the chair calms down do we get to explain. There are several reasons most church meetings simply don’t matter.

  • They’re information-sharing meetings… and the information could have been shared in an email.
  • They’re meetings simply for the sake of having a meeting… there’s no real business that needs attention, but some bylaw “requires” the meetings.
  • They’re all talk and no action… the committee isn’t empowered to do anything besides making recommendations to the council (board, session, vestry, etc.).
  • The meetings have no written agenda (or the agenda is ignored) and they turn into gripe sessions, gossip nests, or story times.
  • They don’t accomplish anything that’s mission-critical (in which case it might be worthwhile to examine why the committee/team exists at all).
  • Although decisions may be made in the meetings, there’s no follow-through; therefore, little or nothing is accomplished.
  • The committee chair (or team leader) ultimately makes all the decisions and/or does all the work, so there’s no need for anyone else.

Meetings that matter actually matter… and you can count on team members to show up. A good meeting:

  • Only meets when there’s a real need to deal with.
  • Only meets to deal with mission-critical decisions or to make mission-critical plans.
  • Cannot be taken care of in any other way besides a face-to-face sit-down.
  • Has an agenda (that starts with the keystone discipleship question “What have you read in scripture this week that intrigued you?”).
  • Has a specific stop-time … and doesn’t go overtime.
  • Is a team effort – every team member has a skill, gift, talent, or resource that’s necessary for the team to function … and has the opportunity to utilize them.
  • Has a built-in accountability process to hold leaders and members accountable to do what they say they’re going to do by the time they say they’re going to do it.

Bottom Line: If you don’t have a good reason and need to meet, don’t meet. And if you have a meeting, make sure it accomplishes something that’s mission-critical. Make your meetings matter and you’ll find your committee members showing up, ready to do ministry.

Question: How can you cut down on your church’s meetings? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.