You may be surprised by the title. Who wouldn’t be? I believe it was a Harvard Business School study that revealed that the more meetings we attend, the more our IQ’s drop.
In this blog, and in our books, we’ve pointed out that the lead pastor needs to bow out of a many meetings as possible, if for no other reason than the reality that most meeting accomplish little and cost much in terms of time and resources. Indeed, most church meetings would be better off handled by a quick email that included the reports and charts and graphs and announcements that are often the sum-total of church meeting agendas.
But the fact is, if you’re committed to growing your church, you and your staff and your lay people need to attend more meetings.
That is … more meetings with people outside of your church.
Growing churches are led by men and women who spend the bulk of their time with “outsiders,” Paul’s preferred word for pre-Christians (Colossians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Timothy 3:7). They spend their time taking one-on-one meetings with community leaders, people who “fit” the church’s target, church visitors, and returning guests. Like a good insurance agent or Realtor, they’re constantly “prospecting,” having meaningful conversations with pretty much everyone they meet, and they’re intentional about expanding their acquaintance base.
When we work with church planters, we recommend they implement a plan we call “Five-a-Day.” Five-a-Day simply means making five “new” contacts every single day. A “contact” counts if (a) They’re someone the planter has never formally met in the past; (b) They have a conversation that includes a mention of the church; and (c) They exchange contact information. We tell our planters to play a game … they can’t go home until they’ve got those five contacts in their Google Contacts List.
For established church pastors who are committed to “turning around” their churches, we modify that to “Five-a-Week” to begin with.
Although it sounds pretty easy, the fact is very few people are so well networked that they meet those goals consistently. However, those who take that many “meetings” each week are consistently growing their churches.
How do you manage to have that many meetings each week? Below is a bullet list of some successful practices we’ve seen growing pastors engaging in.
- Start by cutting your “office time” in half (or less). You’re not going to grow your church from your office.
- Attend every business networking group you can find
- Attend every Chamber of Commerce event (but avoid being on the board)
- Attend every community event you can
- Cheer for the local high school football, basketball, baseball, swimming, gymnastics, wrestling, volleyball, golf team … attend the games/matches/meets
- Teach a short-term adult education course
- Play pickup basketball at the park or rec center
- Make at least three one-on-one appointments each week with the top position holders in the political, school, hospital, healthcare, civic, first-responders, and business arenas – start at the top and work down to vice directors, etc.
- Become an “ambassador” for the Chamber or some other business group and drop by three to five different businesses each day (take doughnuts, cookies, etc.) and take information about the city, business education opportunities, etc.
- Take fruit or snacks to the Social Security, unemployment, food stamp office, driver’s license, or other places where people tend to “wait and wait and wait”
Meetings don’t have to be totally non-productive. Just take the time to implement meeting the “right” people and you’ll grow your church. The more people you “meet” with, the faster your church will grow.