Blog | How To Run Successful Church Staff Meetings
How To Run Successful Church Staff Meetings
Most of us have experienced staff meetings, for better or worse. Standing meetings have the potential to be your staff’s favorite time of the week, or it can feel like black hole on their schedule every week. Staff meetings don’t have to be torture, but it requires intentionality on the part of the person or persons running the meeting. Here are a few ideas to help you turn your meetings into a meaningful part of your team’s week each week.
Tailor meetings to the size and needs of your staff
Staffs of different sizes require different types of meetings. A team of three may not need much more than a quick “stand-up” meeting each week to make sure things aren’t falling through the cracks, but a bigger team requires more structure and touch points to make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction throughout the week.
Typically, the larger your staff, the less interactive your meetings can realistically be. The team of 3 staff members may have extremely conversational and informal meetings, but when your team grows to 10, the same dynamics aren’t going to work. You’ll probably notice a couple of people being hyper-engaged, and the rest check out until the meeting is over. By the time you grow to 25 staff members, it may be time to ditch the board room or circle of chairs for a more presentational set-up, where a few people take turns sharing with the whole group.
Look around at your next few meetings. If a large portion of your staff seems disengaged, it may be worth tinkering with the format of your meetings to keep your staff connected, while hopefully making meetings more relevant to everyone in attendance.
Define and communicate the purpose of the meeting
One frustrating thing for team members can be having a standing meeting on their schedule without understanding exactly why they’re showing up. It doesn’t take very many meetings that feel directionless or unnecessary before your team will start to resent having to attend each week.
Clarify the purpose of the meeting. As a lead pastor, it’s understandable that any reason to get your whole team together seems worthwhile, because you want to share vision and hear about what’s been happening in the different departments of the church.
In many ways, the specific purpose of your regular meeting time doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that if your meeting is meant to be productive, buckle down and let it be as efficient and productive as possible. On the other hand, if your desired purpose for the meeting is more about staff culture, make sure that the team understands that the point of the time together is not to accomplish any specific tasks, but to remain unified in mission, vision, and community.
Be consistent but flexible
As an employee, it can be frustrating when it feels like the higher-ups are too rigid with the meeting schedule. While maintaining a consistent meeting schedule is important, there are weeks during the year where the entire staff is extraordinarily busy simultaneously (i.e., Christmas, Easter, etc.).
Making exceptions for these types of weeks are a great way to help minimize stress during the busy season. Consider making your all staff meeting shorter and more social during holiday weeks and be ok with making exceptions for those who simply can’t make it or are overly stressed by another thing on their calendar.
On the other hand, it’s important to remain consistent. If you have too many weeks without a meeting or with a shorter one, it’s easy for employees to start to forget, or not prioritize that time on their calendar.
Be prompt and finish on time
This may seem rudimentary, and to a degree it is. But you don’t need to be told that some people have a hard time showing up to things on time. In fact, chances are, some of you reading this are one of those people. As the leader, it’s on you to be on time and prepared, so you can begin, and end as scheduled.
Start and end times are only part of it.
In every meeting, there are agenda items, and it’s important that meetings typically stick to that agenda. If any portion of the meeting goes over, you’ll need to take that time from some other potentially important topic. On a church staff, priorities can differ across departments, so it’s important to make sure each agenda item is prioritized as stated.
Be an expert where you’re an expert, and a learner where you’re not
This one is simple. You hired your team for a reason. They’re professionals and experts in their area. They bring something to the table that you don’t. Let your team shine in these meetings. Listen to your teams’ expertise – often they have perspective that you don’t, as they’re working more in the weeds of their ministries than you and have a more comprehensive idea of the challenges presented.
Of course, there are times when your input from outside of a specific ministry can be helpful and enlightening. In these moments, your goal should be to champion your team. Don’t use your experience to show them up, make them feel valued and supported.
All-staff meetings can be the heartbeat of a church, or they can be a cancer to staff culture. It’s up to you to set the tone for which one it will be.
About the Author
Josh Tarp is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and worship leader from Minneapolis with over 15 years of experience in church & worship leadership. Josh serves as the Director of Marketing at Motion Worship, helping to write various blog posts, managing social media, designing graphics, and handling customer service.