Staff, deacons, department heads, volunteers, and others.
Even in a small church, there are several types of leaders. And we need to have healthy, open communication with them.
Recently I was asked, “in a small church, how often should church leadership meetings be held?”
The short (and hopefully not trite) answer is that church leadership meetings should happen as often as needed, but never more often than necessary.
The specifics of that will change depending on many factors, including church size, location, frequency of services and ministries, polity, and more. But here are some ideas:
Weekly: Primary leaders of daily/weekly ministries
(Like pastoral staff, worship team, and youth leaders)
In addition to a time of prayer and a quick stand-up before the service, these ministries will need regular meetings to assess last week, put last-minute touches on the coming week, and talk about plans for future weeks.
Monthly: Oversight committees
(Like deacons and elders)
These should happen a minimum of 8 to 10 times a year, allowing for the occasional missed date due to illness, schedule changes, and so on.
It’s good to have them at a consistent day, time, and place to reduce confusion on the calendar and distractions during meetings.
Plus, never close out one meeting without having the next meeting on the calendar.
Quarterly: Teams that plan annual/semi-annual events
(Like Christmas and Easter)
Don’t wait until the event is just a few months away. A meeting in March and June for the Christmas events, for instance, is a great way to get a jump-start on ideas that might take a while to come together. Then, meet monthly for the last quarter before the event happens, and weekly during the final month.
Semi-annually: All-team meeting
(Like staff, deacons, volunteers, and potential leaders)
These meetings will be longer, more casual, and should always include snacks or a meal. This is a time for an open, far-ranging discussion of leadership principles, communication needs, and anything else that will enhance the coordination of all the ministries.
This is essential because we have a tendency to get so narrowly focused on our area of concern that we forget how our ministry fits with other ministries and impacts the church as a whole.
A semi-annual meeting with everyone is a great reminder of who’s on the team and how it all fits together.
Annually: Vision meeting
(For key staff, volunteers, deacons and their spouses)
This can be an overnight retreat or an all-day Saturday event. This is a great time for the pastor to cast new dreams and ideas, and for the pastor to listen to the needs, visions, and ideas of everyone who serves and leads.
There are great ideas bubbling up in every church, but if we don’t give them a context to be heard they’ll die out instead of being utilized.
Adapt for Your Context, Season and Size
There might be more meetings during a season when the church is undergoing big changes (negative or positive), and there might be a slower season when one or two meetings might be skipped.
But even if the meetings are short (which they should be when things are running well) regular meetings for communication and coordination should never be abandoned. Even with our ability to constantly be in touch by phone and conference call, regular face-to-face communication is essential for the health of a church.
The bottom line is this: the most important thing about church leadership meetings isn’t how often they happen, but how effective they are.
For more practical ideas about this, check out 13 Principles For Effective Team Meetings In Any Size Church.
(Photo by photosteve101 | Flickr)