Grace Institute News

November 9, 2011

first comes the dog, then the tail...  dogs wagging tails

It isn't unusual that churches have constitutions and bylaws that dictate the number of meetings various groups need to have. At the time, they made sense. But today, with busy lives and the availability of immediate electronic communication, some of those meetings may not be necessary. What would would happen if you took a fresh look at those meetings? 

For instance, does the women's ministry created in 1940, need to meet once a month, every month as they did when it started? Or would less meetings provide more productivity? Does the new group that formed last year need to keep up their meeting schedule now that the launch phase is over or could they adjust their schedule?  Does your ministry leadership team need to meet EVERY month, or would an occasional month off offer needed refreshment and perspective? 

In an age when people are incredibly busy or have to drive longer distances to attend a church meeting, having unnecessary meetings is of little interest to many. In fact, the younger the people are, the less they are interested in meetings and the more they are interested in DOING. Plus, there are other down-sides to having unnecessary meetings:
  • People who meet often feel the necessity of planning things to justify the meeting (resulting in unnecessary things filling up the church calendar that add busy work even if they are consistent with the church's mission).    
  • Too many meetings create a sense of malaise and disinterest.     
  • People lose confidence in the necessity of giving up a night at home.    
  • Unnecessary meetings begin to convey that the ministry of the church is less important than it really is.  
Sometimes it is helpful to step back and look at the frequency of meetings that are being held. Are they dictated from another era? Are they set whether there is real agenda or not? Are people getting together to just share information about what has been done instead of planning for important ministry initiatives? Are all ministry groups meeting the same number of times, even if they have quite different kinds of ministry? Is attendance dropping off because the purpose of the meeting is not that clear?

Hear me when I say that not ALL meetings are bad. Meetings are necessary.  When the need is there, the meeting serves its purpose. But sometimes we let the "tail wag the dog" --we have meetings to have meetings, instead of being proactive and allowing the call of Christ dictate our schedule and agendas. What would happen if we took a fresh look? 
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Michelle Jenks

Grace Institute

2770 Montgomery Rd

Aurora, IL 60504