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Q&A: How to reduce the number of church meetings by 90%

Heather Hershey, a youth director in Pennsylvania, emailed me concerning a comment I made in previous post about having evening meetings at only church about once every 3 months. Here’s what she asked:

How in the world are you able to NOT have evening meetings? I have a ton, but it’s because all of our church volunteers work during the week and can’t meet during the daytime. Please share this secret with me!

There’s no big secret — just don’t have meetings! What is it that you guys have to meet so frequently about? Can you find other ways to communicate? I have about 60 adult volunteers in my youth ministry and we have three meetings a year: 1) new school year around August; 2) Christmas Party in December; and 3) end-of-the-school-year wrap-up meeting in May. There’s occasional other little meetings that happen within sub-groups of leaders, but usually I don’t go to them. They can function just fine without me. (If your ministry can’t function without you, then you need to restructure it and delegate responsibility. If they don’t accept the responsibility for something, then you shut that thing down. If no one takes charge, that tells you how important it really must be to them.) We have trainings that I’m in charge about twice a year, but those are usually a Saturday morning and afternoon kinda thing.

Most of my communication takes place online, which allows us to handle issues a lot faster and efficiently than waiting for the next meeting to discuss something. I also just make a lot of executive decisions myself. Decisions that require quick input (and don’t necessarily need to be approved by all 60 adult leaders) I run by a group of 5 adult leaders who are my “executive leaders.” They’re people who have been involved in various aspects of the youth ministry for a long time, are spiritually mature, and are very good with responding to emails and phone calls in a timely manner.

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Have a youth ministry question you’d like me and other readers to answer? E-mail it to me! Please keep your question brief and to-the-point. Thanks!


Posted on May 14, 2008

  • The other idea here would be to include a meeting night! If you are forced to have a variety of meetings find a way to make as many of them coincide.

    Think of it this way. There are tons of groups that have meetings throughout the month. Realistically you need to be at a few of them. Suggesting the idea of an all comittee night. Have each group meet before a council meeting if you have one of those and then do the job of bouncing in and out of each meeting that you might have to make a presence at.

    I now have 1 night of meetings a month without all of the committing myself to extra nights throughout the month. Allowing myself and the Senior Pastor to be more present in the community instead of in committiee or board meetings. LOVE IT!

  • @ Jeremy: Yeah, it’s easy to get to that point where you’re spending more time in meetings talking about ministry than you are actually doing it!

  • I think someone should write a book about keeping the KISS principle in meetings! That way we stop rehashing what was already rehashed. Say what needs to be said and leave. Stop having meetings just to have meetings! Hmmm… I think a book is coming on!!!

  • Personally, I prefer the 5 B’s of public speaking: Be Brief, Baby, Be Brief. :)

  • Amen, brother.

  • yeah – i’m busy 6 nights a week. so draining.

  • Ya can’t do that Chris! You have to be willing to put value on your time over and above meeting for meetings sake.

  • @ jeremy – ya thanks. i do realize that. honestly 5 of those nights are ministry nights. however i may be seeing a big transition here in a few weeks. i can’t really say a lot about it right now…but it could be huge for me.

  • Sara

    I stepped into a leadership position with a team that had been meeting monthly for several years. We have recently started meeting quarterly instead. In between meetings, I keep in touch with everyone on a one-on-one basis and we do a lot of email conferencing. It’s a new thing for us … but so far so good!!

  • I think to keep and your life SIMPLE you cant be overloaded with meetings. I agree with time. Have a Executive team that you run details through and then keep everyone else in the loop via other methods. I have 1 meeting per month with my leaders before an event that they will already be at. Our church still has Sunday Nights so next year I am going to meet twice a month with leaders on Sunday Night. Once for YOUTH Ministry stuff and the other to build our leadership community 10-15 minute devotional and then just hangtime with adults.

    Thanks for setting a good example tim.

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