Meetings UGH.

I can’t tell you how much I came to hate and dread meetings. I must have developed some sort of allergy to them I think. Nothing could have prepared me for the number of meetings a lead pastor has to have – except maybe a job in a government bureaucracy (I never know how to spell that word).

Flip through the New Testament, go to a bible college, do an internship… nothing will prepare you for the volume and variety of the meetings you will participate in and chair as a lead pastor.

Event planning, program development, staff meetings, budget meetings, mentoring meetings, meetings with congregation members, friends, leadership meetings, board meetings, elders breakfasts, sunday meetings, prayer meetings, meetings with my wife (yep I made her come into the office and have a meeting with me whenever she wanted to talk about how her role was going), women who have given birth to extremely hairy babies outreach ministry meetings (ok I made up the last one – but only because we hadn’t thought of it at the time)…. the list goes on, and on, and on like a bad version of the Never Ending Story.

My most loathed meeting was the Annual General Meeting. I cannot begin to explain how boring and mind-numbing the AGM is. We fixed that one by changing our constitution so that the members of the incorporation are restricted to board members. hey presto, a board meeting doubles as an AGM.

It’s not that I was particularly bad at running meetings. I hated preparing agendas and I realize that probably would have made them less effective, but I did manage them well. I harnessed group dynamics, made sure everyone was heard where possible, tried for consensus at all times, made sure they stayed positive, took breaks when things stalled etc.

I was aware that many people who attended meetings expected them to be “christian” meetings, so there must be some kind of devotion, or scripture shared at the start. And it was necessary to “open” in prayer, and “close” in prayer, and wrap a lot of statements with caveats such as “if that’s what God is leading us to do”. Eventually it all became little more than formality and religiosity to me. I just figured, why can’t people do their own devotions and be prayerful at all times, and have the mind of Christ, instead of making it ceremonial. Sometimes we just do stuff because that’s they way it’s done.

Can we coin a new TLA (three letter acronym)? I’m thinking MAD. Meeting Aversion Disorder. Writing this post is making me nervous now.

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3 Responses

  1. I can empathise with the author of this article…there’s little to be said for the admin workload required to ‘do the Lord’s work’ in our current context. There are better ways of doing it though – but it takes a very committed leader to bring the necessary changes. The author may find “Death by Meeting” and “Re-engineering the Church” as good tools to begin.

  2. Have read “Re-engineering” but that only tries to find ways of dealing with the current complexities better, but ends up adding more mechanisms and therefore more meetings. Haven’t read “Death by meetings” yet.

    The problem could possibly go a long way to being solved by the church not owning facilities and by deploying gifted administrators and possibly removing the need for paid staff.

  3. I share the sentiment. I hated my council meetings. It was every month and would take up half a saturday. No one had the courage to make decisions and wanted full agreement before anything could be done. what a waste of time and energy.

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