How to Have Meaningful & Productive Meetings in The Small Church



If, somehow in your ministry training you failed to take that class on Meaningful Leadership Team Meetings…you’re probably sunk. Why do I say such a thing? Because as pastors we are always calling meetings. We have board meetings, deacon meetings, leadership team meetings, Elders meeting, meetings to train, meetings to plan…meetings, meetings, meetings. In some churches they have meetings to plan future meetings.

One essential skill for the small church pastor is to know how to have meaningful, productive, “This was really worth my time” meetings. I think the pastor who has a meaningless, unproductive, boring meeting should have to spend the night in the county jail. Here are my 12 ways to insure meaningful and productive meetings.


1. Have an agenda. Don’t trust your memory, don’t wing it.

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2. Have a limited agenda. Too many things to cover in one night will reduce the meaningfulness and productivity of the meeting.

3. Have a prioritized agenda. Some things on your agenda are probably not as important as other things. First things first, second things second.

4. Always distribute your agenda ahead of time. Team members need to know what the focus will be and have time to think about the agenda before the meeting.

5. Stick to the agenda.

6. Agree upon a time limit for each person to share. Often the reason why our meetings are not as meaningful and productive as they could be is because someone talked too long. I have found a thee minute egg timer works best for this. I’m serious.

7. Only have a meeting when you really need to have a meeting. One leader I recently spoke to was used to having a once a month leadership team meeting until he discovered that they didn’t really need to meet that often. He cut back to every other month and guess what? Nobody complained.

8. Never allow a meeting to run on late into the night, especially on a week night when people have to get up early for work. The later you go the more tired they are and the more tired they are the less meaningful and productive the meeting is.

9. Individuals who sabotage meetings must be spoken to. Don’t allow someone to dominate or take the group off the agenda.

10. Facilitate don’t dominate. This one is for you pastor. Pastors talk too much at meetings. Being a good facilitator is a whole other skill but one that accompanies the skill of leading meaningful and productive meetings.

11. There should be at least two fun leadership meetings per year. All work and no play make Tom a dull boy. Sorry pastor Tom. All work and no play make for a dulled leadership team. Do something fun together.

12. Teach ‘meeting etiquette’.

In order to have a productive and meaningful leadership team meeting you might need to train your leaders how to have a productive and meaningful leadership team meeting. By meeting etiquette I mean:

I will not dominate.

I will treat others with honor and respect.

I will not interrupt.

I will participate.

I will not lead the group on a rabbit-trail.

Now don’t make me come out there and transport you to the county jail.