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Welcoming Guests and First Impressions

The sermon starts in the parking lot, and the impression you make for your guests on Sunday morning during the first 10 minutes will be indelible.

Technology and The Church

Leveraging technology for ministry can be an incredible blessing. But it can also be fraught with problems and pitfalls. Learn how to use technology well.

Vision and Leadership

Our God longs for leaders to request of Him to do that which they cannot. Faith filled vision, leadership and risk are key ingredients for ministry.

Preaching and Communication

You know and understand how challenging it is to communicate. It is hard to get and capture people's attention. Learn how to communicate effectively.

Creativity and Innovation

Being creative means asking the right questions and making new associations. Discover new and creative ideas for your ministry.

Showing posts with label Meetings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meetings. Show all posts

Never Have A Meaningless Meeting Again

We all experience them. Ineffective...time-wasting...unproductive...boring...meetings. Of course it is important for your leadership team (elders/deacons/ministry teams) within your church to occasionally meet in order to work effectively. Yet as you do meet, it is important to ask these two essential questions to insure that the meetings you have are effective and productive.

excerpted from Mike Bonem:

How would you evaluate the effectiveness of your meetings? I know that I’ve just said the dreaded “M” word. No one likes meetings. But shouldn’t the leadership team meetings be the place where you work on the most important organizational issues? If not, where will you work on the major challenges? How will you make the decisions between two great opportunities?

The first question for your leadership team is, “Do we work on the most important issues at our meetings?” (Tweet This) Take a minute to do a mental inventory of those matters that could have the greatest impact on the future of your organization. Are these matters the focus of your team meetings? Are they even discussed? Are you having honest discussions? A number of factors could keep these issues from receiving appropriate air time – fear of conflict, a habit of only dealing with urgent matters, embarrassment at admitting a mistake. But if you want to move forward, it is essential to overcome these barriers and get the right issues on the table.

The second question is, “Do we make and follow through on decisions made in our team meetings?” (Tweet ThisSome teams talk about the issues. In fact, they talk and talk and talk, and never make a decision. Or they appear to make a decision, but then nothing happens. Important matters deserve ongoing attention and accountability to insure that action is taken.

Here’s my recommendation. First, answer the two questions on your own. How do you evaluate your team? Then makes these two questions the focus of your next leadership team meeting. Push hard for an honest conversation and if changes are needed, make a clear decision on what will be different in the future. It could be the most important thing that your team will do this week.

(ht: Mike)

5 Ways To Stop Creating Meetings From Hell

Meetings can too often seem like eternal punishment. Many meetings we are called to (or perhaps we are calling them ourselves) seem meaningless, unfocused and waste our time and energy. Therefore, as a leader, how can you avoid creating "meetings from H-E-Double Hockey Sticks"?

Here are 5 tips that can help.

Have clear agenda and stop/start time - start the meeting when you say you are going to start and end on time. Don't wait to start a meeting until everyone has arrived, and don't let meetings go well beyond their intended time. Doing so doesn't respect people's time and it creates bad precedent and expectations for the future.

Don't have meeting with out clear purpose.... don't just have them - you shouldn't create or go into a meeting without knowing exactly what you are intending to accomplish. You should have a meeting to accomplish something that's a part of your vision, mission and objectives. Avoid having meetings just to "inform"- like simply just reviewing the calendar.

Try having short huddles instead of meetings - instead of blocking out time in the schedule and calling an official meeting for everyone to attend, gather together around a focused objective/task/issue. You can have that huddle meeting in the hall. Have the meeting while standing and you'll be assured that the meeting won't last very long.

Don't leave a meeting without clearly assigned and measurable action items - before you leave the meeting, you should have clearly defined Action Items. And with every item that is created you should know and record - what exactly (quantitatively) are you needing to do, who is responsible for it and what is the time frame when it needs to be accomplished. In addition the progress of those action items needs to be reviewed regularly.

Avoid bringing laptops/smartphones to the meeting - people disconnect and disengage from meetings with these devices...if your meetings are focused and to the point there will be no need for people to run to these devices because they are bored.

The Number ONE Problem With Meetings & How To Solve IT!

Bosses need to run meetings because they need to exercise authority and control. That attitude hinders free, honest involvement by participants. Worse yet, controlling-bosses obstruct ownership. Others won’t own what you own.

The problem with meetings is bosses run them.
No one can effectively manage a meeting and participate at the same time. Transform meetings by training new employees to – facilitate – manage meeting. Facilitators don’t participate with content they manage the process.

Meeting facilitators:
Martin Murphy, author of, “No More Pointless Meetings said, “The boss or highest ranking person in the room should not run workflow management sessions.” Martin prefers calling meetings “workflow management sessions.”

Assign junior team members to run – facilitate – meetings. They don’t give input they manage the meeting, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

Power and control:
Murphy’s suggestion freaks out leaders who need to sit at the head of the table exercising control. The whole dynamic stinks of inappropriate command and control leadership.

Sit at the foot of the table not the head.

Stop pretending you’re collaborating when you’re manipulating.

If you know the outcome of the meeting before the meeting, DON’T call a meeting. Meetings with pre-determined outcomes are manipulations. Have the integrity and courage to say, “This is what I want.” Say it and save everyone time.

Keep control if you must. If you need to set the agenda, do it. If not, work with the team to set agendas, for example.

Real collaboration:
If you’re genuinely interested in collaborative processes that produce collaborative results, stop running meetings. Train junior team members to facilitate meetings, instead. They manage processes while everyone else, including you, participates.

6 Keys To A Productive Meeting

You and I know that meetings most often are the kiss of death to productivity.  Most meetings seem like a waste of time and don't apparently accomplish much.  Yet, it is important to be able to pull key decision makers together in order to accomplish the church's or ministry's key objectives.  Therefore the challenge is to DO MEETINGS WELL.  In order to do them well, every meeting has to have:

  • A leader
  • A stated purpose
  • A start and end time
  • A valid reason for each and every person to be there.
  • A clear set of notes on conclusions, plans and action items
  • A clear timetable for follow up on action items

Why Volunteers Don’t Attend Your Meetings

If you want people to attend your meetings. Here is what you need to do.

1. Start on time end on time – value their time.
2. 30% Fellowship/Relationship
3. 60% Inspiration/Vision/Values
4. 10% Information – Give people information other ways – email, facebook, blogs, texts etc...
5. Connect meetings to things they are already attending - work with their schedule, not against it.
6. Most leaders want to grow make your meeting about leadership growth not trivial facts.

If they know they are going to be poured into and challenged your volunteers and leaders will come back.

(ht: Sam Luce)

7 Ways To Prepare For Stellar Meetings

It is probably weird to put "stellar" and "meetings" in the same sentence, since most people never associate the two.  But if done correctly, meetings can actually provide value, momentum and productivity to a ministry and organization - if DONE correctly.

Here are 7 ways to prepare for more effective meetings from Ron Edmondson's blog:

Ask the big question – The big question to ask before any meeting is scheduled is, “Do we need to meet?” For me personally, most meetings feel as if they are an interruption, even though I realize the importance of them. If the issue can be handled, without meeting, most will not argue. Unnecessary meetings cause frustration and slow progress. If people agree a meeting is necessary, they are more likely to come prepared to accomplish something.

Determine a win – The meeting will be more successful if before the meeting begins the purpose is clear. Ask the question, “What do we need to accomplish in the meeting for it to be successful?” Working towards a defined win will help keep the meeting headed in the right direction.

Invite the right people – Not every meeting needs to involve every person on the team. Decide who needs to be at the table and invite the appropriate people. Those without a defined purpose will tend to drag the meeting away from its purpose and leaves them frustrated. As a leader, I usually ask people on my team, “Do I need to be there?” when I learned of a meeting, before I place it on my calendar.

Decide on a time limit and frequency

Craft an agenda

Give adequate notice

Plan to start and end on time

(Read the whole post over at Ron's Blog)

10 Signs You Are In Meeting Hell

According to a survey by First Option, a conference event company in the United Kingdom, these are the 10 biggest complaints about corporate meetings. And what's true in the corporate setting, is even true or worse in churches or ministry organizations as well.  Here are the 10 biggest complaints, which, if true of you or your organization, are signs that you are probably in meeting H-E-double hockey sticks.

1. Drifting off the Topic………. 67%
2. Lack of Leadership………….63%
3. No Natural Daylight………..51%
4. Meeting for Meeting’s Sake……..44%
5. The Broken Record………42%
6. Running over Allotted Time……..40%
7. Meetings with No Purpose….. 39%
8. Interruptions from Phones and Pagers……35%
9. Refreshments not Refreshed Regularly….. 30%
10. The Cynical Attendee…..28%

(ht: Phil)

22 Keys To Great Ministry Meetings

Here are some things to avoid:

  • Not having an agenda/outline 
  • Doing all of the talking
  • Cutting people off
  • Not taking notes
  • Taking notes that everyone can’t see
  • Not asking questions
  • Assuming consensus
  • Creating an antagonistic environment
  • Assuming anyone will do anything with what has been said
Here are a few things highly recommended:

  • Pray first
  • Use a whiteboard—the bigger the better
  • Record it
  • Let people get up and move around
  • Stress transparency
  • Only use a digital medium if it really communicates a point more clearly
  • Ask qualifying questions
  • Bring lunch in
  • Take short breaks
  • View discussions through different perspectives
  • Take pictures of the whiteboard before erasing
  • Task someone to send a follow-up summary
  • Establish next-steps and assign specific tasks to specific people

What would you add?

Run Your Meetings Like Google

Say the word "meeting" and most people break out in hives.
When it comes to boring and unproductive meetings, churches and ministry are often the worst offenders.

Certainly every organization must have meetings in order to plan, strategize and communicate. So the question is how does the world's most productive and innovative companies tackle the problem of badly managed meetings? Or in other words, let's ask the question, "What Would Google Do?"

Google’s Marissa Mayer was recently interviewed by Business Week. In the interview, she described her own methodology for dealing with the 70+ meetings she needs to attend each week.

Here are Mayer’s six key principles for running productive meetings:

1.  Set a firm agenda. Mayer believes agendas provide focus and help participants find routes towards achieving a particular goal.

2.  Assign a note-taker. Mayer’s meetings tend to use multiple displays to project presentation slides, a live transcript of the meeting and a ticking stopwatch! Each element provide focus, and crucially a record, enabling non-attendees to stay informed.

3. Carve out micro-meetings. Mayer routinely divides larger meetings into smaller 5-10 minute blocks to highlight particular subject areas. This enables agendas to remain flexible, but disciplined, and also allows wide-ranging discussions to occur.

4. Hold office hours. Each day, for 90 minutes at 4PM, Mayer holds court with colleagues in her own office. Coworkers can choose a slot on a first-come-first-serve basis. Incredibly, she’s able to get through up to fifteen meetings in these periods.

5.  Discourage politics, use data. To avoid showing favoritism and to minimise office politics, Mayer insists all decisions are driven by performance-based metrics and analytics. (This approach has caused some controversies, as related by former design director Douglas Bowman.)

6.  Stick to the clock. The “ticking clock” mentioned earlier might sound draconian, but is apparently a source of levity at meetings, exerting a subtle motivation, but also underlining a precious commodity in a busy organization.

What are some of your tips and best practices for leading meetings?

(ht: WebWorkerDaily)

Worst Meeting Ever!

Have you ever cried that out loud? I know I have.

Meetings can be bad enough as they are - but a bad book about meetings, such as the one pictured, All About Meetings,  is Uberboring!

You won't find this book at your local Barnes and Noble.  Rather you will most likely find this dusty old find someone in the dark recesses of your public library.

The table of contents of this book include:
1. Why Meetings? ...
2. What Is a Meeting?…..
12. Was It A Good Meeting?

Memorable quotes:
Page 81, “Probably you too have been present at affairs where the hostesses acted as though they hated everyone and wished that they were anywhere but there…”   And, “The guest who arrives too early sometimes presents a problem which may be solved simply by not opening the doors until a certain set time…” - no kidding?!

Meetings are unavoidable in ministry and in the marketplace.  Since you are going to have meetings - you might as well do them right.   When you hold your meetings it is important that you include several things:

An agenda that people receive at least 24 hrs before the schedule meeting - that way people aren't going in cold with no thought or preparation.

Clear start and end times.

Everyone walks away with a clear action plan - answering the three questions.  What is the task?.. Who specifically has responsibility for it?...And when is it's deadline?

Related Posts:
Death by Meetings
How to Become a Scheduling Wizard

(ht: Awful Library Books)

Are you lonely?

This is a funny satire ad, and it dovetails nicely with my post: Death by Meetings.

(ht: Seth Godin)

How To Pray During Your Meetings

You finally get your team together and you need to get down to business. Of course it is important to pray and commit your plans and time to Lord.

You know that God must go before us in our plans and that they must be from Him.

Psalm 127:1,

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

So we pray and commit our plans to the Lord.

The problem often times is that prayer becomes either a perfunctory prayer at the beginning of the meeting or a rushed or hurried prayer at the end.

How can we effectively weave together both prayer and planning?

Aim for 50/50. You can have the balance of 50% prayer and 50% planning in your meetings.

You may not alway hit the mark, but that should be the goal. The key, though, is on how to effectively implement it.

Don't do it in one chunk!

Rather, start and stop.

When a care is shared, a ministry challenge is expressed or a concern about a particular issue is discussed - stop the discussion and pray.

Ask the person who owns that issue to pray about it.

When you weave prayer throughout the fabric of the meeting, it will allow you and your team to experience prayer in a whole new way. Prayer and Planning won't just remain two disjointed parts but rather they will be intimately wed together as the important whole they are meant to be.