Making the most of our meetings

Anyone who has been involved in church life will know that a lot of time is devoted to meetings.

Given that so much or our shared time together is in one form of meeting or another it would make sense to make them as effective and enjoyable as possible.

The best place to start to improve the meeting experience is to decide why the meeting is being held, what kind of meeting it is and agree what the outcome of the meeting needs to be.

Formal

If the meeting is a formal or even a statutory one (e.g. a PCC meeting), then there will be a prescribed setup for the meeting that will need to be adhered to. This might relate to governing documents or standing orders and it is always important to refer to these and get well acquainted with them. There are often roles that relate to officer positions: chairperson, secretary, treasurer, etc. and responsibilities in the meeting may flow from these such as minute taking and financial reporting. The layout of the agenda, the timescales for calling meetings and the scope of business will be clearly defined in advance.

Informal

Often though meetings are informal and there is much more scope to shape things differently with the opportunity to employ different kinds of discussions and decision-making methods. Whether the meeting is formal or informal there really is no excuse for time-wasting - nor for meetings being boring or irrelevant!

Investing some time in training people so that they know what the different roles entail can make all the difference. The Chairperson can ensure the meeting flows, everyone is involved and that it stays on track and on time. The secretary or minute taker can record concisely the decisions and actions that can help things happen between meetings and make the next meeting worthwhile.

Helpful agendas, minutes and notes which require good preparation and post meeting consideration can make the meeting experience a positive and valuable one for all involved.

Indeed it should be the aim of all meetings to be enjoyable and even fun on occasion, as they are just another expression of our fellowship and a means by which we make real our mission in God's Kingdom.

If you need help with any aspect of your meeting experience - formal or informal - we have resources, advice and even a quick training course for you. 

Contact Colin Barson, Parish Development Officer.