Are We Having Too Many Meetings?
In recent weeks I have heard a number of pastor friends bemoaning the fact that they seem to find themselves in endless rounds of meetings. Whether you are in ministry or business, meetings seem to be the bane of our existence...especially if they occur during those sacrosanct evening hours.
But why? Good things can come from meetings: decisions are made, dreams are shared, and goals are set forth and tracked. Meetings become problematic when they are burdensome, fail to "move the ball forward," and waste the collective time of too many people.
Which set me thinking: What are some signs we are having too many meetings?
The following are a few questions that I trust will help you assess the productivity of the meetings you are holding or attending.
- Are our meetings keeping us from the Main Thing? This, of course, assumes that your church or organization knows what the Main Thing is. And assuming you do, are your meetings helping or hindering in keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing?
For example, in church world, if we are keeping our members so busy running from committee meeting to committee meeting, when do they have time to develop relationships with those who need Jesus?
When did busyness become a sign of spiritual maturity?
In the game of football, huddles are necessary because the plays are relayed, shared with the team, and then run. Can you imagine having a huddle without running a play?
Churches do it all the time.
- Are meetings interfering with the Most Important Things? Many things in life are important, but aren't as important as family. Many of us understand that our homes feel like pit-stops where we duck in from time-to-time to re-energize and re-fuel, then we rush back out on the racetrack where we continue to go in circles.
At the end of our lives, I doubt any of us will wish we had attended more meetings. If meetings are coming between me and the good of my family, then something has to give. And I hope we chose our families over meetings - no matter how important the meeting might be.
I have found that when I have missed a meeting - whether accidentally or intentionally - that the world didn't in fact stop, and life moved merrily along.
- Are meetings losing their focus? It's so easy to hold meetings for the sake of holding meetings (“We always meet the third Thursday of every month between six and eight o’clock). We feel the need to stay "caught up" or to keep our fingers on the pulse.
If a meeting does not have a clear purpose, a focused agenda, and accountability to follow-up the former, that's a waste of time waiting to happen.
Leader, before you call your next meeting, you might first want to ask yourself these three questions. The answers will help with focus and the health of your people.
Am I holding meetings just for the sake of holding meetings?
Am I the best facilitator of most of my meetings or could someone else do a better job?