Meetings. We typically don’t like them. In fact, most of us hate them. This is true for many reasons. I’ve blogged about this before.

At The Well we’ve been on a journey to figure out how to best form our meet time so that our time is well spent. I’ll be honest, I’ve gone back and forth between loathing out meetings and loving our meetings. Since we’re working in an atypical model with two part-time paid pastors, its a little more difficult to manage expectations and responsibilities and maintain communication as a team. Right now we’re only able to meet once a month so our time together needs to be well spent.

In the past we’ve struggled with a number of things. The biggest struggle is that we end up talking about talking about logistical stuff too much and ministry too little. Or, sometimes we totally ignore the organizational / logistical stuff and we end up not supporting the mission well.

So, we’re out to change that. We’ve actually implemented a new agenda that has worked really great. We’ve working out the kinks of making it work but I wanted to share our approach because I think it might be valuable for others to look at and adapt to their setting.

Here’s how we roll…

#1 Updates: 40 Minutes (5 minutes per person)
Each person comes ready to share/report on anything that he/she has been involved in or working on. This is a chance for each person to bring up issues, thoughts and ideas they are currently working on that need to be reported or clarified. This helps us get a good overview of what each other is up to. Far too often great things are going on that we don’t know about.

#2 Items for future discussion from Updates session
In this section we address any items from the first session that needed further clarification or discussion. If we have too many things to talk about, we will decide which ones can wait till later and which ones are important to deal with now. If any of these topics can be dealt with by just a few of us in an outside meeting, we table the topic for the meeting and let them work through it themselves.

#3. Main Agenda Items:
Here we deal with any big thoughts, issues, questions around the issue of our mission and community.

#4 Encouragement / Prayer:
We close our meeting out with some time of general encouragement and prayer for each other.

Also, in our meeting we have three important roles:
1. Discussion Facilitator (this person will make sure we stay on task)
2. Time keeper (this person will make sure we stay on time)
3. Note taker (this person will record the important parts of the discussion)

Without being intentional about these three things, we’d never be able to get through the agenda.

What is great about this approach is that it provides accountability to each other, helps our communication and gives a sense of empowerment to the individual. We have a sort of revolving power approach to our team. This means that just because I am the Lead Pastor doesn’t mean that I get the final say on everything. The person who gets the “power” to make decisions really depends on what the issue / project is. If its about locality and community development, we trust Gary to make the call. If its about facilities, we trust another team member to make the call. If its about children and families, we trust our children’s person to make the call.

Of course, there is conversation and check in on these decisions and we all have the right to ask each other hard questions about our decisions. But, the members of our team are all gifted people who we really trust have the best interest of the community in mind. (This approach of “revolving power” is written about well in chapter 6 of Joe Myers’ book, Organic Community).

All that said, what is obviously essential to any of this working is trust. Without trust, no matter how organized and well structured your meetings are you will get nothing done. Trust. Trust. Trust. Easier said then done. When trust gets broken, its essential to find a way to work things out and begin re-growing it…

If you are part of a leadership team, what do you do? How does your approach differ? Do you have any thing that works really well for you?