Staff meetings in ministry contexts are very similar to staff meetings in other working environments. They can be boring or frustrating, or both. They can also be disjointed, amorphous, essentially unspiritual, and ineffective if they are not guided properly. So, is there a difference between a church staff meeting and a secular one? There should be. A meeting among Christians should be characterized by love, unity, focus, progress, and reliance on the Spirit. Very lofty ideals, right? Yet, we have all heard of church staff meetings that are just as difficult as secular ones. Here are a couple of thoughts on keeping the meeting kingdom-oriented.
First, you might need to expand the time set aside for the meeting. We doubled ours. We do need short, focused meetings occasionally. But the main one must have quantum time to relax, to connect, to be friends. It promotes patience, unity and honesty. Rushing through a tight or tense agenda does not promote the spiritual priorities of Christ among the leaders. And relationships between the leaders set the tone for relationships in the Body.
Second, try putting prayer at the front rather than the back. For years we “opened in prayer” with a quick appeal to the Lord to “bless the meeting.” Then, after the work was done (!) we’d have a longer time of prayer for the body. Problem was, we had no agenda for the prayer, and we were all looking at our watches, thinking of the next responsibility on our personal calendars. So, we promoted prayer to the first thing, praying through all the requests that came in the previous week by name, plus a significant chunk of our church phone directory. This takes about an hour! That is, an hour of prayer for cancer, divorce, trauma, wreckage and pain among our brothers and sisters, praying against the sin-matrix of the culture and for the spiritual life of the Body. The amazing thing is that after that hour of intercession our hearts were much more attuned to the spiritual issues in people’s lives rather than the logistical pressures of “running the church.” This ethos of pastoral care had a huge impact on our unity as we took a break and then re-convened for the logistical phase.
These two simple things changed the atmosphere of our staff meetings and helped us keep the kingdom priorities.