How to structure staff meetings

By Paul Clark

Many churches struggle to find a staff meeting structure that can accomplish their primary goals of communication, planning and connecting.  Our current structure allows for all three.  Here’s how it breaks down:

Community and prayer time: We gather at 9 a.m. for coffee/donuts/bagels and for about 30 minutes, the entire staff of admins, support personnel, etc. connect with each other on a personal level. This helps us stay relational and speaks to the high value we place on community.

After about 30 minutes, David Smith, our senior pastor, leads us in a season of prayer. He’s very creative in how he does that: for instance we recently broke up into groups and went to various areas of the church to pray for the ministries that were starting that particular week. Although we pray about crisis situations in individuals’ lives, we generally try to keep it ministry-focused. It’s always a meaningful time.

Pastors and directors staff meeting: We dismiss the admins and support personnel and just the P&D staff remain. Recently, I have been leading the staff meetings. We use an agenda composed around three “Ds.”

Decision: (What decisions have been made that need to be communicated?) We communicate decisions that have been made at the executive team or governing board level regarding events, policies, calendar, ministries, etc. It’s a time to make sure the staff is informed about the decisions that have been made which will impact them in some way.

Direction: (What direction does the staff need in order to execute their ministries and meet expectations?) We communicate directions that help staff execute their ministries. Examples would be instructions regarding adapting ministries to our construction project, direction regarding implementing  Fellowship One in the ministries, and directions for how to answer questions about some major church issue.

Discussion: (What do we need to discuss with the staff in order to get their ideas, input and buy-in?) We open the floor to discuss issue for which we need input and ideas. We use this time to get staff ideas, allow them to be involved in processing an issue under consideration, and get them to think through an issue and its impact on their own ministry. Some examples would be considering video venues, topics for the fall spiritual growth series, how to act like a church of 6,000 (we’re only 4,000), etc.

I also include on the agenda a list of important dates coming in the next few months, and a financial section so that the staff can see, and I can explain, the context for understanding weekly giving.  The meeting lasts 30-60 minutes, depending on the agenda.

Paul Clark  is executive pastor of operations at Fairhaven Church, Centerville, OH.


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