Leaders can kill ongoing leadership meetings without even trying! Unfortunately, some of the things listed below come from experience. These are not badges worn with pride, but rather lessons learned the hard way. They are shared with the hope that you will not make the same mistakes. The mistakes have been categorized into three major groupings.
Unknowingly communicating that the meeting is not important
- Wing it. The leaders in the meeting know when you are on autopilot (some of them have been on autopilot too).
- Start late. Nothing screams “unimportant” like starting late.
- Serve leftover snacks. Serving leftovers only communicates that the leaders don’t deserve the best. (And they will find out they had leftovers, no matter how hard you try to hide it.)
- Cancel meetings. There are some things that can’t be avoided, but getting in the habit of canceling regular meetings will eventually kill the meetings.
- Show no enthusiasm. If you are not excited about what you are doing, don’t expect them to be either.
Poor meeting skills
- Do all the talking. It is funny how we complain about teachers who only lecture, then we turn around and lecture!
- Read from your notes. It’s great to have notes, just don’t read them word for word.
- PowerPoint-dependent. The leaders are there to be trained and led by YOU, not your media screen.
Having a misguided purpose for meeting
- Complain. Leaders are there to be encouraged, challenged, and improve. These meetings are not about your pet peeves.
- Pour on the Syrup. Leaders know what is working well and what is not. In fact, they probably know better than you do.
- Preach. The regular leadership meeting is not another preaching service. Confusing the two will be a surefire way of killing future meetings.
- Only Preview the Lesson(s). There are enough resources available to help people prepare a lesson. Too often, we do this because we either think our leaders are incapable (we become an enabler for those who are too lazy to study) or because we want to control the actual words shared.
- Make it a distribution point for forms and study notes. If the information can be sent as an email, then send it so you can focus on something more important.
- Focus only on what makes the organization better. The people there want the church to succeed, but they are really interested in being a part of that success. This meeting is about them succeeding.
We get confused sometimes and think leadership meetings are about the organization and helping the church (and us) accomplish the task (code for reaching my goals). Think about what an effective, challenging meeting could mean to the leaders. They get encouraged in their work (it isn’t always easy on the front lines). They hear how others are making it happen in their group (iron sharpening iron). They get fed (they spend most of their time feeding others). They get prayed for (they usually are the one praying for their group). They feel connected (we are in this together). They want to get better at what they do (doing it better than the last time is a great motivator). They can own the solution (how can WE make this work in our church). If you focus on these things and invest in the lives of the leaders, you will see ongoing leadership meetings become a tool for fulfilling your call as a leader.
G. Dwayne McCrary is a Project Team Leader at LifeWay and teaches a Sunday School class in the church he and his family attend. Before coming to LifeWay, he served on church staffs mostly in Texas. He has seen both the good and the bad of regular leadership meetings from both sides of the podium.