Are Meetings Killing Your Ministry?

Kenny Jahng —  2011/12/19 — 5 Comments

As we have pushed forward into the information age, ministry has followed suit in many ways. . . ministry work has evolved so that it isn’t strictly about counseling, facilitating discipleship, teaching on a one-to-one or one-to-some basis. Sophistication in communication resources has allowed growth-oriented ministries to find themselves planning, producing & presenting more content, running more outreach programs, serving more people by collaborating in teams and more.

This has changed the daily routine of ministry work a bit for some.

Have you ever had meetings to plan volunteer training, or leadership lunches, or ministry team retreats?

I’m sure you have at some point, if its not already a regular occurrence in your work.

Are you aware that you’ve gotten to the point where you are meeting about meetings?

Today is a Monday, and it’s typically a meeting-heavy day here.  I already know not to schedule any meaningful calls or meetings with new people on Mondays because I’ll be consumed with various standing meetings.   In the end, Monday’s are not really a day where I “get work done.”  Have you ever felt the same thing?

How do you change this? At least for the people you manage and interact with?

Before you figure it out, here’s a great TED talk where Jason Fried discusses “Why work doesn’t happen at work?” to put it into context:

One of my colleagues at work, Rich Birch, has offered up this response:


The author, Al Pittampalli, is trying to dig one layer deeper than usual to figure out how to radically change our work habits around meeting and productivity.

Rich has arranged an opportunity for us to sit down internally with Al this coming January, and I’m excited to read his book, READ THIS BEFORE YOUR NEXT MEETING — and then interact with him to see how I can activate some of the insights for my own praxis in year ahead.

I definitely want to ramp up productivity in the next year, what about you?


QUESTION: Are you sick of meetings? What do you do *during* your inefficient meetings? Got any tips to make meetings radically useful to everyone that comes? Share your rant or tip below in the comments. I’m looking forward to hearing all of it!

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5 responses to Are Meetings Killing Your Ministry?

  1. killerchurch 2011/12/19 at 2:06 PM

    1) Clear meeting purpose (why are we getting together) . . . and also "commander's intent" . . . what are we trying to accomplish as an organization this season?
    2) Clear timeline . . . probably shorter than you think.
    3) Stop talking unless you are pushing towards our intent . . .

  2. Nice suggestions Rich. Your #2 above could be applicable to both the subject of most meetings as well as the meeting time itself. Don't you just love meetings that drag on beyond their originally scheduled timeframe?

  3. Too many meetings happen out of habit – when a quick conversation or email would suffice.
    I'm a fan of using stand-up meetings for my teams. We literally stand in a circle to discuss the intent of the meeting. This keep people focussed (hard to use a laptop while standing) and means the meeting goes quicker.

  4. My "favorites" are: 1) the meeting facilitator is unprepared 2) stated purpose of the meeting doesn't match the content 3) it's unclear what you want me to do with the old info that we just tossed around because action has not been requested (again) 4) lack of vision — people follow vision even in meetings.

  5. Al Pittampalli 2012/01/07 at 11:39 PM

    Most problems mentioned here come from a diffusion of responsibility, that meetings enable. Although the tactics are important, preparation, purpose, etc…the real answer is leadership. An individual willing to step up assume responsibility, and put themselves on the line.

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