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Canadian-American Economist John Kenneth Galbraith said, “Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.” But if you've ever lost a game of phone tag, been on a paper chase, or fallen asleep waiting for an e-mail response, you know there are times when face-to-face meetings make sense! Read on for tips to help you get the most of a ministry team meeting.

Think outside the clock. Meetings don't have to be an hour long! It's okay to schedule a 20- or 40-minute meeting if that's all the time you'll need to accomplish your goals.  

Consider convenience and location. Find a time and day that makes it easiest for the most members to attend. Then choose a location that keeps things simple and suits the purpose of your meeting. Some teams find the best time to meet is before or after their Sunday school program, since most leaders are there anyway. Keep things casual by meeting at a home, connect in an office setting for a more businesslike tone, or build in some social time by getting together at a restaurant.

Be on time. Set a start time and an end time, then stick to it - whether everyone arrives on time or not!


Be prepared. Everyone should know the meeting's purpose before they arrive. If you're in charge of the meeting, e-mail an agenda a week in advance and ask recipients to reply with a "got it" so you know they received your e-mail. (Tip: List the meeting goal on your agenda and note which items require a decision, a plan of action, or simply a discussion.) If you're attending the meeting, read the agenda and think about the topics before you get there.

Take 5. A Sunday school team can be its own small group, so be sure to build some connecting time into your meeting. Take five minutes to go around the table and share what's happening in your lives then "stop, drop, and pray" together. (Tip: One leader we know sends out an e-mail each Monday asking team members for prayer requests the rest of the team can pray for in the coming week.)

Worth noting. Be sure someone takes notes and types 'em up. (Skip a step by bringing in a laptop). E-mail everyone with a copy as soon as possible while memories are fresh.

We digress. When a conversation goes off topic, don't wait too long to get it back on track or you'll veer into overtime before you know it! Say something like, "Those are good points, but let's stick to today's topic. We can plan a separate meeting or I can connect with you later about it."

Summarize. Before the meeting ends, review what was just accomplished to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Just because a face-to-face meeting may be necessary to take care of business doesn't mean it has to be boring. Follow the above tips (and maybe mix in a few donuts) for meetings where things get done and people have fun!

Tip: Make it a goal to meet with team members for five minutes BEFORE your program begins each week. It's a great opportunity to connect with each other and with God together.

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