Many people underestimate the necessity of having meetings—especially in tech teams! Probably one of the key reasons for this that we simply don’t know how to have an effective meeting or even what an effective meeting is. Is it a time to just sit around, drink coffee and shoot the breeze? Should we follow Robert’s Rules of Order? Will it take 8 hours? Why do I always have to bring the donuts? Do I need to wear my lucky socks? All these questions (okay, maybe not all of them) are valid, and in 25 years of being in technical ministry we’ve been through and even run our share of meetings. And for many of those years we felt the same way. Meetings didn’t accomplish much and were mostly a waste of time. A lot of words were being said, but nothing of much merit was being communicated.
Here is a really practical “Quick Start” guide to having effective general tech team meetings!
1. Plan ahead
Don’t spring a meeting on folks. Give some notice and put out regular emails and reminders. Follow up one on one with those who will be attending. Put it in the church bulletin or calendar and plan a time when it’s easy for folks to meet. Perhaps Sunday afternoon once a month the team and families all get together for a dinner at the church, and then the team meets from 3-5 before church. Whatever you choose make it something easy for folks to remember. The more convenient the better.
2. Have an Agenda
This may seem basic, but if you don’t know where you are going how in the world will you even know when you get there? It’s worth the extra effort to type up agenda and email it to the whole group. Ask them if they have any topics they would like to add to this list. This allows everybody to be prepared with data, research, facts and figures before they get to the meeting. Yes, it’s even ok to assign research topics and ask folks to be prepared for the the meeting. Don’t just expect it to “happen” because it won’t.
3. Have the Right People There
Who needs to be there? Obviously the tech team, but consider inviting the music pastor, the children’s director or the pastor as well. This gives them an opportunity to bring things to the group from their area of ministry and it goes a long way in the “PR” world. Make certain those who should be there are invited. Occasionally this can be a great time for folks who have legitimate concerns to have a forum. Invite them to a meeting where they can share their concerns with the group. Many times this will weed out the complainers from those who really have legitimate concerns! Respect them, listen to them and then as a group put your heads together to find solutions.
4. Put a Time Limit on It
This allows folks to really know how much time they will need to spend so they can plan it into their busy lives. And if you have a time limit, be sure to end on time.
5. Keep the Lord in your Meeting
Keep the big picture in mind. Sometimes church meetings just seem to be about a lot of things except the whole reason we are a part of a local church! Meetings need to be opened with prayer and closed the same way! Don’t forget why you are serving and Whom you are serving.
6. Require Respect During the Meeting
Generate some guideline about texting, emailing, or other actions not related to the meeting (except, of course, surfing the Ministry Tech website). Gadgets should be silenced during the meeting. Everyone’s attention should be on the meeting at hand.
7. Keep it on Track
Remember that agenda you wrote in step 1? Use it. Keep the meeting organized and moving; don’t get mired down on a topic. If a topic is only referring to a few or is something that is getting you bogged down, move on or suggest a “sub-meeting” with just those involved. But make sure to share the decisions and findings to the group via email or in the next meeting. If a hot topic arises, that causes people to get heated (we never have those in tech ministry do we?) be very cautious not to let feelings and personalities get involved.
8. Leave with Action Steps
I cannot tell you how many meetings I have attended or have even run where afterward we were all kinda wondering, “Ok, now what?” During the meeting assign action steps to people and give them dates and times to report back. Perhaps that would be at the next meeting, or if needed sooner, have them send out a group email.
9. Record Meeting Notes
Assign someone to keep good notes of the meeting and then email them out to the attendees at the conclusion of the meeting asking if everyone agrees with these or if something got missed or misinterpreted. Remind everyone of actions steps here too. At the start of the next meeting briefly go over the meeting notes from the last time.
This is by no means a master’s level class in “Meetingology,” but we don’t need to overcomplicate our meetings! Well planned-out meetings go more quickly and are more effective than just sitting around talking about whatever comes to mind. We are not serving our team members or ultimately our church body when meetings are not accomplished in an effective manner. Will you be an expert the first time you have a meeting like this? Most likely not, but that’s okay. Stay after it, and you will notice a difference as you grow in this area.