FIRST-PERSON: Can't wait for that committee meeting!

Tags: committees

PENSACOLA, Fla. (BP) -- Meetings get a bad rap.

If you're the leader of any church team or group, you can change that.

Being on a church committee should be a pleasure, not a punishment. Ask God to help you prepare well, lead with excellence and inspire your team to impact eternity.

Consider these simple tips for effective committee meetings.

1. Realize the value of teamwork. Sure, you could do most of the work yourself, but when each part of the "body of Christ" functions (1 Corinthians 12:12), ministry is multiplied. Share the load and share the blessing.

2. Schedule well. Find a meeting day and time to fit members' personal schedules. Print the year's meeting schedule. One team may meet the third Thursday each month from 6:30-7:15 p.m. Another may meet seasonally or quarterly. An occasional e-meeting, phone poll or 10-minute meeting after worship may be appropriate. Be strategic.

3. Print an agenda. This is critical to leading a focused meeting. A simple agenda helps to accomplish goals and keep the meeting on track. Send the agenda along with meeting reminder so members have time to ponder and pray.

4. Prepare well. Ponder the words of Colossians 3:23-24 that our work should be "from the heart, as something done for the Lord." Never be haphazard in preparation. Pray for God's direction. Anticipate needed support information, such as the church or community calendar or membership listing.

5. Check attendance. Demonstrate that you value attendance by using a sign-in sheet at every meeting. Arrive before others to set up the meeting area, then greet members and enjoy fellowship as they arrive.

6. Begin exactly on time. Call the meeting to order precisely on time. Consistently show that you value their time. The meeting isn't rushed; it's focused. Every minute counts. Never chase rabbits. Most meetings should last an hour or less.

7. Lead well. Cast a God-sized vision. Stick to your agenda and make God-honoring decisions together. Work wholeheartedly. Accomplish. Foster unity. Know the scope of your assignment. Meet with the pastor to understand how it fits with the church's overall ministry and mission.

8. Make assignments. Shared responsibility increases enthusiasm and effectiveness. Know team members' strengths, interests and spiritual gifts. Value their input. Make individual assignments for needed action items or research items, and report back next meeting.

9. Have fun. Though your assignment may be serious or tedious, your team can experience joy as they serve. An upbeat attitude of joyful service to God is contagious.

10. Consider eternity. All church teams ultimately affect your church's evangelism and ministry, whether it's the kitchen or the budget committee, Bible class, community outreach, building maintenance, Vacation Bible School, women's ministry, etc. Take it seriously. Impact eternity.

11. Conclude on time. Once you've completed the agenda, summarize the day's accomplishments and assignments, then pray and dismiss the meeting. Early dismissal is fine; late is not. Show that you value their time by dismissing on time, every meeting.

12. Report. Immediately after a meeting, send a brief summary to your pastor or staff liaison. Celebrate accomplishments.

Miracles can happen in and through committee meetings. You might even overhear a team member saying, "I can't wait until the next time we meet again!"

Diana Davis, online at www.dianadavis.org, and her daughter Autumn Wall are the coauthors of "Across the Street and Around the World" (New Hope Publishers), a resource for missions ideas for churches, small groups and individuals.
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