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Not sure what your feelings are towards meetings, but I used to hate them. It was because I’ve experienced some really bad ones. I’ve been a part of meetings that lasted for hours that could have been over in a few minutes. I’ve been to meetings only to be insulted and put down. I’ve been to meetings where arguments break out and everyone walks away feeling worst than they did when they walked in.
Chances are you have experienced a meeting that made you wonder, “Are they really necessary?”. You cringe every time a meeting appears on your agenda. You think of ways to get out of them, and if you can’t you secretly play Words With Friends with your coworker sitting across from you.
Unfortunately, meetings are important. Without meetings there wouldn’t be collaboration, challenges or growth in your ministry. You need meetings to inspire and send your team into the world ready to make an impact. To make meetings productive each person needs a takeaway. The takeaway tells the participants, this is why we met, this is why it’s important. Here are three of them:
- Action Steps: If you’ve ever walked out of a meeting wondering, “What’s next?” then it was probably a meeting not worth having. If there are ideas, dreams and goals shared then they need to be kept alive with action steps. Without action steps your ideas and hard work are forgotten, the collaboration was done in vain and it was a waste of your time. Make sure each action step is delegated to a person at the meeting so people walk away with purpose.
- Refreshed Vision: At each meeting the vision should be discussed at some level. At each meeting you need to ask, “Was the vision met?”, “How was the vision experienced?”, “Where is the vision lacking?” Doesn’t matter if it’s on curriculum or an event, having a vision, discussing it and making sure people walk away knowing it will help them see where this meeting is pointing them to go.
- Unity: Meetings will have tension; however, they are not meant to divide. That is why it’s important to start and end every meeting with prayer. It’s in Christ that we are united and it’s with Christ that we can come together despite the tension. You are allowed to disagree; however, if leadership makes a decision there needs to be trust. If you walk away from a meeting feeling a part from another person (even if you pray) be sure to follow up one on one to openly and honestly communicate.
There will be meetings when it’s purely social, when it’s time to just catch up; however, even those meetings have takeaways. If you are meeting with a friend your action step is to meet again, the vision is to grow together and you are united by your love for one another. Having a takeaway means making a meeting a step in your journey and not just a pointless event. Takeaways don’t naturally form, that’s why it’s important to ask, “What do I want them to know and do?” as you plan the agenda.
What other takeaways am I missing? Does every meeting have to have one?