Archive for ◊ March, 2014 ◊

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• Friday, March 07th, 2014

We had a meeting at church last night and no one showed up. Of course, the people who organized the meeting were there. And I went – mostly to be supportive of the organizers. Forty people were anticipated; five were in the room.

Disappointing? Yes. But who is really to blame?

It’s easy to fault the church members who were too lazy to get off their duffs and come to the meeting.

Or – it could be that the organizers didn’t promote it properly, didn’t remind people, had set too high expectations.

But I would argue that the real blame lays with the church itself – that is, the culture of the institution.

At many churches, there are simply too many meetings. Let me clarify: there are way too many unimportant meetings that leave the participants saying “why should I bother?”   And, worse, there are too many meetings that are an informational rehash of a dozen meetings that were held previously.

I’ve been in my church for more than 60 years and I have attended hundreds, even thousands, of meetings. I can attest that a good half of those meetings were unnecessary or “reinventing-the-wheel” gatherings.

If you’re the leadership of your church and you want people to come to meetings, you’d better be sure:

A. They truly are important meetings

B. That the meeting is not a repeat of a meeting held last week, last month or a year ago.

The ultimate answer is probably don’t have so many meetings. Between phone, e-mail, webinars and social media, it’s easier to make a congregational members aware of church issues than ever before. Why drag people out on a cold winter night (or if there’s something good on television) when alternative communications can be so effective?

Of course a church would not be a church without required various committee meetings and congregational meetings and so on. However, consider eliminating, combining or skipping some less significant gatherings.

Meetings are critical to get things done. However, there comes a saturation point when an organization can be perceived as disrespecting its member’s time so much, that the members turn away in frustration. The results: that which is truly important is never discussed because no one shows up at the meeting.