Once the COVID-19 crisis is behind us, I am convinced that more will remain the same than change in congregational life. People have gathered to worship, study, and support each other for centuries in the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and other religious traditions. Congregations have continued their core practices through pandemics, depressions, and wars. After each time of travail, more stayed the same than changed. History tells us to be careful when predicting cosmic change for congregations, even with something as huge as COVID.
Is your board members’ time well spent? Ask them! If your board is like many others, you’ll tap into a deeper well of dissatisfaction than most leaders suspect.
An organization director I once worked with was asked, “What do you do?” He replied, “I attend meetings.” Sadly, this was true. The “meetings and meetings-about-meetings” culture was pervasive in that director’s organization. Once while sitting in a meeting with people flown in from around the country, I started estimating the travel and staff time expenses for the people sitting around the conference table. I asked myself, “Are the results of this meeting worth the thousands of dollars it took to gather for it?” I didn’t have to wait until the end of the meeting to come to my conclusion: No.
Most congregations have at least one jerk. You know who I mean—the one who takes up far more than one person’s share of time and energy and leaves the group feeling discouraged, disempowered, and exhausted. How can you be sure it isn’t you?
by Dan Hotchkiss If you dread meetings, don’t despair! Four key questions can help almost any meeting to be better focused, more satisfying and productive. You can ask these questions in advance—or you can ask them shortly after the meeting has begun. Here are the four questions: 1. What is the purpose of this meeting? …
Nearly every congregation has a hushed story about one. That “awful meeting” in which participants said terrible things, relationships were shattered, and permanent scars resulted. In their 1999 study of “Breakaway Organizations,” Dyck and Stark found that a “polarizing event” (usually a painful congregational meeting) was almost always the precipitating factor for a congregational schism and the departure of members.
by John Wimberly
When a congregational board sits down to make decisions, what if we think a bit differently about the participants? Let’s forget their names for a moment and view them as individuals who view the world from the perspective of the sub-cultures in which they work and live. Instead of recognizing Jane to speak, we would think to ourselves, “Let’s hear a word from the lawyer.” As the discussion progressed, we would hear from the plumber, academic, farmer, medical doctor and school teacher. read more …