Meetings With an Afterlife

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.

Rules for Not Being a Jerk

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?

Want a Healthier Congregation? Start with Better Meetings

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.