I have never been fearful of scary movies or sharks or clowns or any of the typical phobias many people have. Unless you're talking about snakes. Snakes don't count. The devil was a snake. We should all run from snakes!
While I am not afraid of much, one thing always struck terror in my heart when I was young: Parent-Teacher Conferences.
When I saw those meetings on the calendar, my heart was seized with horror. I just started apologizing to my parents weeks before they even suffered the disappointment of those meetings!
My theory is most people loathe meetings as adults because of nightmarish parent-teacher conferences!
Seeing a staff meeting or board meeting on your calendar may strike a childlike terror in you as an adult.
One reason many church leaders hate meetings is because they're meeting about the wrong things.
Most church meetings are designed to maintain what is instead of move forward to what could be.
I want you to introduce four meetings to your team that will help you look ahead, keep you fresh and spur your ministry toward innovation.
1. Technology Meeting
Netflix is nearing 100 million subscribers.
YouTube has 1 billion viewers each month.
42 million Americans listen to podcasts weekly, five times more than go to movies.
How people consume information and ignite relationships has evolved drastically in the last 5 years. Most local churches look exactly the same as they did 5 years ago. That's bad stewardship of the gospel.
A meeting church teams need is one to explore how to leverage technology in a better way. How do we reach people who don't make it to church every week via social media? How do we do digital discipleship? Is there a way to leverage technology to help the weekend message live on during the week?
2. Next Generation Meeting
Millennials are the largest living generation in the U.S. at 79.8 million.
The Millennial generation is expected to continue growing until 2036 due to immigration.
These statistics should shape how the local church should look and feel. Ministries should evolve to reach the generations to come rather than guard the preferences of the generations that have come before. Honor what was by building for what could be. Worship experiences should be interesting to a high school student, and community should be aware of the needs of recent college grads. Church missions must nod towards social causes that are easy to engage in for the next generation.
Actively engage in a meeting focused on the next generation. Wrestle through questions like: How does kids ministry create a desire for kids to want to come to church? What are the needs of the students in our city and how is it informing our weekend worship experience? Does student ministry belong in the church building or in a high school auditorium? How does the idea of "family" reshape our structures of community?
3. Manliness Meeting
Can I be honest? It feels so awkward to type the phrase "manliness meeting"; let me explain. Most men hate going to church. Most churches are simply not designed with men in mind. Reaching men with the gospel will aggressively reshape families and culture. Sadly, even when churches focus on men, it is shaped by the perspective of men already in church rather than those in the community.
Have a meeting focused solely on how to create an environment that is appealing to men. Ask questions like: What makes attend church painful for men? At what point does a man hate standing and singing songs they don't know? Is humor intentional and natural in our sermons? Do we actually challenge people to act or just play on their emotions? Are the people on our platform the type person men actually want to follow?
4. Connectors Meeting
As a church staff member, it is easy to live and work in a bubble. That small world is shaped only by what is happening in church culture. Instead, church leaders need to engage in what is happening in their city's culture. The best way to do that is to connect with connectors. To know people who know people. Be in relationship with influencers.
Schedule what I call a "connector meeting." This is a gathering of people in your church who have influence or connection outside of your church. Ask questions like: Who do I need to know that I don't know yet? Who is someone under the radar that we will all be talking about a year from now? Is there anyone in our community who started a business two years ago that's doing well?
Schedule these meetings this week. Put it on your calendar! You will move closer to innovation and growth because of these meetings. And hopefully they are a lot less painful than those parent-teacher conferences!