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Whether we like it or not, “doing church” means meetings. Sure, many of us have too many meetings, but too few meetings can create a lack of communication. People are down on what they are not up on. So with any group, make sure your meetings have purpose and fulfill that purpose.
#1. Know where you are taking your team
Look ahead six to twelve months and determine what skills or character traits your team needs to strengthen in order to travel those months in a healthy, effective way. How does your team need to improve? Only you as the leader can lead, so where do you want to take the team over the next year? I usually start praying, inviting input from people, and planning for each year in October, well before I roll everything out in January. I set up a theme for each year that largely defines the overarching shape and direc-tion of weekly team meetings. For some examples of previous themes, see www.SmallGroups.net/theme
#2. Know what you want to accomplish
For leadership meetings at all levels, I use a framework that includes three components: devotional (spiritual, heart, vision), celebrational (team, individuals, rhythms), and practical (housekeeping, news, reminders, up-coming events). We always start with God’s Word. Our devotion time keeps our hearts in line and sets the tone for our meetings. I also request that team members take an active role in planning and leading our meetings. For instance, each member takes a week and creates a devotional based on his or her perspective of our annual theme. Devotionals can also include teachings related to our vision, or anything the Lord lays on our hearts. Our devotions are flexible in order to let the Lord lead. After our devotional time we move into celebration and acknowledgment. We recognize personal and group accomplishments—maybe a successful conference or a goal reached. We celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries to affirm each member’s importance. And we set a rhythm around regular annual events or seasons.
#3. Know why you are gathering
Your reason for gathering will help you answer many other questions. Is the meeting’s purpose worth what it costs in time and dollars (perhaps for salaries or other costs)? Does everything in the meeting keep the team focused on the main thing—due north? Does everything add value to what you are trying to accomplish? Nobody wants just another meeting, but a meeting with purpose is a game changer! Any meeting agenda can vary between highly structured to very loose, depending on the personality of the leader. Neither is wrong. The choice depends on the leader’s God-given wiring. But regardless of your personality type, you need to stay flexible. If you gravitate toward structure, be open for the agenda to change. If you gravitate toward a looser style, don’t “cop out” on prepping for the meeting or blame God if the meeting doesn’t go well. Don’t get hung up on doing things a certain way every time. Read the mood of the team and adapt as needed. Are you coming off a major church push, or are you in the dog days of summer? Is a team member on a high or going through a low? Practice the art of adjusting to the need of the moment.
To develop a strategic plan for your small group ministry, read my new book, “Planning Small Groups With Purpose.” Find it HERE