In this week’s episode, Matt & I talked about the importance of learning to run good core team meetings (or staff meetings if you’re church is already established). As a church planter you only get so much time with your core team, so you need to make the most of it! And let’s be honest, church planters… we aren’t historically the most organized people in the world!

The good news is that you don’t have to keep wasting time with unorganized team meetings. Listen to this week’s episode and read below for the 5 Practices To Help You Run An Effective Meeting.

1 – Prepare ahead of time

This may seem obvious to some, but I can’t tell you how many times I tried to “wing it” when we first started meeting as a core team. I get it. You’re busy. There’s a LOT to do. You are wearing 17 different hats at once.

And you think you are pretty good at “winging it”. After all, you’re a church planter.

But this time with your core team is too precious not to prepare for. In fact, your lack of preparation actually communicates nonverbally to your team that you don’t really think it’s really as important as you say it is.

Your first step towards effective team meetings is to simply take some time in the days leading up to think through what you want to talk about.

It can be as simple as jotting down a little 5 point agenda on a notepad. Or maybe you’ll find it helpful to create an outline on a Word document and print a copy out for each person at the meeting.

Either way, you need to be prepared!

2 – Stick To The Agenda

This one can be personally challenging for me at times. It’s very easy to go off on a rabbit trail and spend half of your meeting time stuck on a specific topic without really getting anything done.

While you shouldn’t be dominating the conversation (we’ll talk about that in #3), it is your responsibility to officiate the meeting. That means gently guiding the conversation in the direction it needs to go.

If a question gets brought up that’s going to take you way off of your agenda and it’s not a question that can quickly & easily be answered, it’s completely OK to say something like, “That’s a great question and it’s one I think we need to address. Let’s get to the next item on our agenda and we’ll try to leave some room at the end of the meeting to address it.”

3 – Delegate Responsibility

If you are talking for 90% of your core team meeting, you’re doing it wrong! First of all, there’s no reason you should have to take on that much burden. Secondly, nobody is that important that they should dominate that much of the conversation.

You have a team for a reason. Let them contribute! Some of the best ideas we’ve had as a church have come from other people on our team as we’ve been talking in a group format.

These meetings are a great opportunity for potential and emerging leaders to blossom and develop, as well.

Pose questions to your team and then let them kick it around! It’s highly likely that they may solve a problem you’ve been stumped with for a week in a matter of minutes.

4 – Spend Significant Time In Prayer

Obviously, these 5 Practices are not in order of importance. Praying together is the most important thing you can do as a core team. Unfortunately, what often happens is that prayer gets a cursory 5 minute allotment either at the beginning or the end of the meeting.

I don’t think there’s any serious Christian who would say they believe this, but when this happens a leader is essentially communicating to the team that there’s too much important business to get to to spend much time in prayer. How backwards!

If anything, more time should be spent in prayer when you are overwhelmed with pressing matters.

Paul Miller, in his book A Praying Life, which I highly recommend, says this:

“If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life… Time in prayer makes you even more dependent on God because you don’t have as much time to get things done. Every minute spent in prayer is one less minute where you can be doing something ‘productive.’”

If you teach your core team anything, teach them that apart from Jesus, they can do nothing of significance for the Kingdom of God (John 15:5).

Setting aside a significant portion of your meeting time (at least 25%) will say this much more loudly than you can with your lips.

5 – Spend Time Training, Not Just Talking

This is probably the one that church planters struggle with the most. It’s rare for me to run across examples of core team or staff meetings where actual training is happening.

And by “training” I do not mean a PowerPoint slide show where you deliver a lecture. By “training” I mean you actually give your team something to do, something to practice.

For example, if you want your church to have a culture of evangelism, one of the quickest ways to get there is to model it for your core team and then create time for them to actually practice during your meetings.

If you are using the 3 Circles as your Gospel sharing tool, you may take time out of your meeting to have your team pair up and practice.

During our early days as a core team, we would actually go out into the community together and share the Gospel. We call it “Harvest Time” and it helped create a culture at our church where it is normal for people to share the Gospel.

Nowadays, we have a weekly, scheduled time where we go out as a church to share the Gospel. It’s a part of our weekly rhythm.

Put It Into Practice

Implementing these five practices will go a long way towards improving the effectiveness of your core team or staff meetings. I’d love to hear any feedback or questions you have. You can send them my way by clicking the “Contact” button above!