“When the pastor ceases to be a shepherd, what will happen to the sheep?”
Warren W. Wiersbe
As many of you are well aware, being an under-shepherd of a local body of believers is more than just preaching on Sundays. There are people to visit, cards to write, leaders to train, classes to teach, bulletins to approve (and in some cases, print and fold). There’s a great deal of activities that take occur in the course of an under- shepherd’s week. But out of all of the activities that a pastor does, there is one that I hear the most complaining about; meetings.
An individual once cleverly quipped that “meetings are a place where minutes are taken and hours are lost” [Tweet this] While this is a common complaint among pastors and church leaders, it doesn’t change the reality that meetings are a necessary part of leading. As the Wiersbe quote at the top of this post correctly points out, the pastor must be a shepherd and the shepherd always leads his sheep and meetings are usually the times that a pastor is given to express the direction that God is leading.
So, with meetings being a necessary part of the pastoral ministry, how can we lead those meetings more effectively?
Well, I believe that if pastors/church leaders want to turn their meetings into an effective and energizing momentum builder instead of a draining downer they should begin doing these four things:
- Drown Your Ideas Before Someone Else Has the Chance Every new idea has holes in it and someone is going to discover those holes unless you do it first [Tweet this]. By critiquing the positives and negatives of your idea before a meeting takes place, you’re able to easily address concerns in the midst of a pitch. If you have a hard time seeing the negatives of your plan, ask someone you trust to weigh in on it. Discussing the details of a new ministry or initiative is an essential part of the process but, if you pitch an idea and you haven’t fully considered the various implications of it, then it’s going to look half-baked. Also, never come to a meeting thinking that your ideas are always the best thing since sliced bread or you’ll, eventually, end up being toasted.
- Know what you’re talking about before you start talking.Too many people walk into a meeting with a theory and no substantive evidence to back up that theory. The only thing you are going to gain from walking into a meeting like that is a greater amount of distrust toward your leadership ability. You don’t have to have all the answers but if you don’t have any of them, then you’re probably going to get shot down. If you don’t know, then don’t speak [Tweet this].
- Study You’re AudienceThis is the area that most leaders get tripped up. If you don’t know your audience, then you’re hindering your leadership [Tweet this]. You need to consider the angle that your stronger/more vocal leaders are going to interpret “the plan”. By considering their typical demeanor or concerns about various topics you can address those things at the forefront of a pitch. For example, a lay-leader that has a tender heart for the older generations in the organization needs to know how this “new idea” will affect them, positively or negatively. A leader who has a passion for evangelism or outreach will want to know how it ties into the outreach efforts of the church. Each leader has their own personal bias and when you can show them how everything fits together on the front end, there is less room for them to believe that you are merely pacifying their particular passion.
- Build an Alliance Before Coming to the TableOne of the most valuable things that you can do before pitching an idea is to have one or two people already onboard prior to the meeting. Putting these people in place doesn’t mean that they’re blind followers. But having people that have been in the organization longer than yourself already onboard, allows you to ride on their credibility and influence. It shows your team that someone from among them has already weighed the various implications of a decision or direction and bought into the idea. This, in most cases, will motivate them to give “the plan” a try. Sometimes, allowing another leader to make the pitch adds, even more, weight to the potential direction. This also shows the other leaders that you are ok with someone else “getting the credit” for a successful ministry opportunity.
These are just a few ways that I prepare for my meetings. I’d love to hear the ways that you prepare for yours. Drop a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!