Because it is a meeting of members of a community of faith, a church business meeting is much more than the routine. It is an occasion for worship as well as a regular opportunity to build unity among the congregation. A structure for your meetings helps to accomplish these goals, as well as the meeting purpose with as little pain as possible for the participants.
A church business meeting is first and foremost a way for church members to solve problems, share ideas and grow in faith in a safe and productive atmosphere. Therefore it is important that attendees understand the concept of consensus. "Majority rules" has little relevance for a church meeting. Decisions should be made by consensus. Consensus does not mean that everyone agrees with the decision. It means that every person can wholeheartedly support the decision that the group makes. The willingness to compromise and listen to alternate views is essential in reaching consensus.
- Distribute an agenda prior to the meeting.
- Start each meeting with a prayer.
- Follow with a reminder of the purpose of the meeting. Refer to the agenda.
- Attendance is taken. Having a signature sheet saves time at the meeting and for the person who is taking the minutes.
- Minutes (circulate them prior to the meeting) are accepted, with or without corrections, additions or deletions.
- There should be a treasurer's report.
- Committee reports follow. These should be written and submitted to the person taking the minutes. They should be very brief. If the committee has a recommendation, it becomes a motion. At this point, the meeting chair restates the motion, opens it up for discussion, and then calls for consensus. The group may accept the decision with or without amendment, or refer it back to the committee for further study.
- If a committee does not have a report, then the committee leader should simply state that, and move on. He should not try to make a report on the fly, just for the sake of saying something.
- Next, consider old business. These are items that were not resolved at the previous meeting.
- Next, any new business may be brought before the group. These are issues to be resolved, pertaining to the whole church.
- The Pastor or Chair may make remarks, observations or announcements. Reiterate action items and schedule the next meeting.
- End your meeting with a prayer of thanksgiving and benediction, so that everyone leaves the church business meeting feeling uplifted and productive.