Every church board faces hard choices at its meetings. Beginning with how to structure the meeting itself.
Choice One is to spend time…
…on the minutes from the previous meeting, correcting typos and the list of excused absences;
…making one board member uncomfortably read some mild piece they found an hour before because they were assigned the “devotional for the meeting;”
…hearing reports from parts of church or denominational life that have no relevance to the life of the congregation and no bearing on how to continue to form disciples for faith and action;
…reviewing the year-to-date budget and fielding questions on why the postage budget is running seven percent over;
…questioning committee reports that have already been drafted and reviewed by a really dedicated and competent subgroup of the board;
…delaying the start of an important discussion for five minutes while a few board members read the report that was emailed to them several days ago;
…allowing two or three board members to get into a conversation that no one else in the room cares about;
…spending thirty minutes revising a policy, while the discussion largely revolves around the fear of what could happen if;
…deploying time to lament (and complain about) the lack of volunteers for your programs.
You get the idea.
Or, Choice Two:
- Dedicate the first 40 minutes to reading and discussing a piece of scripture, or a complex idea or poem from another source.
- Wait until the sound in the room has quieted, and deepened, from this reflection, and only then turn to the agenda at hand.
- Spend an hour discussing where you see God active in your congregation, your community, and the world.
- Spend time praying together to equip yourselves for the discernment outlined in #3.
Every board has choices. Every meeting consists of active choices. Which of these choices sounds closer to the church Jesus wants us to be? How do you get there with your next meeting?