Church Business Meetings (part 1 of 3)

Most church business meetings are boring – at least the ones I’ve attended. They typically consist of three distinct areas:

  • Numbers: someone presents financial numbers (without giving too much detail lest the audience doze off) and someone else reads a list of people who have joined or left the church
  • Reports: occasionally there is a report about some area of the church and usually these reports are read aloud from the information which is in the packet handed out to all attendees
  • Decisions: sometimes there is an item or two on which church members will vote based on a two-minute presentation

Then the meeting ends, and members leave with very little new information about what is going on in their church. I propose a new format which contains much of the same information, but the presentation is completely different.

Numbers: Every business meeting should have the “nickels and noses” reports (how many people and how much money we’ve got). Financial information, which can be very dry, must be presented to the church in a more dynamic way – more on that in the reports blog (part 2).

  • Membership data should be treated with sensitivity. Most people never know what a church does until they actually experience it, good and bad. What if we told members ahead of time how they can expect to be treated? I can also imagine how members might share that knowledge with other people who have a negative impression of the church in general and sometimes your church specifically. Here are ways to change the membership report:

o   For those who leave the church due to death, the business meeting should pause so that the minister or volunteers talk about the ways the church ministers to the dying and their families. This helps those who are hearing the informatlon to know how their church helps families at some of the worst and hardest times.

o   For those who leave the church to go to another church, someone should talk about how the church reached out to these people to ask them why they left and then explain the reasons, even if the reasons are painful and personal.

o   For those who join the church, there should be a celebration and telling of their stories. New members who are willing could be interviewed at the business meeting so that everyone can get to know something about them. A standard set of “get-to-know-you” questions can be created and given to them ahead of time. Caution: new members must not be forced into doing this – it should be optional, not mandatory.

o   Finally, each new member should be paired with a same-gender long-time member for a year in order to guide the new person through the idiosyncrasies of the church. This pairing will help the new member be integrated to the church and help retain them.


Lead On!



  1. Brian Hennaman says

    This is a great idea Steve, as it advances the Kingdom – which every gathering of the Church should be mindful of – business or otherwise. This is loving people. Thank you.

  2. Keep up the great articles Steve! says

    Great ideas. I’m leaving my current church because they simply do not listen, have a committee for every four members, slow to change to meet the demographics around it, missing a living vision, think that replacing staff that are long overdue for movement for various reasons is a death sentence handed down and the church would be failing those affected staffers if the church did such an awful thing, and blah blah blah. They’re really nice people – they have the church niceties all down solid, but behind the scenes money, politics, and favoritism lie. As a church they’re missing the mark and the attendance reflects their future.

    I’m finding that people are giving God second hand left-overs compared to their oh-so-necessary jobs and personal satisfactions. They don’t take the time to practice well or prepare well in advance or show up on time ready to enthusiastically participate as if they are on fire for Jesus or something, and can barely get to church a couple times a month… (whew we sure are regular churchgoers – we show up twice a month! wowwwwwwww…)

    So your article just reflects in a different way the change needed. The problem – is anyone listening?