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Rhythms of Ministry Team Meetings

Consistent and productive meetings amongst teams are essential to a healthy and thriving church.

By Ceeja Malmkar, Associate Pastor, Surrey Hills, OK

Leading a church is a unique blend of managing tasks and nurturing relationships alongside Jesus. For a church to thrive, its teams need to thrive. It sometimes feels like juggling as we try to strike a healthy balance between staying connected, being organized, and moving forward in healthy time frames. Establishing a rhythm for meetings and integration for our ministry teams can make all the difference.

One of the healthiest components of a healthy team is the beautiful gift of empowering others. We were never meant to do ministry alone. Ministry is a gift that Jesus invites us to participate in with him, and he gave us the most beautiful examples of how we are to participate in ministry with each other. We are called to be in relationship, doing life together, and participating in ministry together. We need to be inviting others in to “have a seat at the table” with our teams if we want to see our teams grow and become healthy and thriving.

Inviting people to serve on our teams is wonderful, but they aren’t just worker bees. They have ideas, gifts, and passions that we may be unaware of. It’s vital to give them the opportunity to share with us. This is why consistent meetings amongst teams are essential to a healthy and thriving church. Consistency is key.

Regular meetings are the backbone of any well-functioning team. Creating a space for people to grow and flourish in ministry starts with regular meetings. Whether you meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, having a set schedule helps everyone stay on track and plan ahead. It builds a rhythm that keeps the team in sync and focused on both immediate and long-term goals. I truly believe that any team will struggle to thrive if they are not intentionally meeting at least once a month.

Now, that dang word “meetings.” Most of our teams are made up of volunteers, and we can easily feel guilty asking people to donate more time to spend in a meeting. As an entrepreneur, I completely understand the importance and value of time. This is why having consistent meetings is so important. If we want to love and honor our volunteers well, we need to be engaging them and creating space for them. If we are only asking our volunteers to be “worker bees” without engaging them, learning from them, discovering their passions and talents, or giving them space to voice their opinions and ideas, we will likely not keep those volunteers long.

Monthly meetings are imperative to moving our ministries forward in a healthy and thriving way. I always recommend having a set date every month. For example, the second Sunday of every month from 2-4 pm, or the third Thursday from 5-8 pm. You get the idea, but here’s the challenge…. following through. It doesn’t matter if half your team isn’t available for one month, have the meeting anyway. Have someone take notes of key points and send them out to the entire team afterwords. Many teams never gain momentum because of meetings getting postponed or cancelled due to conflicting schedules. We have to keep moving because the Holy Spirit is always moving, and he is inviting us on an incredible adventure. I have found that when we have productive and consistent meetings, team members want to show up to the next one!

An important thing to keep in mind is that meetings don’t have to be around a table with a power point and key speaker. In fact, I don’t recommend that. This is church ministry, not business development.

Have an agenda: Every effective meeting starts with an agenda. This is something that your team can speak into, but knowing what to expect at meetings is important for all team members and is helpful for staying on task. Meeting agendas can look different for different people, but I recommend opening in prayer and celebrating everything that God has done since the previous meeting. We celebrate our wins, and then we discuss the “gotchas” of things to work on. Reviewing the calendar a couple months ahead is vital to staying on task and is a great way for the team to be accountable, so we don’t drop the ball on upcoming things we need to be talking about (especially as teams become closer in relationship and more chatty).

Relationship building is a priority: Healthy Church is all about relationships. Spending time together in casual hangouts, small groups, dinners, or even work parties to help with tasks all help build trust and understanding in a team. Knowing each other’s strengths and quirks makes for a stronger, more cohesive team during meetings.

Encourage open and honest communication: Team members should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. Transparency helps resolve and even helps avoid many conflicts. Part of team-based ministry is leading ministries as a team. Teams are meant to make decisions together, fostering a culture of mutual respect and feedback. Leaders pulling their “I’m in charge card” doesn’t usually work in anyone’s favor. Volunteers don’t “work for” their leaders, they are there to serve Jesus. We won’t know how our teams feel unless we ask them, and we should be open to hearing the answers, even if we don’t like what we hear. Open and honest communication helps people feel valued and trusted, and it enables you to tap into each member’s strengths and ensures everything gets done without overburdening anyone.

Roles should be defined: Everyone should know their role and why it’s important. Everyone should also be able to have freedom to grow in their role and have a voice. Just because the last person in that role did something a certain way, doesn’t mean the next person should do the same. This is why making sure everyone feels empowered in their role is vital to healthy ministry teams.

When it comes to ministry teams, all teams should be in tune with the church family. As our churches grow, different team members will grow relationally with different people in the congregation. This is a beautiful thing and is so critical in keeping the congregation updated about activities and vision for the church, and it promotes transparency between leadership and the rest of the church family. Encouraging feedback from church members helps align team decisions with the needs and desires of the congregation.

For a church to flourish, its ministry teams need to find healthy rhythms that work for them. By prioritizing consistent meetings, building strong relationships, and balancing tasks with a team-based approach, we begin to move towards becoming healthy and thriving congregations.

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