This the third part on church business meetings. In the first section I talked about how to make the membership reports more engaging; the second post was about church programs and reporting how they use their resources, both financial and people, to carry out the church’s vision. This post will be on church decision-making and voting.
Decisions: most decisions should be made at committee levels, since they have more time and information to get into the nuts and bolts of why a decision is necessary. For instance, financial decisions are the realm of the Finance Committee, decisions affecting the church’s staff are the responsibility of the Personnel Committee, etc. It is the duty of each committee to bring to the church a report (see part 2 in this blog series) detailing the actions and reasons. The committee can be asked questions, but the responsibility lies with the committee. If the church body at large disagrees with the committee, then the church body can vote to either replace the committee and/or overturn the committee’s action.
Decisions which affect the entire church body are the ones that should be intentionally brought before the entire church. This requires a lot of education of church members ahead of time. It usually means that information is shared at one meeting, time is built in for members to think about the decision and gain more knowledge, and then everyone comes back to a subsequent meeting for a vote. Asking members to show up at a meeting, get up to speed in 15 to 20 minutes and then vote is not reasonable. If a decision is important enough to be brought before the congregation, then it should be a deliberate decision and not a hasty one. Give people time and you’ll see the “wisdom of the crowds.”
Implementing all or parts of these recommendations will make church business meetings flow more smoothly, be more enjoyable, and lead to better actions by the church. Try to do one of these at a time and incorporate these ideas over a period of months, if not years, and then gauge the attitude toward business meetings.