Church members who volunteer their time and service often get thrust into leadership and wonder what they got themselves into. This handy guide gives the basics of leading a committee or church meeting that volunteers should know. In the case of chairing a church meeting, the job of the chair is to conduct the meeting without giving an opinion, unless there is a need to break a tie. Chairs provide the agenda, and ensure the process of the meeting goes smoothly on paper and interpersonally.
Follow these steps for a successful meeting:
Write an agenda prior to the meeting of the items to be discussed. Make it a rule that members need to provide the chair with items they wish to discuss in writing at a designated time before the meeting.
Be familiar with the common phrases a chair proclaims such as: “Can I have a motion?”, “Is there a second?”, “Anyone like to discuss?”, “All in favor?”, “Opposed?”, and “Motion is approved/defeated.”
Call the meeting to order and start with prayer. Pass out the agenda. Introduce each topic and encourage discussion. Ask the members to discuss the topic.
Situate the seating to ensure the chair can see everyone. Gauge the mood of the meeting. Switch topics or allow for short breaks if tempers begin to flare. Practice active listening, as the chair may need to interject to stop verbose speakers or encourage quiet members to speak. Ask clarifying questions if any point or statement is unclear. Issue a gentle reminder to stay on topic if tangent issues arise.
Suggest breaking large groups of attendees into small groups for discussion. Give the small groups five minutes and bring the group back to give quick feedback. When opinions need to be heard from everyone, consider asking members to write down feedback on sticky notes to display on a bulletin board or wall.
Request the minutes of the meeting be read by the clerk or secretary. Allow time for corrections to be made.
Schedule the next meeting and adjourn the meeting with a group prayer.
Guy Davies, “Chairing Church Members Meeting” Exiled Preacher
John Truscott, “A Purpose Statement For Those Who Chair” John Truscott, Church Consultant and Trainer