Church Business Meeting: The Ultimate Guide (+ Sample Meeting Agenda)
While church meetings aren’t the first thing on one’s mind, responsibilities like church budgets, fundraising, events, new land and facilities, maintenance, and outreach ministries require regular meetings of church leadership. They’re also necessary to ensure the church functions well and is able to offer help. This article discusses the importance of and the steps to hold successful church business meetings.
Churches are not like other organizations. However, they still have responsibilities rather similar to other businesses or nonprofits. The Bible also includes them as well as the need for efficient church leadership. While church meetings aren’t the first thing on one’s mind, these responsibilities, including building and budget details, require a regular meeting for all church members. It is to ensure the church functions well and is able to offer help.
This article discusses the importance of church meetings and the steps needed to hold successful meetings.
In today’s world, church business meetings are hugely based on practicality. It is so because churches always have some business in hand to ensure they’re functioning properly. It can be regarding church budget, fundraising, events, buying land, building new facilities, maintenance, outreach ministries, and more.
Church leaders need to sit down together to plan, create a team, and make sure things are in place throughout the project. That invariably calls for a business meeting.
Now coming to what the Bible has to say, it has no firm rules on a church meeting. But it does include specifics on the roles and duties of church leaders. There are two offices necessary to the church: pastors and deacons.
Meetings of the first church have more to do with keeping in line with scripture, coming up with doctrinal law, and helping others according to Jesus’s teachings.
And with the second office, church leaders solve problems. For example, when the needy don’t receive food while the disciples and pastors are in charge of prayer and ministry.
9 Steps to Conducting a Church Business Meeting
Running a church business meeting is similar to a nonprofit board meeting. Organizational leadership must prepare in advance, provide detailed paperwork, and discuss past and current issues.
1. Publish the meeting agenda
Churches create meeting agendas to provide members with a list of items and issues to discuss. Your agenda will include the last meeting’s minutes, budgets, and topics your Executive Director and Board Committees need to discuss.
You should also have your church’s mission and vision to focus on the important things during business meetings.
Once you’ve finalized the agenda, you must share it with church members beforehand. You can post the agenda on your website or hand it out in person. It’s vital to share the agenda with everyone to gain more participation.
2. Understand the agenda items and underlying needs of the church
Your meeting agenda is an excellent starting point when planning your meeting. Before you begin your meeting, you must go over the agenda and develop a deep understanding of each topic and issues that will be addressed.
It’s also important to understand where church leaders stand on these issues. The better you know what others may bring up, the more prepared you will be on each subject.
3. Welcome members
Church business meetings must be open to all church members. It’s vital your meeting agendas, minutes, reports, and budgets are made available to all members before and after the meeting.
You’ll want to include members in topic discussions during your business meetings. You can do this by preparing a few questions for each topic.
4. Start the meeting with a prayer
A church business meeting is not a regular business. Scripture and prayer are a significant part of your church and should be part of your meetings. You’ll want to share a prayer at the beginning of each meeting. You can also use prayer throughout the meeting to take a break when needed.
5. Don’t forget the old business
After the prayer, you can start your church’s old business. Past meeting minutes, financial reports, and other scheduled action items should be the first to do on your list.
6. Introduce new business
After any old business, you can move on to new business and current issues. Most organizations let their Executive Director and Board Committees plan what to discuss during each meeting.
Each should provide you with topics and reports for your agenda. You’ll also want to limit the items discussed during the meeting to those printed on the agenda. You can add any other topics members may bring to the next agenda.
7. Vote on action items
A critical part of your board meeting is your board’s action items. Your Executive Director and Board Committees will share past and current action items. Each of these items must be voted on and approved by the majority.
8. Set time, date, and location for the next meeting
Before the end of each meeting, you must also set the date, time, and location for the next meeting. In many cases, you’ll know this date before the meeting and can include it in the agenda, but if not, remember to add that as an action item during each meeting.
9. Send follow-up emails to attendees with calls to action
After your business meetings, you must also contact and thank all who attended. Members participating in these meetings are your strongest followers. So you must reach out personally and discuss how you can help them with action items.
5 Helpful Tips for an Effective Church Business Meeting
When planning your church business meeting format, you can do a few things to help ensure success.
1. Limit the number of church meetings
Churches don’t have to hold business meetings monthly. Instead, it’s best to meet once a quarter with all your members. In the meantime, you can split leadership into smaller groups.
To make it easier for these groups to address all issues that come up, you must give them the power to make decisions on their own without too much external approval. This way, quarterly or annual church business meetings can be more informative and allow you to share what’s going on with your church family and all successes you’ve achieved.
2. Use “Robert’s Rules of Order”
Robert’s Rules of Order is an approved manual of parliamentary procedures. The rules include introducing, debating, and voting on a motion and making decisions as a group.
You must have a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order on hand during every meeting. This way, you can check with the text in case issues and disagreements come up.
3. Collect member questions before the meeting
Your business meetings should be informative. The best way to ensure your members receive all the information they need, you must offer them the chance to ask questions and give their feedback.
How you collect these questions depends greatly on the size of your church. If you’re a smaller church, you may have an easier time reaching out directly with phone calls or in person. If you have a larger membership, you can send emails, post them on your website or social media, and make an announcement during services.
The purpose is to let members know you are interested in their opinions and want to be entirely transparent.
Once you have a collection of questions, you can base your agenda on how best to answer them.
4. Get external help
There will be times when your church must address controversial issues. In the worst-case scenario, these issues may cause a split in your membership.
In these cases, you must find external help. As a church leader and member, you have biases you may not be aware of. So you must find a moderator with no connection to the outcomes.
It will also be nice to have an outside opinion to help come up with new ideas you hadn’t thought of. Finding a moderator who is familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order will also help run your meeting smoothly.
5. Delegate someone to take meeting minutes
Finally, you must delegate someone to take meeting minutes. This individual cannot be the same person who’s running the meeting. If you have a secretary, meeting minutes are generally part of that person’s responsibilities.
Meeting minutes must include:
Meeting date and time
Amendments and votes
Motions and approval of proposals
Date and time of the next meeting
After your church business meeting, the secretary must print and share meeting minutes with all voting members. Members will vote to approve these minutes during the next meeting.
Once approved, you’ll want to keep them in with other critical documents. You’ll also want to share board meeting minutes on your website to show transparency.
Sample Church Meeting Agenda – Free to Download
After providing a few steps and tips, you may need help to start planning your next church business meeting. Therefore, we’ve included a sample meeting agenda to help you with your next steps.
Bonus: Tackle Church Fundraising Needs at Your Meetings
At your business meetings, be it the topics of discussion or action items, fundraising would crop up more often than not. Your leaders, members, or volunteers would need help ensuring funds for a particular project in hand.
This is especially true when –
you have a capital campaign in progress or your team is thinking of starting one.
Your church needs funds to help address a concern in the community.
You’ve partnered with a local nonprofit on a donation drive.
Your leadership must answer questions regarding donations from your members.
And more. Whatever it is, funds are essential to the proper functioning of the church. These days, almost every church is turning to online fundraising, virtual events, text-to-give, peer-to-peer fundraising, and more to keep up with the modern times. Do not be left behind.
Let Donorbox help. Our online fundraising tool with its powerful, affordable, and simple-to-use features has helped thousands of churches across the globe. Our features let you collect online tithes and offerings, manage donors and donations, and make it easy for people to donate.
Have a look at this quick demo to understand how –
Church business meetings are a vital part of your church’s ministry. Professionalism, transparency, and involvement are all essential parts of these meetings.
Collecting questions and feedback from church members will help you address issues your members care about. If you create a professional and welcoming environment for all attendees, you can ensure that your meetings are a success.
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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.