“Plan for Action,” Tambuli, Feb. 1995, 20–22
Have you ever been to a church planning meeting that starts late, seems to last forever, and accomplishes nothing? Here are some suggestions on how to hold a good planning session.
Planning the Meeting
Know your purpose. Have a firm grasp on what you’re planning and why. If you really don’t have anything to talk about, don’t hold the meeting just because it’s scheduled.
Give everyone advance notice—at least a week ahead of time. And give out assignments before the meeting. Ask everyone to come with ideas in mind. That way, when you meet, you’ll be a few steps ahead.
If a committee member will not be involved in the activity you’re planning, don’t insist that the person attend. But remember that even those without specific involvement can still be a good idea source.
Carefully choose where to meet. Make sure it’s in a central location and in a place where you won’t be distracted by television, phone calls, music, crowds of people, or little brothers and sisters. Make sure it’s casual enough so that people feel comfortable, but official enough so people don’t forget why they’re there.
At the Meeting
Have an agenda. Make a list of the things that need to be discussed, and hand a copy of it to those attending the meeting. Then follow the agenda!
Start on time. This shows respect for those you’ve called together—and is a sign that you mean business.
Begin with a prayer. Since this is a church-related meeting, it’s essential to invite the influence of the Lord.
If possible, sit in a circle. That way everyone can see each other and hear what is being said. As the leader, sit with the committee members rather than standing over them or in the middle.
Make sure someone is taking notes. The notes don’t have to be perfect meeting minutes, but you’ll want a record of the ideas, reports, and assignments.
Attack items of business by brain-storming. Give a specific amount of time for people to offer whatever ideas come into their heads. It is important that no negative reactions be given to anybody’s ideas. Seemingly unrelated ideas are fine—you can work from them after the brainstorming session. Make sure you write down the ideas.
Evaluate your ideas. When brainstorming time is up, consider if the ideas can help you reach your goal, if they fit into the budget, and if you have the resources for pursuing them. Choose the ideas that best help you.
Make a master plan. Determine the details of where, what, when, how, and who. Give out assignments with deadlines for completion. Make sure everything has been considered, planned, and volunteered for.
Delegate. If you’re the leader, don’t try to do everything yourself. Everyone involved will be more excited about the project if they have an active part in it.
Make a quick review. Go over what you’ve planned and make sure everybody understands his or her assignment, the goals, and what was talked about.
End on time. This is as important as starting on time.
After the meeting, follow up with words of encouragement. Ask committee members if there is anything you can do to help them with their assignments. And let them use their own style. If the job gets done, it doesn’t always matter if it’s done exactly the way you would have chosen.
For Those Who Attend
• Be on time and attentive.
• Come to the meeting prepared with ideas, information, and suggestions.
• Freely offer your ideas.
• Concentrate the discussion on the project.
• Complete assignments as they are needed.
• Be enthusiastic and supportive.